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Apple WWDC 2019 gives CarPlay its biggest update yet

From CarPlay to Maps, Apple has made some important tweaks to the tech you use while you're in your car.

Apple WWDC 2019
Apple's 2019 CarPlay update is the biggest yet, with a new sleeker look and big leaps in Siri functionality.
James Martin/CNET

This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple's CarPlay has been a boon to automakers all over the world, but more importantly, it's been fantastic for customers who don't want to figure out how to work their car's half-baked infotainment system.

For Apple's 2019 WWDC, the company decided to add some killer new functionality to CarPlay that makes it even easier to use. Its new features include a much-refined new dashboard that more efficiently uses your car's screen real estate. Interestingly, this dashboard looks similar to the also-newly-redesigned Android Auto dashboard that we saw last month.

The most crucial change to CarPlay for 2019 is the ability to use Siri with third-party apps like Pandora and Waze. This will be a game-changer for many motorists and should improve safety by giving drivers less reason to look at and poke at their screens.

There are also changes to the way album art is displayed in Music and location-based smart notifications like a garage door opener or relevant calendar events. These changes will dovetail with Apple's wholly rebuilt and retooled from the ground up Maps app to make CarPlay even more useful.

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CNET's Shara Tibken contributed to this story.