Tips tricks Apple

How to fix CarPlay not working on your iPhone and your car

Written by Jimmy Rustling

CarPlay is built into every iPhone 5 and newer models running iOS 7.1 or later. It lets you enjoy music, receive notifications, run navigation, use Siri, have Siri read messages, and more in your car on its dashboard screen.

Depending on your car manufacturer and model, you can use wireless or wired CarPlay. But if you cannot get CarPlay to work in your car with your iPhone or it doesn’t function correctly, here are all the solutions to fix such issues.

How to set up CarPlay?

Follow these steps if this is the first time you’re trying to use CarPlay with your car:

1) Start your car and wait for its dashboard screen to load.

2) Now, follow the points below to connect your iPhone to your car:

> Wired CarPlay: Most cars support CarPlay via cable. Simply plug the Lightning cable into your iPhone and its other end to your car’s USB port. The USB port of your car may have a CarPlay, smartphone, or USB icon.

> Wired and wireless CarPlay: Some cars support both wireless and wired CarPlay. In this case, connect your iPhone to your car (steps in the above point). Once that’s done, you will see an alert on your iPhone screen giving you the option to use wireless CarPlay on future drives.

> Wireless CarPlay: If your car only supports wireless CarPlay, follow these steps:

  • Press and hold the voice command button of your car. You will most likely find it on or near the steering wheel.
  • Next, ensure your car’s stereo is in wireless or Bluetooth mode.
  • Now, go to iPhone Settings > Wi-Fi and make sure Wi-Fi is on. From here, tap the CarPlay network and ensure Auto-Join is enabled.
  • Finally, go back to the first page of iPhone Settings and tap General > CarPlay. From here, select your car for using CarPlay and customizing it.

How to fix CarPlay not working with your iPhone and your car

1. Make sure CarPlay is available in your country

If you can’t use CarPlay, check if it’s supported in your country. As of November 2022, CarPlay officially works in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China (Mainland)
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia (Maps not available in CarPlay here.)
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States

If your country or region isn’t listed, you may not be able to use CarPlay. In that case, go to the iPhone Settings app > General > Language & Region > Region and set it to a country listed above. Next, restart your iPhone and see if you can use CarPlay. If it doesn’t work, try Android Auto using your or a family member’s Android phone.

2. Check if your car is compatible with CarPlay

Not every car works with CarPlay. Apple mentions that over 600 car models support CarPlay from almost all major manufacturers. You can see the list of vehicles here.

Important: Even if your car isn’t listed on Apple’s website, it may work with CarPlay. For example, my Renault car isn’t mentioned on Apple’s website as a supported model, but CarPlay works perfectly with the built-in media-nav system of my car. So, it’s good to check Apple’s website for compatibility, but the better approach is to see the manual that came with your vehicle. If it supports CarPlay, you should see a section about this in the manual. Besides that, ask your dealer if the car they sold you supports CarPlay or not.

Here’s a section about CarPlay in my car’s manual.

3. Go to the iPhone CarPlay screen and reconnect

CarPlay can work with wire or wirelessly.

In relatively cheaper or older models, CarPlay may only work via a cable and not wirelessly. All you have to do is connect the Lightning cable to your iPhone and its other end to your car’s USB port. You will be presented with a simple setup process the first time you do this. And after that, all future instances will work without going through any setup process.

While you plug in the cable or try to connect wirelessly to CarPlay, do that when you’re on this screen: iPhone Settings > General > CarPlay.

Please note that your car may not have a USB-C port but a standard USB-A port. The cable provided in the box of your recently purchased iPhone has USB-C at one end. So to connect, you will have to buy a USB-A to USB-C connector, or a Lightning cable with USB-A on one end.

4. Choose CarPlay on your car’s screen

After plugging in your iPhone, if your car’s system doesn’t automatically start CarPlay, follow these steps to establish the connection manually:

  1. Start your car and wait for its dashboard screen to fully power on.
  2. From this screen, tap the source button or arrow and pick Apple CarPlay.

Besides the above steps, most times, you will see the Apple CarPlay button on your car’s first screen every time you connect your iPhone to the car’s USB port. Tap that to use CarPlay. Here’s how it looks on my car:

My iPhone connected to my car’s USB port, showing the option to use Apple CarPlay.

5. Enable Siri

Is Siri disabled on your iPhone? If yes, turn it on and then try connecting to CarPlay:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Siri & Search.
  2. Enable the switches for Press Side Button/Home for Siri, Allow Siri When Locked, and Listen for “Hey Siri.”

