Subaru BRZ Apple CarPlay not working – causes and how to fix it

Apple CarPlay is a great way to stay connected while driving in your Subaru BRZ. It allows you to access your favorite apps, view navigation maps, and listen to music without having to take your hands off the steering wheel. If Apple CarPlay does not launch when you connect your iPhone to your BRZ, it could be due to a number of reasons which we will go through in this article.

Subaru BRZ
Subaru BRZ – (tomas devera photo / Shutterstock)

1. Apple CarPlay is disabled

To use Apple CarPlay in your Subaru BRZ, you must have iPhone 5 or newer device with iOS 7.1 or newer version, and the feature must be enabled in the settings menu.


How to enable Apple CarPlay on your iPhone

To enable Apple CarPlay on your iPhone, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps, and turn on the slider button next to CarPlay. Also enable “Siri & Dictation” if you want to use the ‘Hey Siri’ feature which allows you to control your phone and access other information through voice commands.

Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps > CarPlay

After enabling Siri & Dictation, go to your iPhone settings and tap Siri & Search. Make sure all three options (Listen for “Hey Siri”, Press Home for Siri, and Allow Siri when Locked) are enabled.

Settings > Siri & Search

With Siri enabled, you can perform tasks like making phone calls, sending text messages, and playing music without having to manually navigate through menus on the infotainment system.

Allow CarPlay to launch while phone is locked

Apple CarPlay will not launch in BRZ after plugging in the USB cable if your iPhone is locked and you haven’t allowed access in the settings. Go to Settings > General > CarPlay, and select your vehicle name under MY CAR. Then turn on the slider button next to ‘Allow CarPlay While Locked’.

Settings > General > CarPlay > Your Car Name > Allow CarPlay While Locked

It is important to keep in mind that allowing Apple CarPlay to start while the phone is locked can pose a security risk, as it may allow unauthorized access to your phone’s data. So consider your preferences and security concerns before enabling this option.

Enable Accessories option

USB Restricted Mode is a security feature in iOS that is designed to protect user data by disabling the data connection over the Lightning port when the iPhone has been locked for more than an hour. The purpose of this feature is to prevent hackers from using specialized USB devices to gain access to the iPhone’s data. However, this feature can also cause issues with certain accessories, such as CarPlay, that rely on a stable USB connection. Removing this restriction may help resolve your BRZ CarPlay issues.


Open your iPhone settings page and tap Touch ID & Passcode, scroll down and enable the slider button next to Accessories.

Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Accessories

Enable CarPlay in the infotainment system

Apple CarPlay may be disabled in your vehicle, make sure it is enabled in the infotainment system settings.

2. Bad Lightning to USB Cable

A good quality data cable is important for a stable and consistent connection between your phone and the infotainment system of your BRZ. If the data cable that you’re using is of low quality, or if the cable is damaged, it can cause the connection to drop out or be lost entirely, making it difficult or impossible to use Apple CarPlay.

Slow data transfer

A low-quality cable may not be able to handle the data transfer required for Apple CarPlay. This can result in slow loading times or buffering when trying to use the app.

It is always recommended to use a high-quality, original Apple data cable to ensure a stable and consistent CarPlay connection.

No long cables

When using Apple CarPlay in BRZ, it is generally recommended to keep the length of the the USB cable under 3 feet (1 meter) in length without using USB hubs or cable extensions in order to ensure proper functionality. Longer cables can cause signal degradation, leading to connectivity issues and a poor user experience.

3. Connected USB port not supported

Your Subaru BRZ may have multiple USB ports, but not all of them support a data connection for CarPlay. This means that while you may be able to charge your phone using any USB port, not all of them will allow you to connect your phone to the infotainment system for the purpose of using Apple CarPlay. Try plugging in the USB cable to other USB ports or check the owners manual to identify which USB port supports data connection for CarPlay.

