Quick Fixes For Failed Phone Connection to Apple CarPlay In Your VW

By blogsadmin | Posted in Tips and Tricks, Volkswagen Tech on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 at 5:31 pm
Why Won't My Phone Connect to Volkswagen Apple CarPlay?

Why Won’t My Phone Connect to Volkswagen Apple CarPlay?

We don’t hear it often, but once in a while a driver will ask: why won’t my phone connect to Volkswagen Apple CarPlay? If you have Apple CarPlay in your new Volkswagen model but are struggling to connect your iPhone, there are a few things you might want to check into to easily solve the problem. We’ll run through some of those solutions here.

How to Fix Failed Connection to Apple CarPlay In Your VW

Usually, connecting your iPhone to Apple CarPlay in a Volkswagen is as simple as plugging it into a USB cable. If you’re running into issues, however, there are some common problems drivers are running into. Usually, you’ll find it is an issue with the phone itself.

  1. apple carplay in the 2016 vw passatIncompatible phone: The Apple CarPlay system may not be compatible with all iPhone models. And even if your phone is compatible, you’ll want to be sure you have the latest updates installed on the phone. You can find out if your iPhone is compatible here.
  2. Incompatible cable: Another issue some are running into has to do with the USB charging cable they’re using. You’ll want to use a Lightning to USB cable, preferably the one that came with your iPhone originally or one from Apple. Other Lightning cable brands may not work.
  3. Phone restrictions: Some have found that there were restrictions on their phone that had to be turned off. On your iPhone, go into Settings > General > Restrictions > CarPlay, and turn restrictions off.
  4. VPN apps: Others have reported that having VPN apps on their phone caused an issue, and deleting such apps should be enough to fix the problem.

Read more about Volkswagen technology features

This is only a short list of some of the reasons why your phone won’t connect to Volkswagen Apple CarPlay, so if you know of any others and their potential solutions, be sure to share them in the comments section below. Also, be sure to try restarting both your phone and the car when attempting these fixes. Of course, if you’re still running into problems, feel free to bring your phone and the vehicle to a qualified VW service technician.

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44 Responses to “Quick Fixes For Failed Phone Connection to Apple CarPlay In Your VW”

  1. Nick says:

    I have an iPhone 6+ and a 2015 Passat SE that I regularly use Car Play with. 8 or 9 times out of 10 the iPhone connects fine. However, every so often the phone/Car Play will get stuck in a failed connection loop. The console will display a message that the phone connection was cancelled and asks if the phone is unlocked. I do get a message about the Bluetooth being unavailable while connected so it seems like the phone is partially connecting.

    I normally don’t connect with the phone unlocked and unlocking it at this point does not ever resolve the failed connection. The only way around this issue that I’ve found is to turn off the car long enough for the sound system to restart (more than a minute or two). I’ve tried power cycling the phone and re-connecting but it immediately goes back to the connection cancelled, retry connection loop.

    • Ziad Ewais says:

      Having the same problem with my 2016 Jetta since I bought it last June. The only way to hot fix it is the method you mentioned. The dealer wasn’t convinced that it was the car’s fault until we got several cables and different iPhones to work, yet with no solution.
      They contacted VW service HQ and recommended to exchange the cable connecting the USB port to the system. Did the swap and still the problem exists. They told me to call them again as they are suspecting another cable that might be the problem.
      The software developer in me suggests its a software problem not a hardware one, but the system diagnostics doesn’t show any errors.
      I’ll keep updating.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I have had the same problem! It’s infuriating. It happens at least once or twice a week. It’s definitely the system, and not the phone, because I have two iPhones (because of work), and once, I tried to connect the work phone when it wouldnt connect to my personal phone and got the same failed connection loop.

    It’s most likely to happen when I disconnect briefly to go into the store for a few minutes or something and then reconnect, so I try to avoid doing that. Sometimes Bluetooth fails as well.

    • John Iaria says:

      I’ve had the same problem as the two above me. There should be no reason that this ever happens.

    • Michael Abboud says:

      …and I have the same problem: VW Polo 2016, iPhone 6, 6+ and 7 all exhibit the issue intermittently – very frustrating. When I last had my car in for Warranty Service in February, I specifically asked if there were any software updates for the dash, and the answer was no. Meantiime, Apple has released iOS 10.3 with some enhancements / fixes to CarPlay. I’ll see if that improves things after I update.


