Apple CarPlay on VW Atlas, how to connect

VW Atlas supports Apple CarPlay that lets you access your iPhone apps like iTunes, Google Maps, Waze and Spotify through the touch-screen of your vehicle. You can also make phone calls, send messages or use navigation with voice commands using Siri.

Apple CarPlay on Volkswagen Atlas

Enable CarPlay and Siri on iPhone

You must have iPhone 5 or newer device with iOS 7.1 or newer version to use Apple CarPlay on VW Atlas. Before you begin, ensure CarPlay and Siri are enabled on your iPhone. Also, make sure that the “Press Home for Siri” option is enabled under “Siri & Search” in settings.


If you can’t see CarPlay or Siri & Search under your iPhone settings, then go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps, and make sure both CarPlay and Siri & Search are enabled.

Wireless CarPlay on Atlas

  1. Start the vehicle and put it in park.
  2. Enable Bluetooth on your iPhone.
  3. Press the PHONE button on your Atlas’ infotainment system.
  4. A prompt will ask to search for My VW followed by four digit number in your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings menu. Find the matching text under Other Devices and select it.
  5. Touch Pair when “Bluetooth Pairing Request” prompt appears on your iPhone.
  6. Touch Yes on pairing confirmation prompt in your Atlas.
  7. Touch Allow on your iPhone to sync contacts and favorites.
  8. A prompt will then appear in your Atlas asking you to either select Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay. Select Apple CarPlay.
  9. The Apple CarPlay interface will now appear on the infotainment display and the available apps can be accessed.

CarPlay via USB

Wireless Apple CarPlay is only available on 2021.5 and later model year VW Atlas vehicles. If you’ve an older model, you will have to connect CarPlay via USB.

  1. Connect your Apple iPhone to your VW Atlas USB port using an Apple-approved Lightning-to-USB cable.
  2. Touch Allow on your iPhone when prompted. This allows the use of CarPlay with your Atlas while phone is locked.
  3. A prompt will appear on your Atlas’ touchscreen: “Do you want to connect with Apple CarPlay?”. Touch Connect.
  4. After a brief moment, CarPlay will launch automatically on the infotainment system display.
USB data port location on Volkswagen Atlas

If CarPlay does not start automatically on your Atlas after you plug in the USB, press APP button on the infotainment system and then touch Apple CarPlay.

APP > Apple CarPlay

If you’re unsure which USB port supports CarPlay on your particular Atlas variant, then consult your vehicle’s owners manual – or you can try plugging in the cable, one by one, in all the USB ports in dashboard and center console.

CarPlay not working on VW Atlas

If Apple CarPlay does not start on your Atlas when you plug in the USB cable and there is no CarPlay icon in the list of apps in the infotainment system, it can be due to a number of reasons:

  • CarPlay is disabled in your iPhone, go to ‘Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps’ and enable both CarPlay and Siri.
  • The Lightning-to-USB cable you’re using is defective. Try a different cable, preferably original Apple cable.
  • The connected USB port on your Atlas does not support CarPlay. Try other USB ports.
  • A software glitch is responsible for the CarPlay problem. Reset the Atlas’ infotainment system to its factory settings.

Using Siri on VW Atlas

Siri is Apple’s voice recognition feature that helps you to concentrate on the road while driving your Atlas as you can control the functions of the iPhone with voice commands.


The virtual assistant allows you to place phone calls, listen to and send text messages, play music on your iPhone, get directions and use other functions of your iPhone hands-free. You can even ask Siri for current weather conditions, stock prices or upcoming events on your calendar.

To access Siri, press and hold the talk button on the steering wheel of your Atlas until you hear Siri tone.

Voice command button on the steering wheel of VW Atlas – press and hold to launch Siri when CarPlay is connected

You can also access Siri by holding down the home button located at the bottom left corner in the CarPlay app.

If the Listen for “Hey Siri” function is enabled in your iPhone device under Siri & Search settings, you can also just simply say: “Hey Siri”. After hearing the audible alert, you can begin asking Siri for assistance.

For best results when using Siri, speak clearly and reduce background noise by closing the windows and moonroof. Also, direct the air vents on dashboard so that they are not pointing towards the vehicle’s microphone.

Which Atlas models support CarPlay?

VW Atlas production began in 2017 and since then all models are compatible with CarPlay, but wireless Apple CarPlay is only available in 2021.5 and later models.

Using Google Maps on VW Atlas with CarPlay

If your iPhone has iOS 14+ operating system, you can freely use Google Maps in Apple CarPlay on your Atlas. Apple now allows the use of Google Maps in the home screen. Apple has allowed the competitor’s map service in its car application since iOS 12, but the homescreen that was newly introduced in iOS 13 in 2019 could not yet be equipped with maps. Here, users were still limited to Apple’s own map service. With iOS 14 that changes. Now CarPlay automatically selects the last service used for the view.

Using Waze navigation on VW Atlas with CarPlay

You can use Waze navigation app in CarPlay if you have iOS 12 or higher operating system installed on your iPhone. Download and install Waze app from App Store on your iPhone, then start CarPlay on your Atlas’ infotainment system display. Then touch Waze icon to launch the app.

Using Spotify on Atlas

You can use Spotify to stream music on your Atlas. Just install the Spotify app from App Store and its icon will appear in the infotainment display when CarPlay is active.

You can use voice commands to play music hands-free on Spotify with Siri. Just add “on Spotify” at the end so that Siri knows which service you’re referring to (e.g. “Hey, Siri, play my ‘Your Mix of the Week’ playlist on Spotify”).

Siri can play songs, artists, albums, playlists, podcasts, and more. You can also “like” music, ask what’s playing, and control playback (e.g. volume, skip song, play / pause).

Do not disturb while driving

When driving, keep your eyes on the road. A quick look at the navigation device is of course allowed in order not to miss the next junction. The “Do not disturb while driving” function can be activated so that your iPhone does not distract you with unnecessary notifications while driving your Atlas. iOS 13 extends this option to CarPlay as well. On your iPhone go to Settings > Do Not Disturb, then scroll down and touch “Activate” under “Do not disturb while driving”.

Not all apps are compatible with CarPlay

If you think you can use all your iPhone apps in your VW Atlas with CarPlay, then you’re wrong. The selection of compatible applications is limited, and you have to live with restrictions, especially with messenger apps. iMessage and WhatsApp can be controlled almost exclusively via Siri. That means you cannot see your message history, but only have new messages read out to you or even dictate messages yourself.

The following apps can be used with CarPlay on your Atlas, among others: Music, Phone, News, Podcasts, Audio books, Audible, Google Maps, Sygic TomTomGO, Whatsapp, calendar, Settings, Telegram, Waze, Spotify, TuneIn, Tidal, Pandora, Youtube Music and Amazon Music.

Sort apps in CarPlay

You can sort CarPlay apps in your Atlas quickly and easily through your iPhone. To do this, go to Settings > General > CarPlay, then select your vehicle under “MY CARS”. On the next screen you can rearrange app icons by touching and dragging them. You can also hide icons by touching the minus button on them.

Video: Wireless CarPlay Setup

Watch this video to learn how to connect Apple CarPlay on Volkswagen vehicles wirelessly

Video: USB CarPlay Setup

Watch this video to see how to connect Apple CarPlay on Volkswagen vehicles via USB
Contact the author: alfonsohayes@wheelsjoint.com



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