Why Is Carplay Not Appearing on Car Screen?




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It can be frustrating to sit in the car, expecting the usual seamless integration of your iPhone with your vehicle’s system, only to find that CarPlay isn’t showing up on the stereo screen.

It’s a problem that has left many drivers puzzled and looking for answers, but why is this happening? Let’s find out.

CarPlay may not appear on your car screen due to a faulty USB cable, incompatible car models or software versions, an outdated iOS version on your iPhone, CarPlay settings not being enabled, or an incompatibility issue with your car’s infotainment system. 

Key Takeaways
Apple CarPlay improves your driving experience by mirroring iPhone’s features onto your car’s infotainment system, making it integral for many modern drivers.
Numerous factors like iOS updates, faulty USB cables, improper settings, and compatibility issues can cause CarPlay to disappear from the car screen, each issue having its own unique set of troubleshooting methods.
Initial steps to fix CarPlay issues include ensuring it’s enabled on your iPhone, confirming Bluetooth connectivity, checking Siri’s settings, and even a simple restart of both your iPhone and vehicle can solve connectivity hiccups.
For more complex CarPlay problems, you can re-establish the CarPlay connection, enable ‘CarPlay while iPhone is locked’, adjust screen time settings, turn off USB Restricted Mode, and updating your iOS might be the keys to restoring functionality.
You have the freedom to use CarPlay wirelessly, but bear in mind it comes with specific limitations and requirements which need to be fulfilled for a seamless experience.

Don’t let a malfunctioning car radio display spoil your journey. Find out how to fix this common problem in our article Why Is Car Radio Display Not Working.

Apple CarPlay: Common Issues and Possible Reasons for Why CarPlay is Not Working

Navigating the world of technology can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield, and Apple CarPlay is no exception.

Let’s delve into some common issues users face and possible reasons why CarPlay may not appear on the car screen.

why is my carplay not appearing on car screen

Phone Charging But CarPlay Not Working

One of the most puzzling scenarios is when your iPhone charges as soon as you plug it into the car, but CarPlay doesn’t activate.

This discrepancy between charging and CarPlay connectivity often happens due to the difference between the power requirements of charging and data transmission.

Your USB cable might be able to transmit enough power to charge your phone but not enough to maintain a stable data connection needed for CarPlay.

The most common culprit is often a faulty or low-quality USB cable. In some cases, the problem could be due to the car’s USB port or even the iPhone’s lightning port being dirty or damaged.

Apple CarPlay Not Showing Up

There are also instances when Apple CarPlay does not show up at all.

This often happens when there are compatibility issues between the vehicle’s infotainment system and the iPhone or if CarPlay has been disabled in your iPhone settings.

The reasons can range from CarPlay not being enabled on your iPhone, to software glitches, to compatibility issues with your car’s infotainment system.

I also recommend checking if your car supports wireless CarPlay, especially if you’re not connecting your phone using a cable.

Apple CarPlay Touch Screen Not Working

A touch screen that doesn’t respond is another problem that could spoil your CarPlay experience.

The touch screen acts as the primary control interface for CarPlay. So, when it doesn’t work, it feels like being locked out of your own house. 

Users often report that the CarPlay screen appears on their car’s display, but it simply doesn’t respond to touch. This could be caused by problems with the car’s touchscreen or issues with CarPlay itself.

A simple restart of the iPhone and the car’s infotainment system often solves the issue.

Apple CarPlay Not Working After Update

Apple is known for its regular iOS updates. But sometimes, these updates can mess with your CarPlay experience.

Many noticed CarPlay issues after installing a new iOS update. These updates can occasionally alter settings or introduce bugs that interfere with CarPlay.

The problems can range from CarPlay not working at all to specific apps not working correctly.

After a particularly troublesome update, my CarPlay once refused to play nice with my music apps, turning my pleasant drive into a silent one.

Other Common CarPlay Issues

There are other common CarPlay issues that many users experience.

CarPlay Suddenly Stopped Working

Sometimes, CarPlay might suddenly stop working in the middle of a drive. This can be especially frustrating when you rely on it for navigation or calls.

Compatibility of CarPlay with All iOS

While CarPlay is designed to work with all modern iPhones, there can sometimes be compatibility issues, especially with older cars and infotainment systems.

