Apple CarPlay can be a useful feature for connecting your smartphone to your car’s infotainment system, but there may be times when you need to turn it off. We’ve created this guide to help you understand the Apple CarPlay feature and how to turn it off when you don’t want it.
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What Is CarPlay?
Apple CarPlay is a built-in feature of many newer vehicles. It’s a convenient software that allows you to sync your iPhone with your car’s infotainment system, working with features such as its touch-screen display, button panel, voice command, and audio system. Connecting your car’s infotainment system with the Apple CarPlay software allows you to use certain iPhone applications through your car’s integrated interface, like its touch-screen display. CarPlay syncs automatically when you plug your phone into your car or it connects using wireless technology.
Types of CarPlay Features
CarPlay offers several useful features that make it simple to use phone applications while driving. These applications include virtual car keys, navigation software, voice commands, messaging options, and entertainment features.
Virtual Car Keys
The virtual car keys feature allows you to unlock and start your car with your phone. You can start your car remotely and share your keys with friends and family. Virtual car keys also allow you to set restrictions on who can access your car and when they can have access, which can be a helpful feature for setting the access permissions for new drivers.
For example, if you have a teen driver at home, you can set the virtual car keys to the teen’s profile and restrict them to only have access during certain times of the day. Additionally, the virtual car keys application can work for up to five hours even after your phone battery dies.
The Apple CarPlay software can sync your preferred navigation application from your phone to your car. While many cars have integrated GPS systems, your phone may have other options that you might prefer. By connecting your device to your car, you can display your preferred navigational tool on the car’s interface. The application can play voice directions through your car’s audio system, making them clear, loud, and easy to follow.
CarPlay syncs your phone’s voice command system to your car. Voice commands let you navigate phone applications and request information hands-free. You can ask for directions, request music, make calls, and send messages verbally. This allows you to keep your focus on the road, improving safety while ensuring you have the access you need to your phone features.
Hands-free messaging is another valuable feature provided by CarPlay. It lets you send and receive electronic messages like emails and texts using voice commands and the car’s audio system. You can listen to messages and dictate responses to send to your contacts. This is a convenient way to contact others and handle work-related correspondences while on the road.
CarPlay also gives you access to entertainment applications during your commute. You can play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio programs using your favorite phone applications. By using your phone’s applications, you have access to more options than through your car’s standard software.
How To Choose When To Use CarPlay
There are times when using CarPlay may be beneficial and times when you may prefer it off. You might choose to use CarPlay when:
- Increasing Convenience: CarPlay offers many convenient features that provide access to phone applications while on the road. If you need uninterrupted access to your messaging systems or prefer your phone’s applications to those installed in the car’s system, CarPlay may be a convenient choice for you.
- Expanding Software Options: Using CarPlay can give you access to more options than your car’s existing settings. For example, your car’s internal navigation system might not offer as many options as your favorite GPS system installed on your phone.
- Controlling Access: CarPlay has options that allow you to restrict who has access to your car and its functions. The virtual car key feature lets you decide who can access and operate your vehicle and gives you control over when they can use it, which is a useful function for someone who shares their car often.
You might choose not to use CarPlay when:
- Using Your Car’s Integrated Features: Some drivers prefer to use their car’s internal features over their phone features. Disabling CarPlay ensures your car uses its default features rather than prioritizing your phone’s settings.
- Driving a Rental Car: Although CarPlay maintains your privacy and security, turning it off before renting a car can reduce the risk of the car accessing your personal data.
- Limiting Distractions: Since CarPlay increases your available options, disabling it can reduce the number of distractions it provides.
How To Turn off CarPlay
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
There are two methods for disabling CarPlay—through your Settings, which lets you disconnect from a single vehicle, or through your iPhone restrictions menu, to prevent connecting to any vehicle.
Turning off CarPlay Through Settings
1. Open your Settings app.
2. Scroll to the third section of options and select “General.”
3. In the “General” settings menu, select “CarPlay.”
4. The “CarPlay” menu shows the vehicles synced to your phone. To disconnect from a vehicle, tap on the option you’d like to forget. Selecting a vehicle takes you to the vehicle menu.
5. In the vehicle menu, tap “Forget This Car”.
6. Confirm that you want to forget the vehicle by tapping “Forget” on the pop-up menu. This option allows you to forget a single car while allowing your iPhone to connect to other cars.
Turning off CarPlay Through Restrictions
1. Open your Settings app.
2. Scroll to the second section of the application and select “Screen Time.”
3. In the Screen Time menu, scroll and tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
4. Select “Allowed Apps.” If your menu doesn’t allow you to click this option, toggle the button to the right of the “Content & Privacy Restrictions” title to enable the menu. The button should be green when you enable the menu.
5. In the “Allowed Apps” menu, scroll to the CarPlay option. Tap the toggle button to disable it. The button should be gray when you disable the app. Once disabled, the app won’t activate in any car. You can tap the button again to turn the feature back on.
Hearst Autos Research, produced independently of the Car and Driver editorial staff, provides articles about cars and the automotive industry to help readers make informed purchasing choices.