Apple CarPlay Not Working: Causes & How to Fix | Drivetrain Resource

Drivetrain Resource

Do you need help getting Apple CarPlay to work in your vehicle? You’re not alone. Many people have experienced this issue, and it can be frustrating.  The good news is the fix is usually pretty simple.

In this article, we cover the most common reasons why Apple CarPlay isn’t working and tips on troubleshooting and resolving any issues that may arise. They are presented in order from likely and easy to check to the more obscure causes of CarPlay problems.

Before diving through this guide, try restarting your iPhone.  There’s a decent chance restarting your phone will take care of whatever issue is causing it not to connect.

1. Connection

When troubleshooting CarPlay, start by checking the connection.

There are two ways that your iPhone can connect to your vehicle’s infotainment system: either via USB (wired) or Bluetooth (wireless connection).

It is important to make sure that your phone is connected the proper way before looking at any software-related issues.

If you use a lightning cable to plug your phone into CarPlay, keep reading.  If you don’t jump down a section to “Bluetooth”.

USB (Lightning Cable)

Check the USB port, Inspect the lightning cable.

Check the USB connection.  Make sure it’s plugged into the port that your vehicle’s manufacturer has designated for CarPlay.  Usually, there’s only one port, and the rest of them are for charging a device.

Ensure that the lightning cable is properly inserted into both your iPhone and your vehicle’s infotainment system.

If nothing happens when you plug the phone into the proper USB port, check the lightning cable.  


Verify that your iPhone’s Bluetooth is on and that the phone is not in airline mode.

Verify that your phone’s Bluetooth is on and that airplane mode not on.  Here are three ways to do that.

  1. Iphone with home button– If your iPhone has a home button, slide your thumb onto the screen from the home button.  It’ll bring up a quick menu.  You’re looking for the Bluetooth symbol.  It’ll be the color blue.  If it’s gray, turn it on by touching it and give your phone a second to connect to your vehicle.
  2. No home button– If your phone has no home button, slide your tray down from the top.  On the top right, swipe your thumb down past the battery symbol, and the quick menu tray will drop down.  Verify the Bluetooth symbol is blue.  If it’s not, turn it on.
  3. Settings (works for all iPhones)– Open settings and look for the Bluetooth options.  It’ll say if it’s on right there in the main menu.  If it’s not, click “Bluetooth” and toggle it on.

Once you’ve verified that Bluetooth is working on the iPhone, check if your vehicle is on the list of possible devices that it can connect to:

Settings → Bluetooth

If you don’t see your vehicle as a connection option, open its Bluetooth settings.  You should see your phone.  Tap it to connect.   If it doesn’t connect or you don’t see your phone as an option, turn your infotainment system’s Bluetooth off and on again.

After checking the connection, try connecting to a different iPhone.  If that iPhone works, you know that there’s an issue with your iPhone.  “Forget” your vehicle and reconnect your iPhone.  Jump to section 5 for exactly how to do that.

2. Does Your Phone Support CarPlay? (It Almost Certainly Does)

You have to go all the way back to the iPhone 4S for a phone that won’t support CarPlay.

CarPlay is just an extension of your iPhone on a smaller screen.  Outside of the connection, most of the other issues will be solved on the phone itself.

Any iPhone from the iPhone 5 (released in 2012) and later with the latest version of iOS will work with Apple CarPlay.

While iPhone has been supporting CarPlay for years, it’s always a good idea to upgrade to the latest version of iOS if you’re having connection issues.

3. Does your Vehicle Support CarPlay?

If you’ve never used CarPlay in your vehicle, you must confirm it’s an option.  A quick check in the owner’s manual will tell you. 

Otherwise, you can use this guide from Apple to verify compatibility.

4. Is Carplay Enabled in Settings?

To verify that CarPlay is enabled on your iPhone, go to your settings and select “General,” then scroll down to “CarPlay”.   Check to make sure that Carplay is enabled, and if not, hit the toggle switch. 

Settings → General → Carplay → Enable

Allow Carplay While Locked

A frequent cause of CarPlay not working is the “Allow CarPlay While Locked” toggle is turned off.  If it’s off, your iPhone will only connect to CarPlay if you unlock it.

To get around this issue, follow this path:

Settings → General → Carplay → My Cars → Tap Select Your Car → Allow CarPlay While Locked

If this option is turned off, CarPlay will only work if you’ve unlocked your phone.  

5. Have You Updated Your Vehilce’s Infotainment Software?

One of the most frequent CarPlay issues is when it stops working after updating the infotainment software.  When this happens, the fix is to set up airplay again.  Here’s how:

Settings → General → Carplay → My Cars → Tap Select Your Car → Tap Forget This Car

Once you’ve tapped forget this car, you need set CarPlay back up.  Reconnect to your vehicle’s infotainment system.


Most of the time, the CarPlay connection is why your CarPlay is not working.  Start with troubleshooting that connection.  If that doesn’t work, restart your iPhone.  Next, have your iPhone “forget” your vehicle.  After that, you’ll have to set up a new one.

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