Need for USB in CarPlay Functioning

Lastly, while wireless CarPlay is becoming more common, many cars still require a wired connection for CarPlay to work.

So, if you’re experiencing issues, it might be worth trying a wired connection if your car supports it.

Preliminary Checks Before Fixing Apple CarPlay Issues

Before you dive deep into troubleshooting, there are a few simple checks you can make that might save you a lot of time.

I often find that the simplest solutions are the most effective. Here are the initial steps you should consider to get your CarPlay back on track.

Make Sure You Enabled CarPlay

In the heat of the moment, we can sometimes overlook the basics. CarPlay won’t work if it’s not enabled on your iPhone. It’s like trying to start a car without turning the ignition key.

To check if CarPlay is enabled on your iPhone, go to Settings, scroll down and tap on General, then tap on CarPlay.

If your car supports wireless CarPlay, press and hold the Voice Control button on your steering wheel to set up CarPlay. Or make sure that your car is in wireless or Bluetooth pairing mode.

If your car doesn’t support wireless CarPlay, plug your iPhone into the car’s USB port using a Lightning to USB cable.

Confirm That Bluetooth is Connected

Bluetooth plays a crucial role in CarPlay connectivity, especially if you’re using CarPlay wirelessly. Even with a wired connection, Bluetooth is often used for certain functions like phone calls.

To ensure your Bluetooth is connected, go to Settings on your iPhone, tap on Bluetooth, and ensure it’s switched on. Under “My Devices,” look for the name of your car or CarPlay stereo and ensure it’s connected.

Check Siri Settings

Siri is the voice-activated assistant for Apple devices, and it’s central to the operation of CarPlay. It allows you to keep your hands on the wheel while you control CarPlay with your voice.

To check your Siri settings, go to Settings on your iPhone, tap on Siri & Search, and make sure that “Press Home for Siri” (or “Press Side Button for Siri” on iPhone X and newer) and “Allow Siri When Locked” is enabled.

Check the USB Cable

The USB cable is the bridge between your iPhone and CarPlay on your vehicle’s infotainment system. If it’s damaged or of poor quality, it might charge your iPhone, but it may not be capable of transmitting data for CarPlay.

Try using a different Lightning to USB cable (preferably an Apple-certified cable) to connect your iPhone to your vehicle. If CarPlay suddenly starts working, you’ve found the culprit, and it’s time for a new cable.

Restart Your iPhone and Vehicle

As with many tech issues, sometimes a simple restart can clear minor software glitches or misconfigurations that could be causing problems.

  • Start by disconnecting your iPhone from your car.
  • Then, switch off your car’s ignition and leave it off for at least a few minutes. At the same time, restart your iPhone.
  • Once both the iPhone and car have restarted, reconnect your iPhone to your car via USB or Bluetooth.

How to Fix Apple CarPlay Issues

So you’ve run through the basic checks but still have an issue? Don’t worry. There are a few more fixes to try. Just remember: every car, phone, and CarPlay system is different, so you might need a bit of patience.

Reconnect Apple CarPlay Connection

As with any device pairing, the initial connection between your iPhone and CarPlay is crucial. If it’s not established properly, it can lead to issues like CarPlay not working or not appearing on your car’s display.

If you’re experiencing issues, try forgetting your current CarPlay connection and establishing a new one.

Go to Settings > General > CarPlay on your iPhone, tap on your car’s name, then select “Forget This Car”.

Now, reconnect your iPhone to your car and allow CarPlay to set up a new connection. It’s often surprising how many issues can be resolved just by doing this.

Enable CarPlay When Your iPhone is Locked

Your iPhone’s security settings could be keeping CarPlay from appearing on your car screen. Particularly, the ‘Allow CarPlay While Locked’ setting. 

If this feature is not enabled, CarPlay may not function when your phone’s screen is off or locked.

Go to Settings > General > CarPlay on your iPhone, tap on your car’s name, and toggle on the “Allow CarPlay While Locked” option.

Now, even when your phone is locked, you should still see CarPlay on your car’s screen.

Apple CarPlay Screen Time Issue Fix

Screen Time is an iOS feature that can restrict what you can do and when. It’s handy for managing your time on the device, but it can interfere with CarPlay.

If Screen Time settings are interfering with CarPlay, try going to Settings > Screen Time on your iPhone, tap on “Privacy & Content Restrictions”, then tap on “Allowed Apps” and ensure CarPlay is allowed.

