Hack makes CarPlay run on iPhone/iPad

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One of the unfortunate downsides to Apple’s CarPlay technology, is that it can be quite costly, setting you back over £500 if you buy one of the really high end head units that supports it. On top of that, you need an iPhone for it to work in the first place. With that in mind, it’s not that surprising that some clever chaps have figured out how to get CarPlay to run on an iPhone, giving you all of the functionality, without the head unit display.

Announced by the creator of the hack, Adam Bell, in a series of tweets and instagram images over the weekend, it seems to work very well, allowing him to boot up CarPlay simply on his iPhone. This gives him all of the navigation and music streaming function of the system. The only downside is that it does require you to jailbreak your phone, which depending on the version can be a little difficult – a recent iOS 8 hack was patched out very swiftly by Apple – though there’s often a new jailbreak down the road.

Nothing stays secure forever.

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While this system does away with the need to shell out a fair chunk of change, it does sacrifice the ability to control things via a large touchscreen. That is unless you use a jailbroken iPad to achieve the same effect. At that point all you need is some sort of stand that can hold it in place at a usable height, and you have a CarPlay system that only requires you to bring your iPad with you.

Not cheap still, but certainly better than buying all of that and  a CarPlay system.

To confirm this sort of functionality, Mr Bell recently sent out a message to his followers: “Tweeting from CarPlay on my iPad,” so clearly it’s possible and clearly it works. It’s not entirely perfect yet of course and is unlikely to ever be quite as smooth as buying the real deal, but Bell continues to work away on it and will likely release updates as and when they appear.

What some people have speculated about however, is getting CarPlay working on non-Apple hardware, which would be worrisome for the technology giant, since Android tablets are far more numerous out there than iPads are. If CarPlay could be used on those, it has the potentially to really cut into the sales of its new car infotainment system.

For now, if you want to have a play with Bell’s CarPlay hack, you can grab the associated files from Github here. However if you’re not a developer or don’t know your way around Apple back-end systems, we’d recommend leaving it well enough alone, as it’s still incredibly buggy.

Image source: Adam Bell

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.