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How to stop the Music app from auto-playing in your car

As auto manufacturers and Apple have progressed forward in their relationship to make your car as smart as possible, occasionally not-smart things happen. Like your vehicle blasting music (or the latest audiobook chapter) into your ears when you first get in the car.

While the original impulse may have been a helpful one on the part of the manufacturers — surely, users want to hear their music first thing — it's often ended up a nuisance. Spoiler: If you're listening to a steamy romance book on your AirPods, you don't want that chapter to blast in the car when driving your mother to the mall.

Unfortunately, Apple's provided no easy "Turn off auto-playing music over Bluetooth" switch directly on your iPhone or iPad. But you can still solve this somewhat irksome issue with a couple of other fixes.

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Option 1: Check your car to see if there are any auto-play settings you can disable

Depending on your car's make and model, it may offer its own auto-playing Bluetooth settings, separate from your iPhone (or any other smartphone. Before you go diving to shut off your iPhone, check there.

Photo by Ally Kazmucha

Even if there's no auto-play disable switch in your car, you may be able to find a default volume setting, which can limit the volume of auto-playing music or audiobooks.

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Option 2: Tell your iPhone to cut it out

By default, your iPhone will try to play its last audio source when you connect to your car; for most people, that's your music library (in alphabetical order), but if you've been listening to an audiobook, podcast, or other app, your car may try to start playing from that app, instead.

Depending on the circumstance, there are a few ways to keep your iPhone from automatically playing audio you don't want to hear.

Add a silent track to your music library

You can use the iPhone's propensity to play songs in alphabetical order to trick your car's Bluetooth stereo: Find a silent song like John Cage's 4'33" and rename it so that it shows up as the very first song in your library; next time, when you get into the car, it should auto-play the sweet, sweet sound of silence.

Tell Siri to stop

If you tell Siri "Stop playing" at any point, your iPhone will disable all noise. Conveniently, triggering Siri will also shut off your music.

Force quit the Music (or any other) app

If your unwanted audio is coming from the Music app or any other third-party application, you can double-press the Home button to force quit the respective app and immediately bring an end to the noise.

How to force quit an app

Turn off CarPlay

This tip comes from bed269 in our forums, who notes that even if your Bluetooth stereo system doesn't officially support CarPlay, you can use the Restrictions section of the Settings app to disable the feature — which, in turn, seems to disable auto-play. That said, if you rely on an actual CarPlay system, this may not be the best route to take. If you want to give it a go, however, here's how to do it.

  1. Before you get in the car, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General > Restrictions.
  3. Select Enable Restrictions.
  4. Enter a passcode.

  5. Repeat that passcode.
  6. Toggle the CarPlay switch to Off.

Turn off CarPlay in iOS 12

In iOS 12, your app and content restrictions are now found under the Screen Time section of the Settings app.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy restrictions.

    Open Settings, tap Screen Time, tap Content & Privacy

  4. Enter your Screen Time passcode.
  5. Tap Allowed Apps.
  6. Switch CarPlay off.

    Enter passcode, tap Allowed Apps, switch CarPlay off

Turn off Cellular Data

True, this will only stop streaming audio — but if you primarily stream your content, this will put a quick end to any unwanted chatter.

How to disable Cellular Data on your apps

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Option 3: Send Apple Feedback

Ultimately, none of the above suggestions are iron-proof fixes to this problem: The best way to get your iPhone to stop automatically playing is to ask Apple to put in a Settings switch to make that happen.

File a feedback request with Apple


Let us know below.

Updated June 2018: Added instructions for turning off CarPlay in iOS 12.

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