If you’ve ever plugged your phone into your car’s USB port or cable to access Apple CarPlay only to find that your phone is charging, but CarPlay does not actually connect or work, you’re not alone.
This can be an incredibly frustrating issue, mainly if you rely on CarPlay for navigation, music, podcasts, audiobooks, and hands-free calling.
There are a few potential reasons why your phone may charge from your car’s USB, but the CarPlay fails to launch or connect properly.
Table of Contents
Outdated Software Versions
- One of the most obvious but often overlooked causes of connectivity issues with CarPlay is having outdated software.
- Ensure that either your iPhone’s iOS and your vehicle’s firmware are fully updated to the latest versions.
- Updates frequently include bug fixes and optimizations specifically aimed at improving connectivity issues.
- Go to the Settings app on your iPhone and navigate to General > Software Update to check for iOS updates.
- For your vehicle, check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to check for and install the latest firmware update.
- Many newer vehicles can install updates automatically over WiFi if enabled.
Incompatible Lightning Cable
- While any basic Lightning cable should allow an iPhone to charge from your car’s USB port, that does not necessarily mean it will enable a reliable data connection for the CarPlay feature.
- Make sure you are using an OEM Apple Lightning cable certified for CarPlay connectivity rather than a cheap third-party alternative.
- Also, inspect your cable for any damage that could impede the data transfer, even if charging still works.
Reset The Network Settings
- If you’ve verified your software and cables are all good, try resetting your network settings on your iPhone, which will wipe and restore all of the WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular connections.
Here are the steps: Open Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
- This will not erase any data but reestablish the phone’s wireless connections, which could potentially fix any CarPlay connectivity bugs.
- Remember that you’ll have to rejoin WiFi networks and pair Bluetooth devices again after completing this process.
Check The USB Port for Damage or Debris
- Examine the physical USB port in your car that you have connected your Lightning cable for any signs of damage, wear and tear, or compacted debris.
- Something as simple as a broken pin, bad solder joint, or abuilt-up pocket lint could allow the USB port to still provide power but not to transmit the ideal amount of data.
- You may be able to carefully clean out the port by yourself with canned air.
- Otherwise, you may need service to repair or replace the USB port if damaged.
- If you do so, use a flashlight to visually inspect the port.
Reset The Infotainment System
- If you’ve have tried every troubleshooting step for you iphone without resolving the CarPlay issues, try resetting your vehicle’s infotainment system back to factory default settings.
- Consult your owner’s manual for the specific reset procedure for your make and model.
- This will often fix software glitches that could prevent proper CarPlay connectivity.
- You will likely need to reprogram any saved presets, Favorites, and settings afterwards the same as you would after an iPhone reset.
- This should only be done as a last-resort troubleshooting step.
FAQs Of Phone Charging But CarPlay Not Working
Q: Will a wireless CarPlay adapter or a dongle may fix the wired connection issues?
A: Possibly. Wireless CarPlay options from makers like CarlinKit can bypass problematic USB ports by transmitting data over WiFi instead. This would confirm USB hardware faults rather than iPhone-related issues if wireless CarPlay is available.
Q: Can I still use the map and music if the CarPlay is not working?
A: Yes, through the native built-in infotainment system or Bluetooth if available in your vehicle. But this lacks CarPlay’s tight iPhone integration and convenience. Streaming apps may also work over WiFi if your car is equipped.