BMW CarPlay Not Working: Causes And Fixes

A CarPlay is a smart device that gives you access to your iPhone if you must use it while driving. With a CarPlay device, you can make calls, listen to your favorite songs, send and receive SMS, and get directions for your journey. 

It gives you access to all the features available on your BMW stereo system without manually navigating them while driving.

Won’t it be cool to access your music and messages, make calls, and even get directions from your iPhone while driving? With the BMW CarPlay, you can drive and connect with your favorite phone apps simultaneously by giving voice commands or with simple touches. It works the same way you would use remote control. It’s the best way you can keep safe on the wheels while connecting to the digital world. 

However, all these fantastic features will only be possible if your BMW CarPlay works. In this blog post, we will closely examine what may cause your “BMW CarPlay not working” issues and the several solutions to the problems. 

Cause of BMW CarPlay Not Working

Your BMW CarPlay may not work correctly due to several factors. These include incompatibility problems, problems integrating with other apps, issues with iOS updates, damaged USB cables, connectivity issues, and failure to connect with your iPhone. So, why is my BMW CarPlay not working?

Read on to learn the causes of why your BMW CarPlay may not be working and their fixes.

Incompatibility Problems

Incompatibility problems may cause your BMW CarPlay not working issues. It could be that your iPhone does not support the CarPlay app or is missing a vital cable that would make connection possible. Incompatibility problems are divided into:

Device Incompatibility

You should be aware that limited models of iPhone 5 support the BMW CarPlay app, so if your phone is not one of them, it will not work. You should view the list of the supported iPhones below or from apple’s website.

To fix device incompatibility problems – ensure to own and use a supported iPhone model, preferably an iPhone 5 or a higher model.

App Incompatibility 

BMW CarPlay is only available for use in specific countries as specified by the apple website. Before using it, you should ensure that it is supported for your country’s use.

To fix app incompatibility problems, be sure you use your BMW series in any of the supported countries listed on apple’s website.

Hardware Incompatibility

There are chances that your BMW CarPlay will not work properly if it is not the one fitted in your car from the factory. If it is just any stereo from the market (probably a replacement for a faulty one), then the firmware installed in it probably needs to be updated. In that case, it is not compatible and will not work correctly.

Installing non-compatible navigation devices in your BMW automobile could also lead to incompatibility problems with your apple CarPlay system. 

Again, if your BMW series is earlier than 2016, your car’s infotainment system needs to be updated, and Apple CarPlay doesn’t support it.

How To Fix Hardware Incompatibility Issues

  • Check to see if your CarPlay is suitable for your car’s infotainment system.
  • Read the car manual to be sure of this information.
  • If you don’t find it there, contact the car manufacturer directly to supply this vital information.

If you must buy a stereo on your own, ensure it’s brand compatible with BMW CarPlay. Examples are Sony, Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC, Clarion, and Alpine.  

2016 BMW 3 Series F30 iDrive screen with active Apple CarPlay. BMW Group.

BMW/USB Connection Problems

Another reason your BMW CarPlay will not work is when your phone’s USB fails to connect properly with your car’s stereo system. You may have secured your iPhone to the wrong port since more than one port is available in BMW cars. They each serve specific purposes, so you should not expect your CarPlay to work well if you are connected to a cigarette lighter port, for instance.

BMW/USB connection problems could also arise when you use a broken USB cable or if you buy one that is substandard and not MFI certified.

You should contact apple support to get your BMW/USB connection problems rectified. Before doing that, however, you can try any of the following quick fixes to get the problem out of the way.

  • Be sure that all your USB and iPhone charging ports are intact.
  • You can try taking out and putting back the USB cable 
  • You should buy a new USB cable if the one you have is damaged. Be sure to purchase one that your BMW CarPlay supports.
  • Discard and replace any USB cable that is not of good quality.

Connectivity Problems

One fantastic feature of the BMW CarPlay is that you can secure a wireless connection. But issues can when you need help to successfully connect with it using your IPhone’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. 

Possible reasons for unsuccessful wireless connection include: 

  • Your iPhones Wi-Fi is disconnecting while using CarPlay
  • Interruptions from an incoming call or SMS while using CarPlay, which can reduce your audio quality
  • Disruptions from other connected Bluetooth devices while using CarPlay. 

A quick fix for these BMW CarPlay not working connectivity problems is to restart all apps and phones concerned by trying the following:

  • Remove all paring connections between your phone and any device you suspect to be breaching seamless connections between your phone and car stereo. 
  • With your phone’s Bluetooth on and ensuring you don’t have airplane mode, you should cancel all pairing connections with your car. Then pair afresh. 

Your BMW CarPlay may also need help knowing which device to connect to. Changing your device name will solve this problem. 

Do the following:

  • Locate “Settings” on your phone
  • From General, locate “About.”
  • Tap “Name”
  • Give your device a new name
  • Restart the pairing process 

This quick fix should make connecting to your phone’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth easy.

You should reset the BMW ConnectedDrive if you are still unable to establish a wireless connection using any of the two options listed below:

First option

Activate the “Park” mode in your car

Press the volume button and hold it down for between 20 and 25 seconds. Stop only after the screen turns off

Turn on the screen again by pressing the volume button. You should see the BMW logo flashback on the screen.

