Step-by-Step Guide: How to Set Up Apple CarPlay on Your Subaru in Minutes

Are you a Subaru owner with an iPhone who wants to integrate the latest technology into your car? Look no further than Apple CarPlay. This feature allows you to connect your iPhone to your Subaru’s entertainment system, providing access to your favorite apps, music, and navigation in a safe and convenient way.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of setting up Apple CarPlay on your Subaru. Whether you’re a seasoned tech user or new to the concept, our step-by-step instructions will have you up and running with Apple CarPlay in no time.

What Exactly is Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay is a revolutionary feature that allows you to use your iPhone in your car. Once connected, CarPlay projects your iPhone’s screen onto your car’s entertainment display, giving you a seamless and safe way to access your favorite apps while driving.

With CarPlay, you can easily access apps such as your favorite music streaming platform (e.g., Spotify, Apple Music), messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messages, and navigation apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps. By using Siri voice commands, you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, enhancing driving safety.

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Requirements for Using Apple CarPlay in a Subaru

Before setting up Apple CarPlay on your Subaru, there are a few requirements you will need to meet. First and foremost, your Subaru needs to be compatible with Apple CarPlay. Subaru models from 2018 onwards come equipped with CarPlay as a standard feature.

The next requirement is having an iPhone running on iOS 7.1 or later. For optimal performance, we recommend using an iPhone with a lightning connector, as this connector type ensures fast and stable data transfer between your iPhone and Subaru.

You will also need a USB cable (preferably an Apple-branded one) to connect your iPhone to your Subaru. A USB port is usually located in the center console or the infotainment system. Make sure to check your model’s user manual to locate the USB port.

Step-by-Step Guide: Setting Up Apple CarPlay in Your Subaru

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of setting up Apple CarPlay in your Subaru. Follow these easy steps, and you’ll be ready to hit the road in style:

Step 1: Connect Your iPhone to Your Subaru’s USB Port

Plug your iPhone into your Subaru’s USB port using a lightning cable. The USB port is usually located in the center console or infotainment system, depending on your Subaru model.

Step 2: Enable Apple CarPlay on Your Subaru’s Infotainment System

Once you’ve connected your iPhone to your Subaru, the infotainment system should detect CarPlay and prompt you to enable it. If the prompt does not appear automatically, navigate to the "settings" section on your infotainment screen and choose the "Apple CarPlay" option. Follow the instructions to enable CarPlay.

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Step 3: Set Up Your CarPlay Home Screen

Once enabled, you’ll be taken to the CarPlay home screen. You can customize your screen layout by pressing and holding on an app icon. You can drag the apps you want to see to create a new layout. You can also remove apps from the screen by tapping, holding, and then dragging the app icon up until it disappears.

Step 4: Begin Using CarPlay on Your Subaru

With CarPlay enabled and your custom screen layout set up, you can now start using CarPlay on your Subaru! Simply open the app you want to use from the home screen, or use Siri voice commands to operate CarPlay.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Apple CarPlay in Subaru Cars

Despite being a reliable feature, Apple CarPlay may sometimes experience issues while in use. Here are some common problems and their potential solutions:

1. CarPlay not detected

  • Ensure that your iPhone is connected properly via the USB cable.
  • Try restarting your iPhone and Subaru.

2. Poor audio quality

  • Make sure that the volume on your phone and car stereo system is turned up.
  • If the issue persists, try using a high-quality USB cable.

3. Connectivity issues

  • If CarPlay keeps disconnecting or freezing, ensure that your iPhone and Subaru have the latest software updates installed.
  • If the issue persists, try resetting your phone and Subaru’s infotainment system.


Apple CarPlay is a game-changer for Subaru owners who want to integrate their iPhones into their car’s entertainment system. With simple setup directions and customization options, you can have CarPlay up and running in no time. Whether you’re listening to your favorite Spotify playlist or using Siri to make phone calls, CarPlay ensures safe and convenient driving. So, what are you waiting for? Give CarPlay a try on your Subaru today!

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Q: Is Apple CarPlay available in all Subaru models?
A: No, Apple CarPlay became standard only from 2018 models onwards. If you own a Subaru model before 2018, then CarPlay may not be available.

Q: Can I charge my iPhone while using Apple CarPlay?
A: Yes, you can use CarPlay and charge your phone at the same time by plugging it into the USB port in your Subaru’s center console or infotainment system.

Q: Do I need a cellular data connection to use CarPlay?
A: No, CarPlay doesn’t require a cellular data connection to function. However, some apps, such as maps, may require data to work correctly.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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