Apple CarPlay Keeps Changing Audio Source? (Quick Fixes)

carplay keeps changing audio source

If your vehicle’s CarPlay keeps changing audio source, we’ve found a quick and working fix!

The repeated audio source changes on any CarPlay-enabled stereo typically happen due to an issue with the radio’s frequency or the Bluetooth connection

So, in this guide, we’ll find the most potential solutions to solve the stereo’s persistently changing audio source and find out why it happens in the first place!

Here’s what to do first!

If the CarPlay stereo audio source keeps changing, re-add the CarPlay profile, re-activate the iPhone’s “Bluetooth” and power the stereo on/off.

If the issue persists, factory reset the CarPlay stereo and the iPhone’s network settings.

There is more so keep reading further!

Why Does CarPlay Keep Switching Audio Source?

carplay keep switching audio source

Here’s why the Apple CarPlay stereo keeps altering the selected source:

  • There’s an issue with the CarPlay stereo’s power.
  • A Bluetooth issue is causing your radio to switch.
  • A misconfigured radio or iPhone network settings.
  • Outdated OS of the iPhone or CarPlay stereo unit.
  • Misconfigured settings within your CarPlay profile.

Let’s fix this, shall we?

CarPlay Keeps Changing Audio Source – Quick & Easy Steps!

Before We Start!

  • Verify the iPhone iOS is updated to the latest version.
  • Apply all of the latest versions available for the stereo.
  • Ensure the iPhone’s “Wi-Fi” and “Bluetooth” are active.

1. Exit All Applications on the iPhone

exit all applications on the iphone

As simple as it sounds, closing all the iPhone apps might quickly solve external interference!

The CarPlay’s technology uses a priority-based system that can pick from up to three audio channels – main audio, voice interaction, and the CarPlay’s alerts.

While there are opened apps on the iPhone, the stereo will automatically rule this as a “Priority” and switch the audio source.

How Does the iPhone’s Priority Sound Work?

The iOS can recognize and compare applications based on their system priority!

If you’re playing music through a platform such as YouTube or Spotify, it will be considered as a “Background” process and the audio of any other app such as Instagram or Facebook will take over.

If you’ve set the stereo to play over radio or USB, ensure there are no apps opened on the iPhone, so that your USB processes are the primary source for CarPlay.

Did this work? If not, continue reading!

2. Restart the CarPlay-Enabled Stereo

restart the carplay-enabled stereo

The solution that holds the most potential in eliminating source issues with the CarPlay-enabled stereo is rebooting the radio system.

Well, powering off your radio sounds simple, but this will reset all existing wireless connections and solve issues with the audio source, input, and output.

Although the restart is based on the radio’s model, here’s how to do it universally:

  1. Press the “SRC” or “Settings” button on the car radio.
  2. Locate the “System” settings or an equivalent section.
  3. Head to the “Restart” or “Reboot” option and select it.
Quick Tip: If the car stereo has a power button, chances are that you can restart it by holding it!

One More Thing–Reboot your iPhone!

While powering off the stereo, make sure to also shut down and reboot the iPhone as well.

  • You can initiate a restart by holding the “Power” button on the side or by navigating to “Settings” → “General” → “Shut Down.” 

In addition, ensure the iPhone is charged to at least 20% battery and disable the “Low Power Mode” from the “Battery” tab under the settings.

Tip: You can use a wired USB connection to prioritize the iPhone’s connection to the stereo!

3. Change the iPhone’s Network Name

change the iphone’s network name

The car stereo could be switching throughout the supported CarPlay sources due to an issue with the iPhone’s profile name.

If your iPhone is set as the default output of the stereo and you’re attempting to listen to a radio on a specific frequency, the source may alter repeatedly.

If you haven’t changed the iPhone’s name yet, it will have the default “iPhone” name, used by most of the recent models.

You can assign a different name to the iPhone through the settings.

How to Change iPhone’s Network Name?

how to change iphone’s network name
  1. Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone.
  2. Next, navigate to the “General” section.
  3. Access the “About” tab and tap “Name.”
  4. Assign a custom name for your iPhone.

