Apple CarPlay allows drivers to use some of the great features of their iPhones directly from the vehicle’s infotainment screen.
Yet every so often, a spanner seems to fall into this wondrous application, crippling its purpose.
Today, we’ll look at ways to resolve a “greyed out” Apple CarPlay.
Sometimes, sections—or the entire screen—of Apple CarPlay are greyed out because the app is not enabled on your phone or is not enabled while your phone is locked. Other times it’s the lightning cable that’s bad—or it’s been plugged into the wrong USB port.
The above cites the most common issues with Apple CarPlay greyed out; however, there are a few others we’re going to cover.
Some makes and models of vehicles have specific issues with CarPlay—or, should I say, specific steps you need to take.
Let’s do some troubleshooting.
Why Is Apple CarPlay So Grey?
It’s not because the app is in a sad mood or that you’ve been listening to too much 90s grunge rock!
The good news is that the real problem after you have enabled both CarPlay and Siri on your iPhone is normally quite simple to fix.
1. Be Sure to Use an MFI Approved USB Lightning Cable
Here is a problem Apple users have encountered before. The iPhone can be pretty choosy about which cable you use to charge it or transfer data with.
If you’re using an aftermarket lightning cable—make sure it’s MFI-approved.
Most high-quality cables will be MFI-approved, but see my article on the best CarPlay lightning cable for top choices.
Apple is a groovy company with tons of fans, but it doesn’t always play nice with other kids in the street. Keep an MFI lightning cable handy at all times.
Also, make sure the cable is plugged into the correct USB port; most cars have a port set aside for data transfer (see Mazda below).
2. Enable CarPlay While Locked
“My wife’s iPhone works just fine with CarPlay, but mine doesn’t!”
Don’t file for divorce just yet. Instead, check your phone to make sure CarPlay is enabled while locked.
- Tap “Settings” on your phone.
- Tap “General.”
- Tap “CarPlay.”
- Find your car on the list of connected vehicles.
- Swipe “Allow CarPlay While Locked” to the right.
Now, try CarPlay again. And about step 4: Are there a lot of cars on the list you’re not using for the app? Delete them. This could also resolve your grey-out issue.
See my article on allowing carplay while locked for more information on this.
Vehicles That Have Issues With Apple CarPlay being Greyed Out
Some vehicle models have specific issues with Apple CarPlay.
Let’s start with the Apple CarPlay greyed-out Mazda.
Some Mazdas, such as the CX-5, have USB ports specifically for charging. These ports will not work for Apple CarPlay. You need to use the data USB port instead.
The vehicle’s manual will tell you where this port is located (on the CX-5, it’s the one closest to the gear shift).
If you’re still having trouble using CarPlay for your Mazda, and you’ve tried the above steps as well, go into your phone’s Settings > General > CarPlay > choose “forget this car” and set up CarPlay for the Mazda again.
To avoid Apple CarPlay greying out in a Subaru, your model’s year should be no earlier than 2017. The Outback did not offer it until 2018, while some other models waited until 2019.
Occasionally, a software glitch can cause issues with Subaru Apple CarPlay.
In this instance, you will need to reset the vehicle’s infotainment system to its factory settings (again, do this only after you’ve tried the above steps with no luck).
Subarus also use a specific USB port for data transfer—use that one for CarPlay.
Moving on to the Apple CarPlay greyed-out Hyundai, things can get a wee bit sticky here if your iPhone is not connected properly to the infotainment screen.
Here’s how to check:
- Go to “Device Connections” on the infotainment screen.
- If your iPhone is listed here, now is the time to delete it.
- Go back and choose “Phone Projection” and reconnect the iPhone.
And that should do it. Or if it doesn’t, try toggling Bluetooth and WiFi off and on.
And if that doesn’t work, reboot your phone.
As with any software, Apple CarPlay can get a bit fussy from time to time.
In eighty to ninety per cent of the cases, the problem can be fixed right on the spot.
Ensure the lightning cable is plugged into a data USB port, that the cable itself isn’t old or damaged, and that you are using the latest firmware for CarPlay.
Like with audio issues, black screens, and freezing carplay screens, many issues are with the Cable or some part of the software, so these are the best places to start.