11 Ways to Fix It When CarPlay Keeps Disconnecting

Try a wired connection, clean your charging port, and disable your VPN

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Cable and Bluetooth issues are usually the root of the problem when Apple CarPlay keeps disconnecting, but there are other fixes to try.

Causes for Apple CarPlay Disconnecting

There are a lot of problems that can lead to repeated Apple CarPlay disconnects. The most common causes of this issue are:

  • Problems with the Lightning to USB cable
  • Wireless Bluetooth interference
  • Other connectivity issues
  • Out of date software
  • VPN conflicts

How to Fix It When Apple CarPlay Keeps Disconnecting

Try each of the following fixes if you’re having a problem with CarPlay connecting and then disconnecting when driving. If one of the fixes appears to work, you can stop, give it some time to see if the problem has gone away, then return to the list and attempt the remaining fixes if the issue returns.

  1. Turn on both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If Wi-Fi and Bluetooth aren’t enabled on your iPhone, you can experience connectivity issues.

    To enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, open the Control Center, then tap the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons if they aren’t already on. 

  2. Enable the CarPlay toggle for your car. If you use your iPhone in wireless mode with CarPlay in more than one car, you may experience connectivity issues. When that happens, you can fix the problem by enabling the CarPlay toggle for the right vehicle or by switching the toggle off and back on again.

    To enable the CarPlay toggle for your car: Open Settings on your iPhone, navigate to General > CarPlay, and select the vehicle you’re trying to connect to. Then tap the CarPlay toggle to turn it on. If it’s already on, tap it once to disable it, then tap it again to turn it back on.

  3. Forget and reconnect your car. Your iPhone can remember connecting to multiple vehicles for CarPlay. In some cases, removing each car and then adding it again will fix problems with CarPlay disconnecting.

    Here’s how to forget and reconnect your car from your iPhone: Navigate to Settings > General > CarPlay, select your vehicle, and tap Forget This Car. You can then reconnect wirelessly or via a Lightning cable, and see if CarPlay still disconnects.

  4. Switch to a wired connection. Some vehicles don’t work with wireless CarPlay, and others have connectivity issues. Try using a cable instead.

  5. Use an MFI-certified cable. Try a different Lightning cable if you’re already using a wired connection. Apple recommends using a certified MFI cable for this purpose, as using a defective or inferior cable will cause CarPlay to disconnect.

  6. Clean your iPhone charging port. Any dust or other debris in the charging port can create just enough of a connection problem to cause CarPlay to disconnect repeatedly.

    To clean your iPhone charging port: Turn your phone off, then carefully clear the charging port of any dust or debris with compressed air or a toothpick.

  7. Clean the car’s USB port. If you’re using a wired connection, the USB port in your car can accumulate dust and other debris just as easily as the charging port on your phone. Use the same methods to clean the car’s USB port, taking the same care not to damage it.

  8. Restart your iPhone. Some connectivity issues are solved by restarting the iPhone and then reconnecting CarPlay. Sometimes, several restarts are required before the connection stops dropping out.

    To restart an iPhone: Press and hold the side and volume down buttons, or press and hold the sleep/wake button, then use the power off slider to turn the phone off. Once the phone has turned off, you can turn it back on and check to see if CarPlay still disconnects.

  9. Restart your car’s head unit. If you haven’t already done so, try restarting your car’s head unit. The head unit is the part that connects to your iPhone and displays the CarPlay interface, so restarting it sometimes fixes disconnecting issues.

    To restart your head unit: Turn your vehicle off, and wait for the head unit to turn off. If it doesn’t turn off automatically, consult your owner’s manual for a shut-down procedure. You can then restart the car, wait for the head unit to start back up, and check to see if CarPlays still disconnects.

  10. Disable your VPN. Using a VPN on your iPhone can introduce connectivity issues that prevent CarPlay from staying connected, so disable your VPN if you use one.

    If disabling the VPN fixes your problem, you should consider contacting the VPN provider to report the issue. They may release an update to fix the conflict so you can turn the VPN back on.

  11. Update iOS. In some cases, out of date software on your phone can cause CarPlay to disconnect. New iOS updates sometimes introduce bugs that can cause problems like this as well, in which case it’s important to update as soon as Apple releases a fix.

    Here’s how to update iOS: Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update > Download and Install, then tap Install Now.

  • Can I update CarPlay separately from iOS?

    Yes, but mostly no. Apple pushes out all updates, so it's not updated the way you update apps on your iPhone. If there is an update to CarPlay, it will be pushed out from Apple and updated via System Settings in an iOS update.

  • Which is better: wireless CarPlay or wired CarPlay?

    As far as functionality is concerned, they are the same. Some folks might argue wireless is more convenient, but we think wired is better because you charge your iPhone the whole time you use CarPlay, and having a charged iPhone feels more convenient. If your car has wireless charging (a few do), you can use CarPlay via a wireless connection while still charging.

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