iOS 8.3 Beta Arrives With Wireless CarPlay Support

Apple released iOS 8.3 as a beta for developers today, which is unusual because iOS 8.2 is only on Beta 5 and not yet available to consumers. The new beta offers a single notable feature as of this writing: Wireless CarPlay support, provided to TechCrunch by a source familiar with the beta and pictured in the screenshot above.

CarPlay so far works only via wired connection, but a wireless version (likely using Bluetooth or perhaps ad-hoc Wi-Fi, depending on whether it needs to beam only data or video assets, too) has been discussed since the feature’s launch, and was previously reported by automakers using CarPlay and Apple representatives as in the works for a future update.

The wireless CarPlay functionality appears in a sub-menu under the General category in the Settings app, and instructs users to hold down the voice control button in their vehicle to begin the pairing process. Once set up, wireless CarPlay could trigger with compatible vehicles whenever a driver enters their car and starts up the engine, which would make it far more convenient than it is even now, since iPhone owners likely won’t even have to take their phone out of their pockets to use it once the initial pairing is completely.

Apple’s iOS 8.3 beta update also offers support for Google 2-factor login when adding a Gmail or other Google-hosted account for mail, calendar, contact syncing etc. The emoji keyboard is also redesigned, with continuous scrolling allowing users to browse the entire catalog, and helpful category icons to jump between specific collections within.

Apple has also introduced a major update to Swift, its new programming language, with Xcode 3.6, and iOS 8.3 will help developers prepare for that transition.