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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Get It Straight: Apple CarPlay Does NOT Allow Video Playback

Apple CarPlay only displays metadata info for video files and pushes audio during playback

Contrary to a few rumors circling around, Apple CarPlay does NOT allow video playback. This is for safety reasons of course. We tried and tested all possibilities to get video files stored on the iPhone (movies, TV shows or music videos) to play in CarPlay on our Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) and this is what we found...

We have also received a few questions asking whether Apple CarPlay allows watching videos on a compatible Pioneer head unit. Here's the answer to those...

There are rumors that suggest CarPlay will play your video files when the vehicle is stopped. First of all, CarPlay doesn't require your vehicle to be stopped or handbrake to be cycled (as required for AppRadio Mode on Pioneer head units) to work. Secondly, there is no way to browse through your video library from CarPlay.

Even if you manually play a video file from your iPhone while in CarPlay mode, the head unit displays metadata information for the media with an album art in the background. Audio is still pushed through and you can listen to that instead.

Video files being played in NEX mode on the AppRadio 4 - Only audio and metadata information is pushed through

On the AppRadio 4 specifically, there is no way to browse through your video files from your iPod tab in NEX mode. Even here, we tried manually playing the video from the iPhone, and only metadata information showed up on the AppRadio 4. The video plays on the iPhone itself with Audio being pushed through to the head unit.

Video plays on the iPhone itself when in NEX mode on the AppRadio 4

The only ways to get videos to play on an AppRadio 4 or similar CarPlay-capable Pioneer head unit, is to either have video files stored on a USB drive and hooked to the head unit, or via AppRadio Mode. The latter requires an HDMI/Apple Digital AV adapter connection, which cannot be used simultaneously with Apple CarPlay (USB lightning connection).

Playing video files in AppRadio Mode through the EC Touch app on the AppRadio 4

So, don't believe the rumors flying around. Apple CarPlay doesn't allow video playback.


  1. I just picked up a 2010 Chevy Avalanche with the factory Nav head unit. I've been researching how I can watch video from external flash drives (WD MyPassport 2.0) and from my iPhone 6. I've been considering swapping out the factory Nav unit and going with one of the Apple Carplay units. But, if what you're saying is true, I'll lose the DVD player functionality and I won't have the ability to watch video content from apps or the external drives. That's quite the bummer.

  2. works on mine just fine video , music, ipod touch 2


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