I was recently talking to a friend with a 2019 Volvo who mentioned they plugged their iPhone into their car for ‘music’ capabilities but they had an issue with Apple CarPlay not working.

“CarPlay isn’t working?” I said. “No, I can only play music.” they replied.

Odd I thought. Volvo support CarPlay. Connecting the phone should prompt and enable CarPlay. We went and sat in the car and oddly I had to do more troubleshooting than I’ve encountered before to get it working. Here are the steps in case anyone else is suffering from the same problem.

Initial CarPlay USB Connection

The Volvo has 2 x USB sockets available, one has a white border around it, which is the one you must use for CarPlay to work. Helpfully, this is only mentioned deep in the manual.

Connecting the phone produced the prompt on the Volvo screen – “Do you want to use CarPlay?” I pressed Yes. Usually now there is a trust prompt on the phone, and then you’re away. Here however, nothing. No CarPlay display, simply the iPod style interface and available playlists and songs.

CarPlay Not Working

The Apple Carplay menu was missing from the Settings

I went and looked up CarPlay in the iPhone – Settings – General menu. It wasn’t there. Missing completely.

carplay missing from ios settings

CarPlay is Restricted

The answer I eventually found, buried away, is within Screen Time there is an Allowed Apps section, where CarPlay was for some reason disabled. This setting is even more hidden away in iOS12 than it was in iOS11.

Go to: Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed apps – and enable CarPlay

I’ve seen people report this has magically happened after an iOS update leaving them without CarPlay access until they worked it out. This is a setting several layers into iOS and not something I found easily in searches for the issue. I eventually tracked it down several answers into an Apple Community support response so I’m posting it here to hopefully make it easier for others!

Check Siri is enabled for CarPlay

Another tip that can cause this issue, although not the case here, is that Siri must be enabled for CarPlay to work. Something else to check if you’re having problems.