After this, try reconnecting to CarPlay, and it should work.

Related: How to invoke Siri in your car and all other Apple devices

6. Turn off Airplane mode for wireless CarPlay

If your car supports wireless CarPlay and you’re trying to connect to that, go ahead and enable Airplane mode on your iPhone. Next, wait for 15 seconds and turn Airplane mode off.

7. Enable Bluetooth and remove old connections

Go to iPhone Settings app and make sure Bluetooth is switched on. From there, try removing old car connections if you see them listed.

Next, go to your Car’s Bluetooth settings and enter pairing mode. Your car should appear in iPhone’s Bluetooth settings screen under Other Devices. Tap to connect to it.

8. Make sure CarPlay is not blocked or restricted

You, someone with access to your iPhone, or your guardian (if you’re a child) can block CarPlay from Screen Time, preventing it from working.

Here’s how to unblock CarPlay on iPhone:

  1. Open Settings and tap Screen Time.
  2. Scroll down and tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  3. Tap Allowed Apps and make sure the switch for CarPlay is enabled.

When following the above steps, skip the remaining steps if you see that Screen Time isn’t enabled or Content & Privacy Restrictions are off.

9. Restart your iPhone and your car

This is an essential step that you must not skip. If CarPlay continues to fail, go ahead and turn off your iPhone and turn it back on. While your iPhone restarts, make sure to key off and on your car as well.

10. Use a different Lightning cable

If one Lightning cable fails to work with CarPlay, try using a different one. While you’re at it, make sure not to force in the cable too much in your car’s USB port, as that may cause a trip to your car service center!

11. Try a different USB port of your car

Does your car have more than one USB port? If so, try the other one and see if it does the trick. Likewise, try different ports if you’re using a USB port extension or a similar device.

12. Enable CarPlay for your iPhone in car settings

If you were able to use CarPlay earlier, but it stopped working out of nowhere, chances are you or someone who drives your car switched off CarPlay for your iPhone. Now, the steps to re-enable this will vary from car to car. But here’s how it appears on my Renault:

  1. Tap Settings from the first media screen of the car system.
  2. Pick the Connectivity tab.
  3. Hit View Smartphone devices list.
  4. From here, make sure Yes is checked next to the iPhone.

Once this is done, CarPlay should work after restarting the car or unplugging and replugging the Lightning cable.

Extra info: If I turn off CarPlay for iPhone via the above steps, my car recognizes my iPhone as an iPod and shows iOS music playback on the car screen. This may not be true for your car.

13. Allow CarPlay when your iPhone is locked

Are you able to connect to your car only when your iPhone is unlocked and not when it’s locked? If yes, follow these steps to set your locked iPhone to allow CarPlay:

  1. Open Settings and tap General.
  2. Tap CarPlay.
  3. Pick your car under My Car.
  4. Turn on the switch for Allow CarPlay While Locked.

From now on, your iPhone can start CarPlay without requiring Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode authentication.

14. Update your iPhone

Go to the Settings app > General > Software Update and download & install the latest version of iOS. Once your iPhone is updated, try connecting to CarPlay again.

15. Update your car’s CarPlay stereo to its latest firmware

Your car’s media system may also receive updates. Go to its settings and locate an option to update it.

16. Forget the car and add it again to CarPlay

Were you able to connect to CarPlay earlier, but now it doesn’t work or gives you connection issues? If that’s the case, remove your car from CarPlay and re-add it. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap General.
  2. Pick CarPlay from the list.
  3. Tap your car under My Car.
  4. Tap Forget This Car > Forget.

After you have followed the above steps, restart your iPhone, restart your car, and connect to wired or wireless CarPlay again. It should work now.

17. Read the car manual

You most likely received an instructions booklet with your car. Go through its index page and see if you can find something related to CarPlay. In most cases, the car manual does a good job of helping you get started with CarPlay and other basics.

My car’s instructions manual which describes how to use CarPlay.

18. Reset all settings and retry

Finally, if nothing helps, go ahead and reset all your iPhone settings. Doing this won’t erase any data (photos, videos, music, apps, etc.) from your iPhone, but it will force all settings you have changed or added to the default factory settings. This should fix the CarPlay problems if they were caused by your iPhone.

In case the problem is on your car’s end, your final bet is to contact the dealer or take it to the dealership/service center.

CarPlay working now!

I hope you can use CarPlay now and that the above solutions helped fix the issue. If you have other tips that have worked for you, please share them with everyone in the comments below.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.