CarTunes, one of the apps we’ve examined during our extended look at “safe driving” music players for the iPhone, boasts a clean interface and simple controls that make it easy to play songs stored on your iPhone. It’s simple, but it also lets you import playlists you’ve created in iTunes, an important feature that’s missing from many others we’ve seen.
Tap your finger twice to choose music from your library, and it begins playing automatically, with prominently-displayed cover art and little else to get in the way. As with most other gesture-controlled apps, swiping to the left plays the previous song, right the next.
If you must use the app to control volume, you can swipe your finger up or down, although we recommend leaving the phone’s volume turned all the way up and using your car’s volume control instead (especially if it’s in the steering wheel).
CarTunes ($2) packs a nice shuffle feature activated when you slide two fingers simultaneously at the same time. You can also customize gestures and the app’s appearance.
Funnily enough, we were ready to give the previous version of CarTunes a hard time, but version 3.0 pretty much put it above the rest of the car music player apps for the iPhone that we’ve seen — and we’ve pretty much seen them all.
The latest version added the ability to access new iTunes playlists as you sync your phone; a larger selection of customizable themes; a snazzy new volume knob; and the ability to make playlists within the app and save them for later.
All in all, we found CarTunes to be the best app for listening to iPhone music in a car (unless, of course, you have a newer car that can connect to and control the iPhone from the dash).