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Now Anyone Can Play Music in Your Car, No Matter Who’s Connected to CarPlay
September 28, 2023

Now Anyone Can Play Music in Your Car, No Matter Who’s Connected to CarPlay

Reading Time: 3 minutes

iOS 17 lets you pass the digital aux to anyone in the car.

For all of CarPlay’s perks, the one downside is it requires one phone to be connected at a time. For the most part, that’s just fine—except when a passenger wants to play music from their iPhone. Suddenly, a choice must be made: Attempt to find the song on the iPhone currently connected to CarPlay, or swap to the passenger’s iPhone, temporarily throwing your GPS out the window.

Streaming music to CarPlay used to suck as a passenger

It didn’t use to be like this. In the past, you’d keep your iPhone’s GPS (or a standalone GPS unit) separate from the music. You could then use an aux cable to seamlessly switch between iPhones, Android, iPods, or whatever other listening device you happened to have to share music in the car.

Of course, now everything’s different, for better or for worse. Maybe your car has wireless CarPlay, so you don’t even keep USB cables around. To connect someone else’s phone to the speakers, you’d have to disconnect your phone from CarPlay and set theirs up, which is way too much effort. It’s also no longer necessary in the first place: With iOS 17, anyone in your car can play music through CarPlay, thanks to SharePlay.

SharePlay is Apple’s name for sharing content through iOS and macOS apps. It’s most commonly found in FaceTime, where you can share content while on a video chat with friends and family. But with Apple’s latest iOS update, SharePlay is now compatible with CarPlay, so you and your friends can take turns passing the digital aux around on a drive.

How to play music through CarPlay as a passenger

In order to take advantage of this new feature, everyone’s iPhones must be updated to iOS 17, including both the driver’s as well as any passengers’ looking to SharePlay music via CarPlay. The driver must also subscribe to Apple Music (or whoever is connected to CarPlay), but, interestingly, passengers don’t need to.

With that in order, start by playing music from the connected iPhone using CarPlay. Once the music starts, everyone on iOS 17 should see a notification on their Lock Screens, letting them know they can play music, too. If you, as a passenger, tap ‘Connect’ on your iPhone, the driver will see that as a notification on CarPlay. Tap the passenger’s name (preferably without taking your eyes off the road), then choose the checkmark to give permission to the passenger to stream whatever they want from their iPhone—Apple Music or not.

If you’re in the car and don’t see a notification on your Lock Screen, you can connect to SharePlay from the CarPlay screen itself. Go to the Now Playing screen, then tap the SharePlay icon (the ‘person’ with waves around it). You’ll see a QR code on screen: Scan that QR code with your iPhone, then tap the button that appears below the scan. Tap ‘Connect,’ then have the driver approve you on the CarPlay screen.

Either way, once you’re connected to SharePlay, you can add other passengers to the party, so the driver doesn’t have to worry about it. While connected in the car, open Music, tap ‘Now Playing,’ then tap the SharePlay icon to check out the SharePlay window with all current participants, as well as the QR code to jump in. Anyone who wants to connect can scan the QR code from here, tap the button below the code, then hit ‘Connect.’ The driver will just have to authenticate from the CarPlay screen.

How to leave a SharePlay session in CarPlay

You can leave a CarPlay SharePlay session whenever you want. Just tap the SharePlay button at the bottom of the Now Playing window, then ‘Leave.’ The driver can also end the whole party themselves by hitting ‘End’ on the screen.


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