Apple CarPlay’s black screen is probably going to happen to you at some point.
So if you’re currently at your wit’s end with your Apple CarPlay, it may be comforting to know you’re not alone.
The problem is common and has been reported by many car owners across several forums.
Apple CarPlay’s black screen can usually be fixed with minimal fuss, though.
The best way to fix an Apple CarPlay black screen is to do a soft reset. You can also unplug the cord and reconnect it or restart your iPhone / vehicle if it doesn’t help. If the issue is persistent, talk to an electrical mechanic.
Causes of Apple CarPlay Black Screens
Many have pointed accusing fingers at wear and tear as the primary cause for the Apple CarPlay black screen. True as it may be, the CarPlay black screen problem doesn’t discriminate.
It’s a snag on both new and old cars. Incredibly, many car owners have reported having this problem with their two-week-old brand-new vehicles. This leaves a software glitch or bug as one of the major culprits.
Software updates on many tech devices notoriously come with bugs, and Apple devices are no different. Consequently, many car owners have reported Apple CarPlay not working after an update, with the 2023/24 update of iOS 16.
Like this Reddit user:
“After upgrading to iOS 16 CarPlay in my car has dropped easily and often when it didn’t used to. I tried switching to a new cord which seems to fit a little more snuggly and helps some, but it doesn’t work like it used to. “
This can be infuriating, and you may want to downgrade your IOS to fix this, but this won’t be possible. Instead, you’ll have to wait for a patch from Apple to resolve this.
However, in the meantime, there are solutions that could resolve this issue, such as:
- Soft Reset
- Re-pairing the Device (Wireless CarPlay)
- Unplug the Phone (Wired CarPlay)
- Clean Charging Port (Wired CarPlay)
- Check the Wire (Wired CarPlay)
CarPlay Black Screen Solutions
View some of the solutions below:
1. Soft Reset
To do a soft reset, press the power button on the stereo for about 20 seconds until the Apple logo disappears.
This can vary from system to system, so you should consult your stereo’s manual if the above option doesn’t work.
You can see this example for a MG head unit:
*In some cars also, exiting the vehicle closing the door, and locking it will restart the stereo
2. Re-pair your Device
Along with the soft reset solution, removing your vehicle from the ISO and re-pairing has been cited as a solution to the CarPlay black screen issue.
This is only for Wireless CarPlay, though.
To do this:
- Open the settings app on your iPhone
- Click on Wi-Fi
- Select and click on your car or the name of the stereo unit
- Click “Forget This Network” and then confirm by clicking “Forget”
You will then be able to reconnect like normal, with the issue hopefully resolved.
The image above is of a WiFi network, but it is the same process for your vehicle.
3. Reboot the Head Unit
A significant problem with resetting a gadget is the subsequent data loss.
Comparatively, rebooting the head unit can yield similar results but comes with a perk — you get to keep your data.
The process should be similar in other cars and models. Again, consult your car manual for specific instructions.
Generally speaking, though, you should be able to do this via the settings menu on the stereo. If the screen is black because of CarPlay, disconnect and navigate to the reboot settings.
Honda Accord Example: To reboot the head unit in a tenth-generation Honda Accord, shift the car into reverse, then move the ignition to the ‘ON’ position. The head unit will take a bit longer to boot up—because this is an actual reboot.
4. Unplug the Phone
It might sound simple, but just unplugging the phone and plugging it back in can cause the connection to be made again correctly. And fix the black screen.
This is often the case when Apple CarPlay keeps disconnecting because the connection inside the lightning port isn’t good enough.
5. Clean Charging Port
Similar to the last point, by cleaning the charging port of both the vehicle and the iPhone, you can be sure there is no obstruction in the way of the connection.
Accumulation of dirt and dust on any electronic device will cause issues in the long run. Car owners have reported having some degree of success in getting rid of the CarPlay black screen after cleaning their charging port of dirt and lint.
Be careful how you clean the ports, though, as if you damage the connectors in the process, you could make the issue worse.
Watch the video below, which explains how to remove lint and “fluff” from an iPhone. Plus, it’s super satisfying to watch!
Note: The following process is the same for Apple’s wireless CarPlay version, except you don’t need to clean the charging port or worry about cable issues.
6. Use the Correct Cable
Earlier, we established that the CarPlay black screen problem is primarily a software problem. However, a faulty or incompatible wire can be one of the causes.
Additionally, cheap cables of inferior quality will likely cause these problems.
Tip: Replacing the cable with the official MFI-certified cable is important. See our list of the best Apple CarPlay chargers for more advice.
My personal favorite USB cable for CarPlay is the Belkin BoostCharge Pro Flex because of its quality and versatility. As seen in the image below:
7. Talk to a Mechanic
Owning a car entails that you’ll inevitably need to do some maintenance.
Granted, the much-vaunted DIY approach can save you lots of hassle, but trying to fix something above your skill can leave you with no car at all.
Some CarPlay black screens may have some underlying factors that will require a professional’s expertise.
When you’ve exhausted your options on fixing the black screen hitch, paying a visit to your mechanic can be the best thing to do.
Apple CarPlay Balck Screen: Specific Car Models
The problem is most likely due to a software issue within Apple CarPlay, which is the same across all car models and based on your iPhones IOS. This is why when your CarPlay is updated, it’s done via your iPhone and not through your car.
We’ve established the solutions to the Apple CarPlay black screen. While soft resetting is the most credible solution across all brands and models, any of the above solutions come in handy.
They will surely restore your Apple CarPlay to the lovely, full-functioning gadget you want it to be.
Best of luck!