  3. Kraz says:

    Same problem in 2016 Golf with iPhone 5S and iOS 10.3.2 as with previous builds. The quickest but still slow and annoying (and dangerous, if driving) workaround for this annoying problem is to pull the usb/lightning cable out of the phone, reboot the VW console by pushing and holding the on/off button until you get a reboot screen, then replug your phone and it should connect. What I don’t get is sometimes the phone connects automatically, the way you’d think it should, on plug in and gives the apple app menu screen on the VW console but sometimes not. If not you have to hit the menu button on VW and click through an annoying and dangerous!-if-driving series of buttons to get connected (select CarPlay, select device dropdown, select iPhone…the unlock your phone which from drop down and hope. Buggy buggy buggy.

  4. Wenlan says:

    Same problem in 2017 Passat with iPhone 7 and iOS 10.3.2.

  5. JJS says:

    I have a 2016 VW Jetta SE that I bought in August of 2016 and an iPhone 6. I have had the same issues since day one. The dealer has tried everything including installing and new radio last year. The problems have continued to the point that nonstop errors come up when the phone is plugged in. Now the phone does not connect at all and the radio intermittently shuts off and turns back on. The dealer contacted VW headquarters without resolve. They have given me every excuse in the book. This in unacceptable.

  6. R Smith says:

    Have just started having this same “non-connection” problem on our brand new 2017 Dune Beetle. CarPlay worked flawlessly for the first month, then, it just started going into the failed connection loop. Searching the web for possible solutions. Thanks for this forum! Good luck to all.

    • Amylou says:

      I have a 2016 VW Dune and i also get intermittent connection problems…gets stuck in that loop..very frustrating especially when you need to use the GPS.

  7. Dan says:

    Yup. ’16 Passat, iPhone 6. Same issue. Very intermittent.

    Searched for solutions brought me here. Disappointing

  8. Kevin says:

    If it’s stuck in the annoying “can’t connect/use source loop: Hold down the power button until you see the VW sign come back

  9. Deb says:

    Same problem Polo 2016. Glad to hear how to reboot console. Thanks

  10. Dave Harrison says:

    2016 Jetta, iPhone 6 plus, same issues. You would think that by now there would be a definitive solution either from Apple or VW

  11. Trina says:

    I have a 2017 Jetta. Carplay worked well for a month. The other day was working then stopped. Got the connection failed error then the trying to connect but nothing happens. Tried a different USB cord, still doesn’t work lastly tried another iphone got the message it was Adding it, then failed. Removed carplay from my phone, tried to reconnect didn’t work. Have an appt with dealership, however they didn’t sound like they had run into this before. Someone mentioned holding the power button on the stereo down, which did nothing. Any suggestions are welcome.

    • Ziad Ewais says:

      Usually holding down the power button for 10 seconds will reset the console and enable the connection again. It might not work the first time, so please repeat. I found a subtle but effective solution that worked for me every time. When you establish the CarPlay connection it seems to register that connection on the system, but if you turn off the car or remove the iPhone and system resets again, which mostly happen, this connection registry blocks a new registry to be created, thus canceling you new connection.
      The solution is to cancel the connection before you remove the iPhone by pressing on the VW app on CarPlay and press on disconnect. When you try to make a new connection it will ask of you want yo connect your iPhone. Press Yes, Ok, or Connect (can’t remember, sorry). It will make CarPlay work every time.

    • mouimtaz says:

      Enable SIRI will make CarPlay work

  12. mouimtaz says:

    Enable SIRI will make CarPlay work

  13. Lasse Nordengren says:

    Hi everyone!
    I hava a MK7 Golf R Variant and Iphone 7 IOS 11.0.3. My dislplay is only showing Reading USB for a couple of seconds then….NOTHING.
    For months my CarPlay worked but after upgrading to IOS 11 this started to happen. Ideas?

  14. Tim Martin says:

    Same thing, iOS 11.0.3 2017 Alltrack. Working ok for months now I get the reading usb message then nothing.

  15. Christian says:

    Same issues as the others here, but the answer was my Companys email security app Mobile iron.
    I alterd a few settings there, and i also deleted Betternet that also is an VPN controling app.
    So look into your apps.

  16. Tatiana Weinstein says:

    I have the same problems. I bought VW beetle DUNE 2017 in November 2017. The dilership is desperately trying to fix the problem.

  17. Leon says:

    Does anyone get a blank screen after carplay boots? I get this intermittently but it was not an issue initially (I think some of the iOS updates may have introduced it?). I find I have to unplug my phone and plug it back in. That typically fixes it.

