How to fix CarPlay that is not working on your Apple iPhone XR [Troubleshooting Guide]

The use of smartphones while driving is generally forbidden for safety reasons. But that’s no longer the case when Google and Apple introduced Android Auto and Apple CarPlay respectively. Aside from playing music and using navigation apps, you can also use your smartphone safely while driving.

These systems work by letting you use your phone in the car safely. With CarPlay, you can connect your iPhone to your car and show a simplified iOS-like interface on your car’s infotainment system, giving you access to certain apps to use in your car. Commands for CarPlay are relayed through the use of Siri app on your iPhone. Thus you don’t need to take your eyes off the road when relaying CarPlay commands. In case you’ll have trouble using CarPlay with your iPhone XR, I’ve lined up some helpful ways to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. Read on if you need more inputs on how to fix CarPlay that doesn’t work on your iPhone XR.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XR with CarPlay that’s not working?

Before troubleshooting, verify and ensure that your vehicle supports wired or wireless Apple CarPlay system and is compatible with the Apple iPhone XR. Note that CarPlay systems vary between cars. Some cars support CarPlay over wired solution while others support wireless CarPlay. If your car supports wired CarPlay, then you will need to plug your iPhone into the USB port of your car. If your car supports wireless CarPlay, you will need to set up CarPlay usually by pressing and holding on the Voice Control button on your steering wheel. Please refer to your car’s user manual for the correct procedure. In addition, your vehicle must also be running when using CarPlay with your phone. On your iPhone XR, check and see if Siri is enabled and that it is working. If Siri doesn’t work, then you need to fix it first. Aside from Siri, Bluetooth must also be enabled on both your iPhone XR and car system. Wireless or Bluetooth pairing mode must also be activated on your car.

If you still couldn’t get CarPlay to work, then you can proceed and try these subsequent solutions.

First solution: Restart your phone and CarPlay system.

If you were able to use CarPlay with your iPhone XR before and suddenly it failed, chances are that either your iPhone or car system is glitching. To clear this out, you can soft reset your iPhone and restart your car’s infotainment system. To soft reset an iPhone XR, simply follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone reboots.

To restart your car’s infotainment system, refer to the standard steps outlined on the user manual of your vehicle.

After restarting your devices, try to use CarPlay with your iPhone XR again and see if the problem is gone. If you’re on wired CarPlay solution, connect your iPhone to the CarPlay USB port. Just locate the USB port on your car that is labelled with a CarPlay icon or a smartphone icon. This icon is usually located underneath the climate control panel or inside the middle compartment. If you don’t see the CarPlay Home screen, just select the CarPlay logo on your car’s display.

For wireless CarPlay, simply head to Settings-> General-> CarPlay then attempt pairing in wireless mode. Menu options may vary between infotainment systems.

Second solution: Turn Siri off and then on again.

To make sure that the problem isn’t attributed to some minor glitches with Siri, turning Siri off and then back on can help. Here’s how it works:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select Siri.
  3. Then tap the option that says, Allow Hey Siri. Your iPhone will then ask you to set it by saying “Hey Siri” several times until your voice is recognized.
  4. If “Hey Siri” is already enabled on your phone while having problems using CarPlay, simply turn it OFF and then back ON again.

This method helps clear out minor errors that might have caused Siri app to fail or stop working.

If you’re having CarPlay issues only on specific apps on your phone, quitting and restarting the affected app(s) can help. CarPlay works with several iOS apps including third-party apps and the ones built into iOS such as Messages, Music, Maps, and Phone app.

Third solution: Toggle Bluetooth off and then back on.

Among other key requisites to use CarPlay with your iPhone XR is an active Bluetooth connection. This means pairing your iPhone XR and car Bluetooth. To eliminate random issues with Bluetooth on both the car and your phone, restart Bluetooth with these steps:

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings-> Bluetooth menu, then toggle the Bluetooth switch off and then back on again.

Alternatively, you can toggle Airplane Mode on and off. It’s another way of restarting wireless functions of the phone.

  • To do this, go to your iPhone Settings-> Airplane Mode menu, then tap the switch to turn Airplane Mode ON. Doing so disables the phone’s wireless radios including Bluetooth feature. While Airplane mode is on, restart the phone to clears memory cache. Then head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu, then turn the Airplane Mode switch OFF again.

Retry pairing your iPhone and your car afterwards and see if CarPlay is already working as intended.

Fourth solution: Unpair your iPhone from your car then pair again.

If turning Bluetooth off and on doesn’t solve the problem, then try to unpair your phone and car. This is often needed if the current Bluetooth connection between the phone and the car gets corrupted.

To do this, go to your iPhone Settings-> Bluetooth menu. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled so you can see the list of available Bluetooth devices. Find and select your car Bluetooth then tap on the information “i” icon next to it. Then tap the option to Forget This Device. Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to confirm unpairing.

Also remove or unpair your iPhone from any other Bluetooth devices so none of them will cause conflict or interfere with the phone and car when using CarPlay.

After unpairing and removing all saved Bluetooth devices from your iPhone XR, restart the phone and the car system then reattempt pairing.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings on your phone.

Network-related errors that might have ruined the connection between the phone and CarPlay can also be cleared out by performing network settings reset. This will erase your phone’s current network configurations along with network errors that caused CarPlay to fail. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode, when asked to proceed.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

When the reset is finished, your phone will restart automatically and then loads the default network options and values. That said, you will need to re-enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections on the phone in order to use them again. Don’t forget to pair your iPhone and your car Bluetooth afterwards.

Optional solution: Disable USB Restricted Mode on your iPhone XR.

USB Restricted Mode was first introduced among other new features of iOS 11.4.1 and remained present in iOS 12 devices. It is a new security feature designed to prevent current and future hardware-based methods from preventing your iOS passcode by disabling the USB data connection internally after a certain period of time. This is Apple’s augmented means to protect iOS user data from passcode hackers that utilize USB devices that purportedly hack iPhone passcodes through Lightning ports. But enabling this iPhone feature can also trigger some issues as it would limit the user’s flexibility with Lightning-based accessories such as speaker docks, USB chargers, video adapters, and the like. Car systems that work via Lightning cables, particularly CarPlay are also no exception. To make sure that this isn’t what halting CarPlay from working properly on your iPhone XR, try to disable USB Restricted Mode feature with

these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode.
  3. If prompted, enter your passcode to continue.
  4. Then swipe down to the Allow Access When Locked section.
  5. Select USB Accessories. This option is turned OFF by default and it means that USB Restricted Mode is enabled.
  6. Turn ON the switch next to USB Accessories switch to disable USB Restricted Mode.

Doing so will allow Lightning-based accessories to work indefinitely while the phone is locked. But then again, you should note that this will leave your device at risk to iOS security threats. If you’re willing to take the risks, then you can keep your iPhone XR set up this way while using CarPlay and re-enable the feature when CarPlay isn’t needed.

For other options and more advanced solutions, contact Apple support and delineate the issue.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix the problem with your device. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!