Turn Off USB Restricted Mode

USB Restricted Mode is a security feature on iOS that can prevent USB accessories from connecting if your iPhone has been locked for over an hour. This could be the reason why CarPlay suddenly stops working during long drives.

To Turn Off USB Restricted Mode, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode), enter your passcode, and scroll down to “USB Accessories”.

Make sure the switch is toggled on to allow USB accessories to connect when your iPhone is locked.

Update iOS

Running the latest iOS on your iPhone not only gives you new features and improvements, it also includes bug fixes that could solve your CarPlay issues.

To update your iOS, go to Settings > General > Software Update. If an update is available, tap “Download and Install”. Just make sure to backup your iPhone before updating.

Advanced Considerations Regarding Apple CarPlay

Just when you thought we’d covered everything about CarPlay, we’re going to delve a little deeper.

From wireless connections to app compatibility and settings adjustments, let’s get under the hood of Apple CarPlay’s more advanced features.

Can I Use Apple CarPlay Without USB?

You can use Apple CarPlay without a USB cable, but there’s a catch. The wireless feature is only available on select cars that support wireless CarPlay.

I’ve found that going wireless reduces clutter and makes for a smoother, cable-free experience.

However, remember that Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections might not be as stable as a wired one, so you may experience issues if your car or phone’s wireless connection isn’t up to par.

To set up wireless CarPlay, you need to ensure your vehicle supports this feature. Then, press and hold the voice-command button on your steering wheel. Make sure that your stereo is in wireless or Bluetooth mode.

On your iPhone, tap “Settings”> “General”> “CarPlay”, and then tap “Available cars.” Choose your car and follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

Do You Need an App for CarPlay to Work?

CarPlay doesn’t require a specific app to work. Instead, it’s a feature that allows compatible apps on your iPhone to show up on your CarPlay screen.

Some popular apps compatible with CarPlay include Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, WhatsApp, and Audible.

Just remember, for safety reasons, video and certain other types of apps are not supported while driving. Safety first, folks!

Are There Settings for Apple CarPlay?

Like any technology, CarPlay isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, it has its own settings, which you can customize to ensure it works best for you.

For example, you can rearrange the apps on the CarPlay screen, change the appearance from dark to light mode, or choose which calendar events show up.

To access CarPlay settings, go to “Settings”> “General”> “CarPlay” on your iPhone.

Here, you can select your car to customize the CarPlay screen layout, toggle between dark and light appearance, or enable “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. Remember, changes made here will be reflected on your CarPlay screen.

Further Reading on Car Radio Screen Issues

Can Car Screen Protectors Cause Problems?

Although car screen protectors provide an extra layer of protection for your car’s touch screen, there are instances when these might cause issues.

In case you are wondering if car screen protectors can cause problems, the answer is yes. If installed incorrectly or if a low-quality product is used, the protector can cause sensitivity issues, glare, or even damage to your screen.

How to Fix Cracked Screen in Car?

A cracked car screen can be a significant setback, affecting the usability of your vehicle’s infotainment system.

But if you’re trying to figure out how to fix cracked screen in car, it’s crucial to understand that the level of complexity for the fix can vary based on the severity of the crack.

In some cases, you might be able to repair it yourself using a screen repair kit, but for severe cracks, professional assistance may be required.


If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why CarPlay may not appear on the car screen, you’re not alone. CarPlay issues, like those we’ve discussed, can be frustrating roadblocks for many drivers.

As someone who has dealt with my share of tech glitches, I understand the frustration when something that’s supposed to simplify life acts up instead.

However, Apple CarPlay, with its seamless integration of your iPhone into your car’s infotainment system, is worth the initial setup and troubleshooting hassles.

At the end, having your favorite navigation, communication, and entertainment apps at your fingertips makes the driving experience so much more enjoyable.

From the key points, make sure CarPlay isn’t restricted on your phone, and ensure it’s enabled on your iPhone. Sometimes, simply tapping ‘forget this car’ and reconnecting CarPlay can do the trick.

Check the USB cable and make sure your Bluetooth is connected. The car’s display and CarPlay screen should sync up smoothly once these checks are done.

And in case you’re in the middle of the road when these issues arise, don’t panic. Take a moment, park safely, and restart your iPhone and vehicle. Sometimes, a good old-fashioned restart can work wonders.