App icons display on a vehicle's infotainment screen.

Apple CarPlay personalizes your listening experience. CarPlay connects to your iPhone so you can receive notifications on your vehicle’s screen, use voice commands to control your phone, and set up a navigation system

This informational guide highlights how to turn off CarPlay and set restrictions as needed so you can personalize when you’d like to use the system and automatically connect the device to your phone. This guide also covers the functions of CarPlay, some of the best features available, and when we recommend using the system while driving.

What Is Apple CarPlay?

Apply Carplay is a built-in software feature allowing you to wirelessly connect your iPhone to your car’s system, available in many newer vehicles. Features of this system include a touchscreen display, voice command, and music or audio personalization.

Apple CarPlay, similar to Android Auto, is part of your car’s infotainment system, allowing you to use different iPhone applications through your vehicle’s head unit. CarPlay automatically synced to your iPhone when you plug your phone into your car via a USB cable or when you connect wirelessly with Bluetooth®.

When To Use Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay, when allowed apps are connected to your vehicle, can limit distractions and keep you off your phone. However, using CarPlay is scenario-based, and there might be times when it’s more convenient to use it, and other times you may want to keep it turned off.

Our Recommendations For When To Use CarPlay

Convenience and Access

The CarPlay app and head unit software offer great functionality features that provide access to your phone without having to pull your focus from the road. CarPlay offers access to your messages, different apps, and audio systems.

With CarPlay, you can decide who can operate your vehicle, access different control systems, and set various privacy restrictions. For those who might share a vehicle, the CarPlay settings menu can prove useful for keeping your information private by personalizing your car’s touchscreen system.

Navigation and Enhanced Software

With CarPlay, you have access to more smart features in comparison to your vehicle’s existing settings. CarPlay enhances your car’s navigation system with more accurate information when connected to your vehicle, including a 3D mapping system. Compared to what your car or phone navigation offers, the CarPlay option appears to be safer and easier to use, keeping you from looking back and forth from the road to your phone.

Our Recommendations For When Not To Use CarPlay

Using Your Car’s Default Features

Many drivers would rather opt to use their car’s already-established features in contrast to iPhone or CarPlay systems. By disability CarPlay, you can use your default features and keep your phone disconnected from your vehicle. This is generally based on preference and your car’s compatibility with your smartphone. 


As with any technology, it should be limited or not used at all when behind the wheel. For newer drivers, it’s not a bad idea to disable CarPlay to reduce distractions caused by the enhanced features and settings available with this system. 

While glancing at your car’s screen is less distracting than looking down at your cell phone, it’s worth considering restricting some settings on the wireless CarPlay system to limit distractions.

Best Apple CarPlay Features

An array of Apple CarPlay apps.

CarPlay offers countless features, ranging from navigation to voice command controls. After explaining the common ways to use CarPlay, we can highlight what features are most common and special to CarPlay head units.


A more common feature is the Apple CarPlay navigation system, syncing your phone to your car to display your preferred navigation app on your vehicle’s head unit. With CarPlay, you can have Siri communicate directions through your car audio system, enhancing the sound quality and simplicity of following directions while keeping your eyes on the road. 

Voice Command

Using voice commands, you can utilize hands-free messaging using CarPlay. You can have Siri read messages and dictate responses, making this feature both a convenient and safe way to communicate with family, friends, and coworkers while behind the wheel.

Voice command also lets you set up your GPS navigation and request online information using Siri. You can also request music from your personalized playlists and make phone calls to your contacts. With the ability for all functions to be controlled via voice commands, you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road while accessing smartphone features.

Key Control

Once your vehicle is connected to your iPhone, you can use your smartphone to start your car, unlock and lock your vehicle, and share the virtual car key with your family. You can also use this function to set restrictions on access, including what specific parts of your vehicle they can access, and setting permissions for drivers who share your car.

Audio Applications

CarPlay provides access to entertainment including music, podcasts, books, and radio using your phone applications. Using CarPlay provides access to more audio application options in comparison to your car’s standard software. The personalization of CarPlay makes road trips, long work commutes, or even a trip to the store more enjoyable for any music lover.

How To Turn Off Apple CarPlay

A finger reaches to touch an infotainment screen in a vehicle.

After covering what CarPlay is, when to use it, and some of the most ideal features you’ll find on any CarPlay app, there might come a time when you need to shut off CarPlay, disconnect the app, or set up restrictions. This step-by-step guide will take you through your iPhone settings to better understand how to control and turn off CarPlay.

Go Through Your Settings

  1. First, open your Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. In the third section of options on the Settings app, tap General on your screen.
  3. In the General settings menu, select CarPlay.
  4. The CarPlay menu should show the vehicle(s) currently synced to your phone. To turn off CarPlay, select the vehicle you’d like to forget.
  5. After selecting your vehicle, this will take you to the vehicle menu. In the menu, press Forget This Car.
  6. A pop-up window will show on your screen to confirm you’d like to forget the vehicle. Tap Forget on the pop-up

Taking this option of going through your settings to disable Apple CarPlay allows you to forget only a single car while keeping your smartphone connected to other cars you might own that are compatible with CarPlay.

Set Up Restrictions

If you want to temporarily restrict or turn off CarPlay, but don’t want to forget the app and vehicle from your phone, follow these steps to restrict access to CarPlay.

  1. Open your Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. In the second section of options on the Settings app, tap Screen Time.
  3. In the Screen Time menu, press Content & Privacy Restrictions which can be found towards the bottom of your screen.
  4. Selected Allowed Apps toward the top of your screen. If your phone doesn’t allow you to select this option, you need to toggle the button to the right of the Content & Privacy Restrictions title at the top of your screen to enable the menu. The toggle button should be green to allow access and set restrictions.
  5. In the Allowed Apps menu, you’ll want to scroll down to the CarPlay option. Press the toggle button to disable it, which should turn gray, confirming you have disabled the app.

Once disabled on your phone, the CarPlay app won’t activate in any car that may already have the app set up on your iPhone. To turn CarPlay back on, you can follow these steps and press the toggle button, which will show green, re-enabling CarPlay and connecting your phone to your vehicle.

Apple CarPlay: Bottom Line

Knowing the available Apple CarPlay features can help personalize your driving experience, enhance GPS navigation, and safely keep in touch with family and friends while on the road. While CarPlay offers many benefits, there may come a time when you need to forget your vehicle from your phone or restrict CarPlay usage. This step-by-step guide is a tool to better understand the essential CarPlay features and how to disable CarPlay as needed.

Apple CarPlay: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.