Don't Update Your iPhone Without First Checking Out This CarPlay Warning

Apple rolled out iOS 16.5 a few days ago with significant improvements, including several critical security patches aimed at vulnerabilities already exploited in the wild.
iOS 16.5 causes new problems in the CarPlay world 9 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
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Needless to say, many users rushed to download and install the update, but now that a substantial part of the iPhone user base received the new version, it looks like it's not all just milk and honey in the Apple world.

iOS 16.5 appears to break down steering wheel media control buttons in some cars, so adjusting the volume, muting the sound, or playing and pausing music no longer works at all. The only way to do all these things is to turn to the media receiver in your car and use the built-in buttons.

The steering wheel controls stopped working when Apple released the very first iOS 16.5 release candidate. As it turns out, several users reported the bug, but somehow, it still escaped unfixed. The glitch continued to be present in iOS when the second release candidate received the go-ahead for testing devices and then also made its way to production builds.

As such, some users who install iOS 16.5 on their devices lose the ability to control music playback from the steering wheel.

From what I can tell right now, based on information I collected from reports online, the issue happens mostly in Toyota cars. Prius and RAV4 seem to be affected, though chances are the same behavior also happens in other Toyota-branded models.

It's not exactly clear if iOS 16.5 is the culprit or if the bug happens because of a compatibility issue with Toyota's infotainment units, but for now, the only workaround is to downgrade to the previous operating system version. Of course, such a solution isn't exactly convenient, especially because iOS 16.5 addresses vulnerabilities exploited in the wild.

Apple hasn’t obviously commented on the glitch, so you'd better not hold your breath for a fix just yet.

If you, too, experience the same issue, you should know that the downgrade to the previous version of iOS is allowed only for a limited time. Apple typically stops signing older operating system versions to keep users on the latest builds, and I expect this to happen with iOS 16.4.1 in the coming days as well.

Apple is already test-driving iOS 16.6 with the very first beta build, but at this point, it's not yet clear if this bug is resolved or not. But given how things happen in the Apple world, a fix is unlikely to land before this new operating system receives the green light for production devices. Based on Apple's schedule, a new update should be released to devices in June.

As such, if steering wheel controls are critical for your driving experience and you want CarPlay on the dashboard, you should think twice before installing the new OS version.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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