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For safety reasons, driving while using your phone is often against the law. Apple CarPlay routes apps and media to your car’s infotainment system, making it easier and safer to access apps hands-free. That way, you can use your iPhone to make calls, send or receive texts, and listen to music while driving.
However, there are times when CarPlay won’t connect, or you just can’t hear anything even if it’s connected. Other times, CarPlay apps won’t open properly, so you’re limited to what you can do. This guide covers factors affecting CarPlay and possible troubleshooting fixes.
Causes for Apple CarPlay Not Working
Whatever method you use, there are several reasons why CarPlay may not work even if it has been working fine before. They include:
- Faulty USB cable
- iPhone not detected
- Bluetooth connectivity issues
- Issues with an iOS update
- Incompatibility issues
- Problems with integration between apps
How to Fix Apple CarPlay Not Working
There are many different car systems beyond your iPhone, which makes it challenging to troubleshoot CarPlay issues. Whether the problem is no sound, no connection, or apps aren’t working, we’ve lined up some helpful fixes and tips in this guide to help you get CarPlay working again.
Before trying any of the fixes below, here are some things to check:
- Make sure your iPhone and car’s infotainment system are turned on. If your vehicle has an activate option, ensure it’s selected.
- Check that your country region supports Apple CarPlay because it’s not available everywhere.
- Ensure CarPlay is compatible with your car model. If you’re not sure, check your car’s manual or contact the vehicle manufacturer. If your car stereo isn’t compatible, you can get a compatible aftermarket stereo from brands like Alpine, Clarion, Blaupunkt, JVC, Pioneer, Kenwood, or Sony.
- Make sure that your iPhone has the latest iOS version and that it supports CarPlay (iPhone 5 and newer).
- Check whether your car has the most recent firmware installed. If you’re using an aftermarket stereo, check for a firmware update from the manufacturer’s website to get instructions on how to update it.
- Unpair the iPhone from your car and try pairing it again. This usually helps when the Bluetooth connection between the phone and your car’s infotainment system gets corrupted.
- Unpair any other Bluetooth devices connected to your iPhone that may interfere or conflict with the device and your car as you use CarPlay.
- Airplane mode can interfere with your CarPlay connection, so ensure your iPhone isn’t in airplane mode.
If you’ve performed all these checks and CarPlay still won’t work, try the fixes below to see if it solves the problem and gets CarPlay going again.
1. Check Your Connections
You can connect to your CarPlay stereo using a USB cable or wireless connection. Verify that the USB cable fits correctly in your car and iPhone’s USB ports for wired connections. Likewise, ensure the cable isn’t damaged or broken. Try a different cable if you have one.
If you use a wireless connection, enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi under Settings on your iPhone.
- Open the Settings app, tap Wi-Fi, and toggle its switch to on/green.
- Return to the Settings menu, tap Bluetooth, and ensure it is toggled on.
- Finally, reconnect your device to the car stereo via CarPlay. Go to Settings > General > CarPlay and select your car stereo in the “My Cars” or “Available Cars” section.
2. Restart Your iPhone and Your Car’s Infotainment System
If CarPlay doesn’t work after trying different connections, check whether the CarPlay logo appears on your car’s display. If not, restart your iPhone and your car.
Use these steps to restart your iPhone based on your iPhone model:
- iPhone SE (1st generation) or iPhone 5 models: Press and hold the top button to power the iPhone off and back on.
- iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 6, 7, and 8 models: Press and hold the side button to power off your device and turn it back on.
- iPhone X or newer models: Press and hold either the volume and side/power buttons and move the power slider to the right. Wait some seconds for your phone to shut down completely. Press and hold the side button for 3-5 seconds and release it when the Apple logo appears on your screen.
Note: To restart the car’s infotainment system, check the vehicle’s user manual for instructions. After restarting the devices, try using CarPlay with your iPhone again to check if the problem persists.
3. Make Sure Siri is Enabled
If your vehicle supports Siri Eyes Free, you can hold down the voice command on your steering wheel to make your request. However, if Siri is disabled, you won’t be able to use it with CarPlay.
- To enable Siri, open Settings > Siri & Search.
- Enable the following options: Listen for “Hey Siri,” Allow Siri When Locked, and Press Side Button for Siri (or Press Home for Siri).
4. Make Sure CarPlay isn’t Restricted
If CarPlay doesn’t detect your iPhone, check that the service isn’t restricted on your iPhone.
- To do this, open Settings on your iPhone and tap Screen Time.
- Next, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
- Select your car and then tap Forget This Car. Refer to our tutorial on setting up Apple CarPlay to reconnect your phone and car infotainment system.
5. Check Whether CarPlay is Allowed While Locked
If CarPlay isn’t working after trying the checks and fixes we’ve listed, check whether it’s allowed while locked.
- To do this, open Settings on your iPhone and tap General > CarPlay.
- Tap Your Car.
- Next, enable the Allow CarPlay While Locked option if it’s off.
6. Disable USB Restricted Mode
USB Restricted Mode is an iOS feature that protects iOS user data from passcode hackers who use USB devices to hack your passcode via Lightning ports. The feature disables the USB data connection internally after some time.
- To disable the feature, open Settings on your iPhone and tap Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode.
- Type your passcode if prompted and go to the Allow Access When Locked section.
- Next, tap USB Accessories and toggle its switch to ON to disable USB Restricted Mode.
Note: Once you disable the feature, Lightning-based phone accessories can work even when your iPhone is locked. However, disabling USB Restricted Mode leaves your iPhone at risk of specific threats. But if you’re okay with it, you can keep it disabled while using CarPlay and enable it when you don’t need it.
7. Update Your iPhone
Bugs in your device’s operating system can cause CarPlay to malfunction. Thankfully, Apple occasionally releases software updates that fix CarPlay issues and improvise the feature.
Several iOS 15 updates, for instance, ship with fixes for CarPlay-related malfunctions in iOS 14 and early iOS 15 builds. Update your iPhone if you haven’t done so in a long time.
Connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi network, open the Settings app, and head to General > Software Update. You’ll see a Download and Install option on the page if there’s a software update available for your device.
Install the update and check if CarPlay now works correctly. Reset your iPhone settings to factory default if the problem persists.
8. Reset All Settings
Sometimes issues with apps on your iPhone can change some system settings that may cause CarPlay not to work correctly. In this case, resetting all system settings to default will get everything back in order.
- To reset your iPhone’s settings, open Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Tap Reset, select Reset All Settings, enter your iPhone’s passcode and follow the prompts to complete the process. CarPlay should work properly again after the reset process.
- Network-related errors can also disrupt connections between your iPhone and CarPlay. Resetting your phone’s network settings can resolve the problem. Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings, enter your iPhone’s passcode, and follow the prompt.
Your iPhone will restart automatically and load the default network options when the reset is complete. However, you’ll need to re-enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to use them with CarPlay again.
Get CarPlay Working Properly Again
We hope the tips and troubleshooting recommendations in this guide helped your CarPlay troubles. If Apple CarPlay still isn’t working, contact Apple Support or your vehicle manufacturer for guided assistance.