The second option is – Full reset (back up your settings and data first, as the reset may erase them)

  • Open “Settings” on the IDrive screen
  • Select “BMW ConnectedDrive” 
  • Select the “reset” button
  • enter your PIN code if prompted
  • Tap “Yes” to confirm the action

Restart the pairing process after this procedure.

iOS Update problems

Your apple CarPlay will not work if it has iOS update problems. Suppose you are getting iOS update errors whenever you try to use your apple CarPlay, such as “the iPhone could not be activated” or “iPhone could not be found.” In that case, you should fix it by updating the iOS to install the latest version updates.

Take the following steps to carry out your device iOS update: 

  • Back up all your previous data and files
  • Charge your phone to full capacity and power it on
  • Turn on your Wi-Fi
  • On your device, Tap “Settings.” 
  • Move to “General”
  • Select the software update menu 
  • Tap “Install Now” to begin the IOS update 

Problems Integrating With Other Apps

It’s common for your BMW CarPlay not to work because it needs help integrating with other apps like a Sound Cloud CarPlay or a CarPlay email app. That often happens when using an outdated or incompatible car stereo system. At other times the CarPlay may be missing a recent update.

To fix this problem:

  • You must ensure that your car stereo system app is suitable for your BMW CarPlay.
  • Ensure that you update your phone’s iOS.
2020 BMW 5 Series G30 iDrive screen with active Apple CarPlay. BMW Group.

FAQ for BMW CarPlayNot Working

If you are wondering why your BMW CarPlay is not working, below are answers to some questions that may be relevant to your specific situation.

What iPhone Models Are Compatible With BMW Carplay?

For your BMW CarPlay to work correctly, you must access it with an iPhone model that is not older than the iPhone 5. Below is a comprehensive list of all current compatible iPhone models. 

  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5

How can I Reset my BMW CarPlay?

If you want to reset your CarPlay, you must hold down the volume button for about 20-25 seconds. You can also turn off your car ignition and turn it back on to solve the issue in most cases.

What are the CarPlay Activation Steps for BMW?

  • Take the following quick steps to activate BMW CarPlay:
  • On your IDrive screen, navigate to “Communications (COM).”
  • From your iPhone, Tap “Settings.”
  • Turn on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and CarPlay 
  • Locate “New Device”
  • Select “Phone calls and audio.”
  • Return to “Settings”
  • Locate General and select “CarPlay.”
  • Input your BMW PIN from the menu
  • Tap to Confirm that you want to pair your iPhone with the IDrive screen
  • From the IDrive screen, select “connect to Apple CarPlay.”
  • Hold on for set-up to complete

My BMW CarPlay Doesn’t Work At Times: Why?

You may be having that experience because your connection might be faulty. Ensure that your USB cables are in good condition and working correctly. If you are using a wireless connection for your CarPlay, remove all saved devices and reconnect afresh. 

Why Is The BMW CarPlay Microphone Not Working?

Your microphone may not work due to Bluetooth failure. It could also result from interface issues with your BMW CarPlay. A hard reset will get your mic working in no time. Just follow the steps below:

  • Examine your microphone on your BMW iDrive features 
  • Go to “Settings” and ensure the mic is not automatically muted 
  • In your iPhone settings, enable “Siri& Search.”  

Why Is My BMW CarPlay Map Not Working?

Users of BMW CarPlay commonly experience their map apps not working. Ensuring that your iPhone is running a modern iOS version (not older than iOS 12) is the first thing you should do. You should also take the following steps to fix this problem:

  • Ensure to enable your location services 
  • Check to be sure your time and date settings are correct
  • Ensure there is an active connection on your phone
  • Finally, restart your Maps App

What Do I Do If BMW Carplay Touch Screen Is Not Working?

Your apple CarPlay touchscreen may not work because of a software bug. To fix this problem, do a hard reset on your iPhone using the following steps:

  • Locate “Settings” on your iPhone
  • From “General,” Tap “CarPlay.”
  • Cancel your car from the list of devices present
  • Restart pairing between Drive and iPhone 

Must I connect my iPhone with a USB cable to access CarPlay?

You mustn’t access BMW CarPlay with a USB cable. The wireless connection option is high-speed and convenient, so it all depends on your preference. However, you must have a Wi-Fi antenna in your BMW car before using the wireless option. 

Can I Update my BMW iDrive Software?

You can update your BMW IDrive software. However, different cases determine the updating process that you will require. While reputable BMW car dealers can do some updates, others need third-party services to replace an updated version not accessible by BMW.


BMW CarPlay gives you access to your iPhone while on the wheels. It’s a convenient and safe way to enjoy using your phone apps without losing concentration on the highway. 

With your BMW CarPlay, you will no longer miss receiving or making important calls just because you are driving, and you can enjoy soothing music that calms your nerves from the day’s stress. 

If ever you’re experiencing BMW CarPlay not working problems, you can try the relevant quick fixes mentioned above to get your CarPlay working well again.

Oliver James

I'm Oliver James. I specialize in writing automotive blog articles.

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  • I’ve tried everything, all of these steps and my carplay touch screen is still not working. Carplay works, but the apps won’t appear on the touch screen. I tried calling Apple support and they thnk it’s a BMW issue. Not why it just stopped working.

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