iPhone 15 owners report connection issues with Apple CarPlay — what we know so far

Apple CarPlay
(Image credit: Apple)

It looks like Apple's driving-friendly app isn't playing too nicely with the new iPhone 15 series. Several users on Reddit, MacRumors, and other online forums are reporting connectivity problems with Apple CarPlay when trying to hook up their new devices, an issue that's likely tied to the transition to USB-C.

Starting with the iPhone 15, Apple has finally ditched its proprietary Lightning cable to fall in line with a European Union mandate that all phone makers adopt the USB-C port before the end of 2024. But that transition appears to be having unforeseen issues when connecting to Apple's other products. 

Some users say they're unable to get CarPlay to work with their iPhone 15 or the high-end iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. For many, the functionality problems boil down to a compatibility issue with certain USB-A to USB-C cables. Most cars use a USB-A port to connect your phone to the car's computer to enable useful features and apps that can aid in your drive like Apple CarPlay or Google's Android Auto. Users report that some USB-A to USB-C cables will charge their phone, but the car doesn't recognize that an iPhone is connected, thus rendering CarPlay unusable.  

Stranger still, it seems certain brands of cables work in some vehicles but not in others. Some users report they've been able to get around this issue by using cables from Belkin, Sony and even Nintendo, while others had no such luck. Even using Apple's official adapters and cables seems to be hit-and-miss depending on what kind of car you have. 

Per MacRumors, the issue has been reported to Apple, and it's currently working on a solution. Just given the wide range of reports, multiple issues could be at play, which could require a software update to fix CarPlay's connectivity woes. In the meantime, your best bet is to try to use a high-quality USB cable that supports both charging and data transfer. If that doesn't work, try testing out different cables from different brands. And if that still doesn't work, well, you may just be out of luck with CarPlay for a while.

A rocky start for the iPhone 15

CarPlay connectivity issues aren't the only problems plaguing the iPhone 15's rollout. Some owners are reporting their new devices overheat after performing simple tasks like browsing through social media feeds or watching videos for a short period of time. 

Thermal images showing the phone’s hotspots suggest several different culprits — like the line's new A17 Pro chip or titanium alloy frame. Apple issued a statement explaining it's not a hardware issue but rather tied to several software-related conditions, including recent updates on certain third-party apps and a bug with iOS 17 that will be addressed in a future update.

iPhone 15 owners have also reported their fingerprints can make the iPhone 15 Pro's swanky new titanium frame change color. Something that Apple says is a temporary issue caused by a reaction to the oils in your skin; you can restore the original color by wiping your phone down with a damp, lint-free cloth. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.

  • ralphrides
    The issue is due to the smart chip in the cable. If it works sometimes and not other times its the sequence of plugging in the iPhone. Disconnect the cable from the car. close doors, start engine wait for the infotainment system to finish booting. Plug the USB-C into the dash port, wait a bit like 30 sec. then plug the other end into the iPhone. The infotainment system should do a jiggle or vibration acknowledging the iPhone is connected and show the active carplay green icon on the infotainment system home screen. If noting appears and the iPhone is not showing a charging green icon unplug the cable and reverse it and try again. It could be a only one end current/connection chip cable so in this case which end is plugged into the infotainment could be the issue.