I was naturally annoyed when my car’s Apple CarPlay app suddenly decided to stop cooperating with my iPhone and Apple Music. After all, seamless integration is one of the main advantages of running all-Apple everything. Then I found out that it wasn’t even a my-phone problem, a whole lot of people were affected.
Modern car infotainment is hit or miss, with a lot of misses out there on the market right now. Despite the plethora of underemployed programmers and UX designers in the world, it seems like only Hyundai and a few select others can throw together an infotainment interface that is worth a damn. Luckily, if you’re team iPhone, Apple CarPlay provides a standardized, very good experience across any head unit that can run the program. It’s a slick interface that works natively with Apple brand apps, with the same quality and responsiveness you’d find your iPhone. It was the whole reason I cut up my Fiat’s dashboard (a decision I do not regret). Imagine my frustration when it decided to stop working, and apparently not just for me.
While en route to a late-night gym session I plugged my phone in, tapped the music tab… and the app crashed. I thought it was a fluke, so I tried resetting both my phone and the head unit. No dice. I knew if I called tech support or made a post on the official Apple Support website they’d just tell me to restore and reinstall all the firmware on my phone. I did that too; it took more than three hours to wipe, and re-add more than 20,000 pictures and 10,000 songs. It had to work, right?
The next morning, I found several articles and Reddit threads (both here and here) of people with the same issue – Apple Music would instantly quit or crash the head unit even if one tried to open it via the head unit. It wasn’t just a Kenwood thing, or an aftermarket head unit problem—it was affecting cars and head units of all brands, including OEM factory ones.
Redditors theorize that it’s most likely a software or server issue on Apple’s part; all of the other applications work, even other competing music apps like Spotify or Soundcloud. Yet, Apple Music, the flagship music product for the iPhone, crashes CarPlay – also an Apple-branded product.
Apple hasn’t commented on the widespread glitches reported, so all we can do it hope that it’ll eventually get fixed. For me, it seems like my CarPlay has decided to function normally, at for the time being.
Everything can’t be perfect all the time, and even with a few bugs, CarPlay is generally better than most any other OEM can come up with for infotainment. Still, I can’t help but wonder if in the not-so-distant future CarPlay support will fall by the wayside, leaving us Luddites with a buggy hot mess as the rest of the world transitions to something else, whatever that may be.