How I fixed all my CarPlay problems after getting the iPhone 15

The first iPhone 15 caused more confusion than anyone expected, as the transition from Lightning to USB-C was apparently too difficult for many fans.

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Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple

With EU enforcement, the switch to this universal port changed the CarPlay game, as users could no longer use their own Lightning cables to activate the in-car experience.

Many feel lost because choosing the right cable to run CarPlay seems very difficult. CarPlay has become Android Auto 2.0 in many ways, as the WWW has been flooded with bug reports for the past few weeks, all from users who have received a new iPhone and installed the latest OS update.

I recently upgraded to the iPhone 15 Pro and like everyone else, I ended up with CarPlay issues. The head unit did not recognize the smartphone and I had to choose a quality cable to run CarPlay.

Here’s what I did to make sure CarPlay works properly with the iPhone 15.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Photo: Apple

The first thing I did was to install the latest iOS updates. Setting up a new iPhone already requires a device update, but you should double check that your device is running the latest version of the operating system when trying to set up CarPlay. For example, the latest version of iOS includes iPhone 15 overheating tweaks, so if you think the device is getting too hot, make sure you’re up to date.

After updating the device to the latest version of iOS, I started looking for the cable to make sure that the iPhone is correctly recognized by the head unit and that I do not encounter any connection problems.

The iPhone 15 comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, but my car has a USB-A connection for CarPlay. As a result, I needed a USB-A to USB-C cable, so my first idea was to look around the house because I almost certainly have a cable sitting around for no reason.

However, if you think that any cable will do this, you are wrong. CarPlay requires a high-speed cable, and since it’s hard to tell from the cheap, low-quality $1 cables, it’s best to get a new one. The best option is to get a cable that Apple sells at the Apple Store. I’m using the USB-A to USB-C cable that came with my Samsung, as the South Korean company makes high-speed cables that work properly with Android Auto and CarPlay.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Photo: Apple

I’ve seen a lot of people decide to stick with their USB-A cables to Lightning and get an adapter that converts the Lightning input to USB-C. While these work correctly most of the time, they cannot guarantee 100% connection stability and reliability. These adapters can easily cause accidental disconnections because they are loose, resulting in CarPlay shutting down in the middle of a drive.

I encountered similar behavior in previous tests when trying to use the same cable with an Android device and an iPhone 14. My car supports Android Auto and CarPlay, and since I test them a lot, I didn’t want multiple cables lying around. In my car however, using an adapter was a terrible decision, as any potholes or speed bumps caused a disconnection. Picking up the phone while sitting in a parking lot had the same result, as the adapter didn’t make a secure connection and occasionally dropped out.

As a result, you should get a direct cable to connect your iPhone to the infotainment unit and avoid adapters. They seem to offer more convenience, but at the end of the day, they can make the overall CarPlay experience more boring.

Now that the iPhone 15 is updated and I already have a cable to run CarPlay, I need to fix the connection problem. Since the central unit did not recognize the smartphone, I decided to start from scratch.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Photo: Apple

If you upgraded from another iPhone, iOS may have transferred existing CarPlay profiles to iPhone 15. However, you must delete existing connection profiles from both the iPhone and the main unit. If you don’t, the head unit may be trying to connect to our old smartphone and ignore the iPhone 15, making it impossible to launch CarPlay.

I deleted all previous connection settings, so when I started the engine, voila, everything started right. The infotainment unit recognized my iPhone 15, and within seconds, I was already up and running with CarPlay.

If you follow these simple steps, everything should work fine, but the most important ones are choosing the right cable and deleting the existing CarPlay profile. Opting for a USB-C cable might seem easy, but unless you opt for a high-speed cable, CarPlay can easily become a frustrating experience with occasional disconnections.

If all else fails, you should contact Apple. The company will likely perform a hard reset on the device and tell you to reset the infotainment system as well. This is the final solution that should solve any compatibility issues with the new iPhone.

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