Kia Cars and CarPlay USB Issue

This year we changed cars to Kia. One of the expectations in any new car for us is CarPlay, Apple's in-car entertainment system. CarPlay is where the Apple OS is projected up onto the entertainment screen, and you can use Siri, play Apple Music, Podcasts, navigate with Apple Maps and generally live in the Apple world for your communications and sound.

Our experience at the beginning of 2023 started well, with CarPlay working as advertised in an EV6 and a Niro over a USB cable (note Kia do not support wireless CarPlay). But after a few months, CarPlay would disconnect randomly, and its connection time would vary between a few seconds or up to 20 minutes. Initially we looked at software- we updated the internal car entertainment system software to the latest version from the Kia website, and we already had updated the iPhone to the latest iOS 16.

The dealership took the car in and also looked at internal software updates, but due to the intermittent nature of the dropouts, they would sometimes hand it back thinking it was dealt with, only for the same issue to return within a day or two.

Finally, after a few months of exploring all options and persistence from us, Kia agreed to replace the USB port and cable, which leads to the back of the entertainment system. You can see this cable in this YouTube video. I had raised my doubts about the cable from the start, but Kia refused to explore this until all software options had been exhausted. In hindsight this was a bit of a waste of time.

Now just to emphasise here- the steps in this YouTube video did not fix the issue for us. We did follow them and it did help for a week or so, but the same issue came back, indicating that there was a fault in the cable, and moving it around a bit may have reconnected the parts, but it did not solve the underlying the problem. We would suggest you don't follow these steps as there's a danger of damaging the clips when removing the panel. But watching it shows the cable behind, which is a combination cable for data communication to the entertainment system on the dash, and provides power to charge your iPhone over USB.

The solution for us was a full replacement of this cable and port. This was finally done after about 4 months of pursuing this with the deanship and Kia Ireland. We learnt that this has now been done with a number of Kia models. Both of our 2023 Kia cars needed this replacement to get CarPlay to work, and this is an issue across the Kia range; not isolated to a specific car. We had the cable replaced on our EV6 and Niro EV, and we have heard of Sportage owners needing the same solution.

Kia are aware of this issue, and if you do have this persistent problem, push for a cable replacement and not weeks of fussing around with software updates and resets. Yes it is important today to be on the latest iOS 17, and the car to be up to the latest Kia infotainment software (details here), but for us the only solution was replacing the faulty cable.

Since the fix at the start of August 2023, we haven't had a single dropout.

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