For safety reasons, driving while using your phone is generally forbidden by law.

With Apple CarPlay, it’s easy and safer to access apps on your iPhone hands-free as it routes everything through your car’s infotainment system. This 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 looks at some of the causes for CarPlay not working and some possible fixes you can use to get everything reconnected.

Causes for Apple CarPlay Not Working

Depending on your car, you can connect your iPhone to CarPlay using a USB cable or pair your iPhone with your car’s Bluetooth if the car supports wireless connection.

Whatever method you use, there are several reasons why CarPlay may not work even if it has been working fine before such as:

  • 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 issue 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.

Preliminary Checks

Before trying any of the fixes below, here are some things to check:

  • The first thing to check is that your iPhone and car’s infotainment system are turned on. If your car has an activate option, make sure that it’s selected.
  • Check that your country region supports Apple CarPlay because it’s not available everywhere.
  • Check that CarPlay is compatible with your vehicle. 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.

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 Connection

You can connect to your CarPlay stereo using a USB cable or a wireless connection. If you’re using a USB cable, check it physically to ensure it’s not damaged or loose or try with a different cable to a different USB port if you have one.

If you choose to use a wireless connection, enable Bluetooth and WiFi under Settings on your iPhone.

  1. To enable WiFi, open Settings > WiFi.
  1. Tap WiFi and toggle its switch to on/green to enable it.
  1. Next, tap Settings again, tap Bluetooth and toggle its switch to on/green to enable it.

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:

  • For iPhone SE (1st generation) or iPhone 5 models, press and hold the top button to power the iPhone off and back on.
  • For 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.
  • For iPhone X or newer models, press and hold either the volume and side buttons and then press the side button again to turn it on.

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.

  1. To enable Siri, open Settings > Siri & Search.
  1. Enable the following options: Allow Siri when locked, Listen for Hey Siri 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.

  1. To do this, open Settings on your iPhone and tap Screen Time.
  1. Next, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  1. Tap your car and then tap Forget This car. Follow the steps in our guide to set up Apple CarPlay again.

5. Check Whether CarPlay is Allowed While Locked

If CarPlay still isn’t working after trying the checks and fixes we’ve listed so far, check whether it’s allowed while locked.

  1. To do this, open Settings on your iPhone and tap General > CarPlay.
  1. Tap Your Car.
  1. Next, toggle the switch next to Allow CarPlay While Locked to enable it 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.

  1. To disable the feature, open Settings on your iPhone and tap Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode.
  1. Type your passcode if prompted and go to the Allow Access When Locked section.
  1. 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 to certain 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. Reset All Settings

Sometimes issues with apps on your iPhone can change some system settings that may cause CarPlay not to work properly. In this case, resetting all system settings to default will get everything back in order.

  1. To reset all your iPhone settings, open Settings > General > Reset.
  1. Tap Reset All Settings, follow the prompts to complete the process, and check whether CarPlay works properly again.
  1. You can also reset your phone’s network settings as network-related errors may have disrupted or ruined the connection between your iPhone and CarPlay. To clear and reset network settings on iPhone, open Settings > General > Reset > Reset network settings.
  1. Enter your iPhone passcode and tap the option to confirm the reset. Once completed, your iPhone will restart automatically and load the default network options. However, you’ll need to re-enable WiFi and Bluetooth to use them with CarPlay again.

Get CarPlay Working Properly Again

We hope the tips and fixes in this guide helped you troubleshoot and fix it when CarPlay is not working. If you have any further issues, you may contact Apple Support or your vehicle manufacturer for guided assistance with issues around your car’s infotainment system.