After registering the iPhone’s new name, save the changes made to your network configuration and exit the menu.

Next, re-discover the iPhone through the CarPlay radio’s “Bluetooth” tab and it will appear with the new name you’ve just added.

Quick Tip: Pick a simple and recognizable new name for your iPhone!

4. Re-Add the CarPlay Stereo’s Profile

If the stereo is still switching to random sources, you should re-add the car’s profile within your iPhone’s “CarPlay” settings.

So, after connecting to a CarPlay once on your iPhone, the radio’s connection will be registered and appear as a connection profile under the CarPlay phone tab.

re-add the carplay stereo’s profile

Here’s how to re-add the CarPlay-enabled stereo’s profile in easy steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone.
  2. Next, navigate to “General” → “CarPlay.”
  3. After that, press and hold the car’s profile.
  4. Press “Remove this Car” to disconnect it.

How to Set Up CarPlay Initially?

After removing the car’s connection, you will be prompted to assign and set up the radio from scratch.

For this purpose, ensure your iPhone’s “Bluetooth” is set to “On” and that the CarPlay stereo is also turned on.

Here’s how to set up a CarPlay stereo in easy steps:

  1. Access the “CarPlay” menu on your iPhone device.
  2. Wait for your car to show up in “AVAILABLE CARS.”
  3. Next, tap on the connection once and wait for pairing.
Note: Ensure your iPhone is within range of the stereo during the setup!

5. Unplug/Unpair Third-Party Devices

unplug/unpair third-party devices

Connecting a third-party device over USB or Bluetooth to the CarPlay stereo may cause the device to switch the audio source to a prioritized connection. 

So, if you’re bringing another registered wireless device in the radio’s Bluetooth range, it may automatically pair and switch your CarPlay audio source.

How to Remove Third-Party Devices From Stereo?

First, ensure there are no external cables connected to the vehicle’s stereo that may be causing alterations in the audio source selection.

Next, check whether any registered wireless devices within the radio’s range may be pairing automatically.

Most CarPlay-enabled stereos have a “Devices” list that displays registered devices connecting over Bluetooth or USB.

If there’s such a menu, make sure to remove all devices except for the iPhone using CarPlay.

Note: Wired connections are always prioritized over wireless Bluetooth connections!

6. Reset the iPhone’s Network Settings

reset the iphone’s network settings

If the CarPlay-enabled stereo is switching off from the iPhone’s source, it may be caused by an unstable Bluetooth connection or misconfigured network settings.

A proven resolution to issues with the iPhone’s wireless configuration is to reset the network settings through the “Reset” tab.

Warning: All wireless cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi settings will be erased after the reset!

Here’s how to perform a network data reset on the iPhone:

  1. First, open the “Settings” app and navigate to “General.”
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap “Transfer or Reset [Device].”
  3. Press on “Reset” and choose “Reset Network Settings.”
  4. Confirm the process and wait until your settings are reset.
Reminder: You’ll need to set up your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and CarPlay!

7. Factory Reset the CarPlay Stereo

If the car radio is still unable to maintain a stable connection and switches to another available source, you should perform a factory reset.

All network and audio settings of the stereo will be restored to factory defaults, which will most probably solve your issues, but this comes at a cost.

If you have any custom settings on the radio they will be gone!

factory reset the carplay stereo

Also, you must re-add the car’s profile in your iPhone’s “CarPlay” menu, since this connection will also be permanently erased.

Note: The factory reset instructions are based on the stereo’s type and manufacturer.

Here’s how to perform a factory reset on a CarPlay stereo easily (universally):

  1. Open the “Settings” or “Options” menu of your stereo.
  2. Navigate to the “System Settings” or the “RESET” tab.
  3. Press on the “Factory Reset” or “System Reset” option.
  4. Follow the instructions to factory reset the CarPlay radio.
Quick Tip: For detailed instructions, check the user manual.

Quick Recap

If CarPlay keeps changing audio source, rename the iPhone’s network name, force-reboot the stereo, and re-add the car’s profile.

If the issue persists, factory reset your CarPlay stereo and restore the iPhone’s network settings to defaults.

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