USB data port on Subaru BRZ is located under the center armrest

4. Software glitch

Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone can often resolve minor software issues that may be causing problems with Apple CarPlay connectivity in BRZ. Press and hold the side button and either volume button on your iPhone until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off your iPhone. Once your iPhone is turned off, press and hold the side button again until the Apple logo appears.


Reset the infotainment system

If you are experiencing issues with Apple CarPlay in your BRZ, it could be due to a software glitch in the infotainment system. In this case, one potential solution is to reset the infotainment system to its default factory settings. This will restart the system and can help to clear up any bugs or errors that may be causing the problem. It’s important to note that resetting the infotainment system may erase some settings, so make sure to check the owners manual of your vehicle or consult with the dealer before proceeding with the reset.

Disable Bluetooth

Sometimes, an existing Bluetooth connection on your iPhone can prevent Apple CarPlay from working properly in BRZ. When your phone is connected to the car via Bluetooth, it may not allow the USB data cable to establish a connection. To fix this issue, you can try turning off Bluetooth on your iPhone and then connect the USB data cable.

Delete BRZ from your iPhone

If you are having trouble getting Apple CarPlay to work, one troubleshooting step you can try is deleting the existing connection profile of your BRZ from your iPhone and then reconnecting the USB cable. This can help to clear any existing connection issues between the phone and the infotainment system. To do this, you will need to go into CarPlay settings under General settings on your iPhone and delete your BRZ by tapping ‘Forget This Car’ under the vehicle submenu.

Settings > General > CarPlay > Your Car Name > Forget This Car > Forget

Once you have removed your BRZ from your iPhone, you can reconnect the USB cable and set up the connection again. This can help fix any bugs or glitches that may have caused the initial connection issues and allow CarPlay to work properly.

5. Update the software

It’s important to check for any software updates available for both the iPhone and the infotainment system of your Subaru BRZ. The issue might be caused by an outdated software version of the iPhone or the infotainment system, which may not be compatible with each other. Go to Software Update under General settings menu on your iPhone and check if an iOS update is available.

Settings > General > Software Update > Download and Install

Keeping the software up to date ensures latest features and security patches for both the iPhone and the infotainment system. This may also help resolve any compatibility issues with Apple CarPlay and ensure a smooth experience while using the app.

6. Try other iPhone

If you are having trouble getting CarPlay to work in your BRZ and you have tried all other troubleshooting steps, try using a different iPhone. This is because the issue might be caused by a compatibility problem between the phone and the infotainment system.

7. Apple CarPlay not supported

Your Subaru BRZ or the aftermarket multimedia system (if equipped) may not be compatible with CarPlay. Visit the official website of Apple CarPlay and verify if your vehicle is supported. 2018 and later model year Subaru BRZ vehicles are compatible with Apple CarPlay.

CarPlay Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to install the CarPlay app on iPhone?

No, you do not need to install a separate CarPlay app on your iPhone. CarPlay is a built-in feature of iOS and is automatically installed on your iPhone as part of the iOS software.

Do I need a special USB cable for Apple CarPlay?

No, you do not need a special USB cable for Apple CarPlay. Any standard Lightning cable that is compatible with your iPhone should work fine. Apple’s own Lightning to USB cable is a good choice, and other third-party cables that are MFi certified (Made for iPhone/iPad) will also work.

Is there a monthly charge for Apple CarPlay?

There is no monthly charge for using Apple CarPlay. It is a feature that is built into iOS and is available on all iPhones with iOS 7.1 or later. Once you have a compatible iPhone and a car with a compatible infotainment system, you can use Apple CarPlay at no additional cost.

Does Apple CarPlay work without cell service?

Yes, Apple CarPlay can work without a cellular service. However, some CarPlay features may require a cellular connection or wifi to work. For example, if you use the Maps app for navigation, you will need a cellular or wifi connection to receive real-time traffic information and updates. Also, some apps like Siri or Whatsapp messages may need internet connection to work properly.

Author: Nabeel K
Email: nabeel@wheelsjoint.com



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