Subaru CarPlay Not Working: 5 Common Reasons & Solutions

Subaru CarPlay Not Working - Tips

If you’re a proud Subaru owner like me, you’ve probably enjoyed the seamless integration of Apple’s CarPlay in your vehicle. It’s a difference-maker, isn’t it?

It allows us to safely use our favorite iPhone features while driving. But, like all technology, sometimes things don’t go as planned.

One of the common hiccups Subaru owners face is CarPlay not working as it should. But don’t fret! I’m here to guide you through the reasons and solutions.

Fun Fact: Did you know that with the introduction of digital car keys, you can now unlock and even start some 2021 car models using your iPhone? Talk about taking your iPhone on the road!

Common Reasons for Subaru CarPlay Not Working

Common Reasons for Subaru CarPlay Not Working

Compatibility Issues

First and foremost, not all iPhones and Subaru models are made equal. It’s crucial to ensure that your iPhone model is compatible with your Subaru’s CarPlay system.

For instance, while the latest iPhone 14 series is CarPlay compatible, older models like the iPhone 5 might not offer the same experience.

Pro Tip: Always check the official Apple website for a list of CarPlay-compatible iPhone models before making an upgrade.

Cable and Connection Problems

We often overlook the simplest things, like the cable we use to connect our iPhone to the Subaru. A faulty or non-certified cable can be the culprit behind CarPlay not working. It’s essential to ensure that the cable is in good condition and is Apple-certified.

Interesting Fact: Non-certified cables might charge your iPhone, but they often fail to support data transfer, which is crucial for CarPlay.

Software Updates

Keeping your iPhone’s iOS and your Subaru’s software updated is not just about getting the latest features. Outdated software can sometimes cause compatibility issues, leading to CarPlay not functioning correctly.

Pro Tip: Regularly check for software updates, especially if you’ve recently upgraded your iPhone.

USB Port Problems

The USB port in your Subaru is another potential weak link. A malfunctioning USB port might not establish a stable connection with your iPhone, affecting CarPlay functionality.

Fun Fact: Dust and debris accumulation in the USB port can sometimes cause connection issues. A simple cleaning might just do the trick!

Restrictions and Settings

Sometimes, the problem isn’t with the hardware but the settings on your iPhone. Certain settings can disable CarPlay, so it’s essential to ensure that everything is set up correctly.

Pro Tip: Always check the “CarPlay” option in your iPhone’s settings to ensure it’s enabled and correctly set up for your Subaru.


Connecting your Phone to your Subaru - Solutions

Check Compatibility

Before diving into more complex solutions, let’s start with the basics. Ensure that your iPhone and Subaru models is compatible.

While most recent Subaru models like the Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback support CarPlay, older ones might not. Similarly, while the latest iPhones are CarPlay-ready, some older models might not be.

Pro Tip: Always refer to Subaru’s official website or your vehicle’s manual for a list of compatible devices.

Inspect and Replace Cables

Believe it or not, a simple cable can be the root of all problems. If you’re using a frayed or non-certified cable, it might be time for a replacement. Ensure that the cable is Apple-certified and in good condition.

Interesting Fact: Apple-certified cables have a chip inside them that allows for a secure connection between the device and the car, ensuring optimal performance.

Inspect and Replace Cables

Update Software

Both your iPhone’s iOS and your Subaru’s infotainment system need to be up-to-date. Outdated software can lead to compatibility issues or glitches that affect CarPlay’s performance.

Fun Fact: Software updates often come with enhanced features, improved security, and bug fixes. It’s always a win-win!

USB Port Inspection

A simple dust particle or debris in the USB port can hinder a stable connection. Ensure the port is clean and free from any obstructions. If you suspect any malfunction, it might be time to get it checked by a professional.

Pro Tip: Use a soft brush or compressed air to gently clean the USB port. Avoid using any liquids!

Adjust iPhone Settings

Sometimes, the solution lies within your iPhone’s settings. Ensure that CarPlay is enabled and that there aren’t any restrictions preventing it from working. Also, check if the “Allow CarPlay While Locked” option is turned on.

Interesting Fact: The “Allow CarPlay While Locked” feature ensures that even if your iPhone screen is off, CarPlay remains functional.

Troubleshooting Tips

Troubleshooting Tips - Connecting your Phone to your Subaru - Solutions

Restart iPhone and Subaru Infotainment System

It might sound cliché, but turning it off and on again can work wonders. If CarPlay isn’t responding, try restarting both your iPhone and the Subaru infotainment system.

Fun Fact: Restarting devices can clear temporary glitches and refresh the system, making it run smoother.

Factory Reset

If you’ve tried everything and CarPlay still isn’t working, consider resetting CarPlay settings to their default. But remember, this will erase all your preferences and settings related to CarPlay.

Pro Tip: Before performing a factory reset, ensure you’ve backed up any essential data.

Contact Subaru Support

When in doubt, it’s always best to seek professional help. If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and still face issues, it might be time to contact Subaru customer support or visit a dealership.

Interesting Fact: Subaru has a dedicated support team trained to handle technical issues, ensuring that you get the best assistance possible.


Can I use wireless CarPlay with my Subaru?

Yes, some Subaru models equipped with the Starlink infotainment system support wireless CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. This means you can connect your iPhone to your Subaru without the need for a cable. To use wireless, ensure that both your iPhone and Subaru are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Once connected, you can access CarPlay features wirelessly, providing a more convenient and clutter-free experience.

Why does my CarPlay keep disconnecting?

There could be several reasons for disconnecting frequently:

  • Poor Cellular Signal: If you’re using CarPlay features that require a cellular connection, a weak signal might cause disruptions.
  • Power Management Settings: Ensure that your iPhone’s Low Power Mode is turned off when using CarPlay, as it can sometimes restrict certain functionalities.
  • Bluetooth Interference: Other devices connected via Bluetooth might interfere with the CarPlay connection. Try disconnecting other devices to see if it resolves the issue.

How do I know if my Subaru model supports CarPlay?

Most recent Subaru models, including the Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, and WRX, come with support. However, to be certain, you can check your vehicle’s manual, visit Subaru’s official website, or contact a Subaru dealership. They will provide information on whether your specific model and year support CarPlay.

Is there a way to customize the apps displayed on CarPlay?

Absolutely! On your iPhone, navigate to Settings > General > CarPlay, and select your vehicle. From there, you can customize which apps appear on the CarPlay screen and even rearrange their order. This allows you to prioritize the apps you use most frequently for easier access.

Does CarPlay use my phone’s data plan?

Yes, it uses your iPhone’s data plan when accessing features that require an internet connection, such as streaming music, using navigation, or sending messages. It’s essential to be aware of your data usage, especially if you don’t have an unlimited plan, to avoid any additional charges.

Can I use voice commands with CarPlay in my Subaru?

Certainly! CarPlay integrates seamlessly with Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. This allows you to use voice commands to make calls, send texts, set destinations, play music, and more without taking your hands off the wheel. To activate Siri, press and hold the voice command button on your Subaru’s steering wheel until you hear the Siri tone.


Navigating the world of Subaru CarPlay can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and troubleshooting tips, it becomes a breeze. This technology is designed to make our driving experience more enjoyable and safe.

By understanding its intricacies and potential hiccups, we can ensure a seamless connection between our beloved iPhones and Subaru vehicles. Remember, technology is here to serve us, and with a bit of patience and know-how, we can make the most of it.

Safe driving and happy connecting!

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