GMC has announced that Apple CarPlay will be offered in the Canyon, Yukon, and Sierra starting in the 2016 model year. Android users also share the news, though on at a lesser extent, as Android Auto will make its way into some Sierra models at first, with the Canyon and Yukon coming later in the model year.

Apple CarPlay essentially mirrors select applications from a user’s iPhone onto the vehicle’s infotainment system. This allows operation of the phone from both the touch screen and voice controls for a more connected yet safer experience.

CarPlay allows users to make calls, send and receive messages, listen to iTunes and third party music apps like Pandora, and use the iPhone’s Maps application – all without touching their iPhone. The CarPlay interface takes after Apple’s iOS graphic user interface with a clean, crisp, colorful display that is easy to read at a glance.

The Canyon, Yukon, and Sierra models with the eight-inch IntelliLink infotainment screen will get full use of CarPlay. The seven-inch screen in base model Sierras will also have the full range of CarPlay abilities. To activate, the user simply pushes a “Projection” button on the infotainment screen when an iPhone is connected to the system. Connection must be made via the iPhone connector though a USB port, however; Bluetooth does not support the transfer of CarPlay data.

What’s more, users can take advantage of GMC’s built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, saving cellular network data from accruing.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

As an iPhone user, Apple CarPlay answers my gripes with many infotainment systems’ clunky operating systems. GM’s various systems and FCA’s Uconnect aside, many infotainment systems simply lack an easy-to-use interface with logical menus.

Having CarPlay and Android Auto catch on is not only good for the end user, but could potentially be good for automakers.

Having CarPlay project my apps and maps onto a car’s infotainment screen saves the hassle of dealing with those clunky operating systems.

Having CarPlay and Android Auto catch on is not only good for the end user, but could potentially be good for automakers. If these phone-driven operating systems catch on with widespread usage, it could potentially mean automakers no longer need to supply software for their infotainment systems.

That eliminates costs on their part and supplies customers with a blank canvas for their device to project onto. People are usually loyal to a particular phone operating system and having their preferred OS display in their car should be a welcome reprieve from of the clunker automaker-supplied OS systems often found on the market.

2016 GMC Yukon

2016 GMC Yukon
- image 633625

Read our full review here.

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
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Press Release

GMC adds Apple CarPlay capability to the 2016 Canyon, Yukon and Sierra, taking the iPhone features customers want to access while driving and putting them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner with the brand’s IntelliLink system.

Android Auto capability will also be offered on some Sierra models at the beginning of the model year and all Sierra, Canyon and Yukon models later in the year.

The features allow customers to use select smartphone apps through the touchscreen interface of GMC’s IntelliLink system. Many features can be controlled via voice commands through a button on the steering wheel, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

“GMC IntelliLink is taking another step forward with this simple and intuitive functionality that makes phones and vehicles work better together,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “Like other GMC features, from OnStar 4G LTE connectivity and active safety features, it’s technology designed to enhance the driving experience without intruding on it.”

GMC’s latest infotainment systems include an eight-inch-diagonal screen version offered on Canyon, Yukon and Sierra, which will be compatible only with Apple CarPlay at the beginning of the 2016 model year. A seven-inch-diagonal screen radio is offered on Sierra base models and will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability at the beginning of the model year. Android Auto capability is expected to be available on the eight-inch system later in the 2016 model year.

Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features customers want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner. This allows drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay-supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and third-party audio apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple CarPlay is compatible with iOS 7.1 or higher.

Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at Android Auto requires a phone running an Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or above.

Using either application is simple. A “Projection” icon on the IntelliLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected, then changes to indicate CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected via USB.

Compatible apps need to be downloaded to a phone before using. Apple and Google’s privacy statements and terms of use apply. Data plan rates may also apply.

Complementing OnStar 4G LTE connectivity

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability complement the OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot offered in all 2016 GMC models, including Acadia and Terrain.

The state-of-the-art technology provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected wherever and whenever they like with up to seven personal devices. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three gigabyte data trial, after which there is an option to purchase additional data.

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