  18. Sigurjón says:

    I have a connection problem that my dealer cant figure out whats happening.
    All Iphones can connect to my Passat gte carplay but mine Iphone 8+ i get the message unable to connect and something about incompatible device
    We have tried everything any solutions?

  19. Matt says:

    In case it helps anyone else, I found that disabling bluetooth solved the problem for me. Before I figured this out, I used bluetooth sometimes and tried to use Carplay other times, but now I just disabled bluetooth by forgetting my car in my phone, and I use Carplay all the time instead. No more connection issues.

  20. Ilyse says:

    I have a 2017 Passat since July of this year and an iPhone 6. The car play app worked great until last week. Then Apple updated to iOS 11.2.1. My car will not recognize my car play app. I took it in and dealer updated the car software, the car found an iPhone 3 and a 5. My car won’t or can’t find my phone. My phone can’t find the car to synchronize. So VW dealer is little help, I’m left to deal with Apple? I’ve seen a lot of posts on Apple support blogs complaining so let’s hope next update will fix this issue. I’m not buying a new phone just YET! Anyone have same problem and have fixed their phone? Thanks!

  21. Ilyse says:

    P.S. for about a week before my car play demise, when I plugged my phone in, I was getting a message that the source (the phone) was not seen. But sometime it worked.. so sporadic demise, the 11.2.1 update was the death knell. The Bluetooth function still works great.

    • diana says:

      Same issues with recent iOS update. Can use bluetooth but not CarPlay. ALSO, I can’t connect my phone at all as USB starts the ‘searching process’ for the phone and loops round and round…. draining the iPhone’s battery! In other words, aside from the inability to use CarPlay I have no way of charging my iPhone while I drive.

  22. Stephen Budge says:

    My RLine having same CarPlay locked out does not matter what cable, I have to do reboot. There clearly an issue with the software.

  23. Fred says:

    I have a V6 Highline Amarok MY17.5
    Using iPhone 6s+
    Also had Norton WiFi Privacy installed


    S1. Apple Car Play does not always start at time phone is connected to lightning connector. (USB end of cable left plugged in to socket all the time). Ie: Sometimes will connect and sometimes doesn’t.

    S2. 1-2 minutes into song played from car play a loud buzzing noise is played.

    Resolutions Attempted

    R1. Pause & Restart Music – no change

    R2. Change to genuine Apple cable – no change

    R3. Remove Carplaysettings on phone and reinstall Apple Play on connection – no change

    R4. Turn off NortonWiFi Privacy when in car connected using Apple Play via lightning cable – problem appears to resolved and loud buzzing has not returned so far 😊


    Problem appears related to nonApple VPN products running on iPhone or Apps installed on your phone that mayutilise with / without your knowledge a VPN.

  24. Meg says:

    Same issue here, with a 2017 Jetta and a 2 year old iPhone 6. Same issues as the others – It sometimes searches for Carplay then says cannot connect. Then it connects either by USB or BlueTooth. I have heard the loud buzzy sound too, and last week the system reset itself. Issues seemed to get worse after upgrade to ios 11. Is there no VW system upgrade that keeps up with ios upgrades?

    I’m about to trade the iphone 6 for an 8 and hope it will fix these issues.

  25. Tal Anish says:

    Same problem. New 2018 Seat Leon.
    Tried different cables and seems to connect well more frequently with a genuine cable, but don’t have the cable curled / folded up as this seems to cause more connection issues.
    So no real fix from all these posts above… what an annoying shame !

  26. R Driver says:

    2016 Golf R, same symptoms (occasionally CarPlay can’t connect). As mentioned above, the solution that worked for me was resetting the car’s radio by pushing in the car radio power button for around 10 seconds. The car radio will reboot and problem gone.

  27. Pamela says:

    My 2017 VW Passat – car play not working. My iPhone 7+ cannot find my car and car does show car play. It worked great first 10- months I had car than stopped working. My daughters iPhone 7 car play works in my car but mine does not. I have tried every suggestion nothing works. So frustrating. I see Honda’s are having same issue.

  28. Lilly says:

    I’ve had this problem with my 2016 Beetle since I got it. Sometimes if I leave my phone plugged in for a few minutes while it does the connection loop thing it will eventually restart by itself. Sometimes I hold the power button down on the stereo so that it will reboot- that fixes it sometimes too. Usually I end up resorting to Bluetooth or having to use my phone for the GPS though and it’s really frustrating so if anyone has a solution that is really working let me know!!

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