Upgrade Your 2016 Subaru with Apple CarPlay: A Step-by-Step Guide

In today’s connected world, cars play an important role in keeping us constantly connected with the digital world. Subaru teamed up with Apple to create a new in-car infotainment system, known as Apple CarPlay. CarPlay lets you access your iPhone apps on a car’s touch screen display, allowing you to interact with your phone while still keeping your attention on the road.

If you own a 2016 Subaru car and are looking to add Apple CarPlay to it, you have come to the right place. This article will guide you through the entire process of adding CarPlay to your Subaru step-by-step, so let’s get started.

Introduction to Apple CarPlay and Its Benefits

Apple CarPlay is a software that enables iPhone users to access their favorite smartphone apps on the car’s touch screen display. CarPlay replaces the traditional factory fitted infotainment system, providing more functionality and better user experience. Some of the benefits of CarPlay include:

  • More comprehensive access to maps and messaging apps, like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Google Maps
  • The ability to use voice commands with Siri for hands-free control
  • A safer driving experience with minimized distractions and simpler hands-free calling

Compatibility of Subaru Cars with Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay is compatible with most 2016 and newer Subaru cars that come with a factory-installed Starlink infotainment system. However, some models and trims may not have it installed out of the gate.

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To verify whether your Subaru car is compatible with CarPlay, it’s important to check your car’s documentation or contact Subaru customer service.

Hardware and Software Requirements for Adding Apple CarPlay to a 2016 Subaru Car

To add Apple CarPlay to your 2016 Subaru car, you will need the following hardware and software:

  • A compatible iPhone with lightning cable
  • A wired Apple CarPlay receiver
  • A Starlink firmware update

The wired Apple CarPlay receiver should be purchased from your local Subaru dealership, or online through authorized retailers. Before purchasing, it is important to verify compatibility with your Subaru car model.

Detailed Step-by-Step Instructions for Adding Apple CarPlay to a 2016 Subaru Car

Now, let’s get into the step-by-step guide on how to add Apple CarPlay to your 2016 Subaru car:

  1. Update your car’s Starlink firmware to the latest version. To complete this, you will need a computer with an internet connection and a USB drive.

    a. Go to the Subaru Owner’s portal and create an account.

    b. Log into the Owner’s portal and click on ‘manuals and warranties’.

    c. Select your car’s model and download the latest firmware update and instructions.

    d. Copy the unzipped firmware file on to a USB drive.

    e. Insert the USB drive into the car’s USB port, located in the center armrest or dashboard.

    f. Follow the on-screen instructions to update your car’s firmware.

  2. Once the firmware is updated, locate and remove the old infotainment system in your car’s dashboard and connect the Apple CarPlay receiver.

    a. Disconnect the battery before you begin.

    b. Use a plastic trim tool to carefully remove the infotainment system located in the dashboard trim. You might need to unscrew a few screws to fully remove the system.

    c. Carefully disconnect wires and remove the infotainment system.

    d. Insert the Apple CarPlay receiver into the same location

    e. Connect the wires and put everything back together.

  3. Finally, connect your iPhone to the Apple CarPlay receiver using a lightning cable and start enjoying the benefits of Apple CarPlay.

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Congratulations, you have successfully installed Apple CarPlay in your 2016 Subaru car!

Troubleshooting Common Issues and Tips for a Seamless Experience with Apple CarPlay

Even though installation is straightforward, some issues can arise. Here are some common issues and tips to ensure a seamless experience with Apple CarPlay:

  • Don’t force the infotainment system out of the dashboard – it may break key components or wiring.
  • Make sure the Apple CarPlay receiver is compatible with your Subaru car model before purchasing.
  • If your phone doesn’t connect to the receiver, restart your phone, activate Siri, and then try again.
  • If the touch screen does not respond, make sure your iPhone’s screen lock is disabled.
  • If the navigation app does not show up on the screen, open your iPhone’s Map app and make sure it has permission to access your location.


In conclusion, upgrading your 2016 Subaru car with Apple CarPlay is a great way to stay connected and entertained while driving. In just a few steps, you can replace your old infotainment with the latest Apple CarPlay system. By following the step-by-step guide above, you can ensure a smooth installation process. Remember, if you encounter any issues along the way, feel free to refer back to our troubleshooting tips. Happy driving!


Q: Can I install Apple CarPlay on an older Subaru model?
A: Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay is not currently available on older Subaru models.

Q: Does my Subaru car have to be equipped with navigation to use CarPlay?
A: No, CarPlay uses your iPhone’s built-in navigation systems like Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze.

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Q: Can I use CarPlay wirelessly?
A: Fortunately, recent Subaru models have added functionality for wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity. Unfortunately, in this particular instance, CarPlay requires a wired connection.

Q: What to do if my car is not compatible with CarPlay?
A: If your car is not compatible with CarPlay, there are aftermarket options that you can purchase to upgrade your infotainment system. Make sure to do your research and purchase from reputable retailers only.

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Billy Covington

With a passion for all things automotive, Billy is our go-to expert on Subaru performance upgrades and modifications. He's been featured in several car magazines and blogs, and his extensive knowledge and expertise make him a valuable member of our team. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys playing guitar and writing music.

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