How to fix an Apple iPhone XS that won’t sync to car Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay not working after an update [Troubleshooting Guide]

CarPlay lets you give commands to your car’s Bluetooth system through Siri. This allows you to access certain apps for use in your car without taking your eyes off the road. With CarPlay, you can connect your iPhone to your car and display a simplified iOS-like interface on its infotainment system using Apple’s standard. Modern cars are typically designed with a built-in smart interface. And if your car is compatible with your iPhone’s display, then you can use CarPlay for safer driving. All you have to do is set up a connection between your iPhone and car’s Bluetooth/infotainment system and then start using Maps or other navigation apps for driving directions, respond to messages, listen to music and use Siri to get more information.

But for there are some factors that can halt CarPlay and so your iPhone XS won’t sync or won’t be able to connect to your car Bluetooth or infotainment system even if your car supports CarPlay. And it turns out that bad updates are among the underlying causes. Should you bump into the same trouble, then you can try any of the lined up solutions in this context. Read on to learn what to do if your iPhone XS failed to sync to car Bluetooth or CarPlay stops working after installing an iOS update.

Before we move on to our troubleshooting, if you are looking for a solution to a different issue, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems reported by our readers. Find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If you still need our help after that, then feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS that’s not syncing to car Bluetooth

Before troubleshooting, verify and ensure that your car supports wireless CarPlay. You can contact your car manufacturer on that matter. Also make sure that your car stereo is set to wireless or Bluetooth mode so it can be seen and accessed by your iPhone XS. Finally, check and see if Siri is working on your iPhone XS. If all these requisites are met but still you can’t sync your iPhone XS to your car’s Bluetooth or infotainment system via CarPlay, then may begin to troubleshoot your device.

First solution: Toggle Bluetooth off and back on.

The simplest recommended solution to minor Bluetooth issues on an iPhone is a Bluetooth system restart. This means turning the phone’s Bluetooth feature off for a few moments and then turning it back on. It works like a soft reset does when fixing random errors on your iPhone system but this time it’s on Bluetooth functions. So here’s what you should try doing first:

  1. Navigate to your iPhone XS Settings-> Bluetooth menu.
  2. Tap the Bluetooth switch to turn the feature OFF.
  3. After a few seconds, tap the switch to turn Bluetooth ON again.

Wait for your iPhone to show the list of all available Bluetooth devices. Find your car and then re-attempt to connect and see if it works. If it doesn’t, then proceed to the next applicable solution.

Second solution: Reboot your iPhone and car Bluetooth device.

Any device could end up being erratic or unstable after updating. This is normal as the device system may still be acclimatizing with the new platform changes. The simplest solution to this would be a soft reset or device restart. Thus, if you haven’t restarted your iPhone XS already, follow these steps to do so:

  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.

Wait for your iPhone to finish booting up. If necessary, enable Bluetooth from your iPhone settings then retry connecting to your car’s Bluetooth system. If that still fails, then try the next method.

Third solution: Check and manage your CarPlay settings.

On your car, try to access its infotainment system settings and then manage your CarPlay settings. Here are some clues on what to do:

  1. If your car supports CarPlay through a wired solution, connect your iPhone XS to the USB port of your car. Just look for the USB port with a CarPlay icon or a smartphone icon on it.
  2. Meanwhile, if your car supports wireless CarPlay, press Voice Control buttons and hold the located on the steering wheel to set up CarPlay.

Make sure that your car is in Bluetooth pairing or wireless mode.

  • On your iPhone XS, go to Settings-> General-> CarPlay-> Available Cars then select your car.

Make sure your car is running, otherwise your iPhone XS won’t be able to detect it.

Fourth solution: Forget your car Bluetooth device then add it back.

Like other Bluetooth problems that couldn’t be remedied by the prior solutions, forgetting or deleting the problematic Bluetooth connection can be considered as the next option and possible solution to try on. Doing so will delete your car Bluetooth from your iPhone’s Bluetooth folder. This tweak is usually recommended when dealing with relevant symptoms inflicted by a corrupted Bluetooth connection. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From your iPhone XS Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Navigate to My Devices and then find your car in the list.
  4. Then tap on the blue “i” or information icon next to the name of your car/infotainment system.
  5. Tap the option to Forget This Device. Doing so will trigger your iPhone XS to forget your car and delete it from the list of saved Bluetooth devices.
  6. To check if the device has been deleted successfully, go back to your iPhone XS Settings-> Bluetooth-> My Devices menu.

The device should no longer be available in that folder.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XS.

There is a higher chance that the problem is due to some network-related errors on your iPhone system. The new update might have overridden some critical settings and that yielded to a problem. To clear this out, performing a network settings reset on your iPhone XS is advised. Please note though that this process will delete all network-related information from the phone including your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, APNs, server settings and other pertinent settings and options. This means that you will need to set up and reconnect to your Wi-Fi network and enable Bluetooth connections subsequently. Here’s how to reset your iPhone XS network settings:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm network settings reset.

Wait for your phone to finish resetting its network settings and then reboots when done. As soon as it boots up, set up Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections then retry connecting your iPhone XS to your car Bluetooth via CarPlay.

Other options

  • Restore iOS. You may opt to restore your iPhone XS to a previous iOS back up. While this would be considered a downgrade, it may be the only option that’s left for you at the moment. You can restore your iPhone XS through iTunes on a Mac or compatible Windows computer. But you can disregard this option if you can live without having to use CarPlay with your iPhone XS until a fix patch is rolled out.
  • Contact your car manufacturer. To make sure that your car supports CarPlay and is compatible with the iPhone XS interface, call the manufacturer of your car for further verifications. You can also ask them to assist you in updating the car’s infotainment system, if necessary.
  • Escalate the problem. If all else fails, then you can report the problem to your device carrier or Apple Support. The fact that it’s a post-update issue makes it imperative for Apple to be notified as soon as possible thus further assessments can be done for them to determine whether or not to push follow-up update containing the required fix patch.

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