iPhone 5 Won't Work In Your Car? We May Have the Solution

By David Thomas  on September 25, 2012

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There I was last Friday, a happy new iPhone 5 owner about to drive home in a 2013 Chevy Spark with the latest multimedia system on the market.

I plug the new Lightning connector into the iPhone 5 and the USB into the car's port.

The Spark's 7-inch screen says "Loading" with a ring of circles spinning around and then ... nothing.

The smartphone reads, "This accessory not supported." The accessory is a $16,000 car.

I'm a bit devastated and drive home listening to talk radio.

Over the weekend, I tried out the iPhone 5 in my wife's car, a 2010 Subaru Outback and then my in-laws' 2012 Acura TSX, and it isn't working in either of them.

I may have discovered a huge flaw in the new iPhone's system, I think to myself. This story will break the blog's traffic records.

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I get to the office on Monday morning after a weekend of testing the iPhone's maps, camera, applications — you name it — and shoot off a bunch of emails to automakers about their cars not working with the latest device now owned by 5 million potential car shoppers.

They scramble to find the cause of the problem.

GM is shocked since it's been working with an iPhone 5 beta for the new Spark, and Apple had the car at its Cupertino, Calif., campus for testing purposes, too.

When I heard that I thought maybe this is just my iPhone. I turn to Google.

Google doesn't find any issues like mine. Twitter, nope. Facebook, nada.

Soooo, it's just me.

I head out to shoot a video of said Spark with both my iPhone 5 and my iPhone 4, which I'll need as a prop to show off the multimedia system. Then I decide to turn the new phone off.

In my 72 hours of ownership, I hadn't actually done that. I'd been handed the iPhone with it already turned on and had just been charging it ever since.

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I turn it back on and spend the next few hours shooting said video. At the end of the shoot, I decide to try out the iPhone 5 in a 2013 GMC Terrain. The iPhone 5 works perfectly and syncs in just seconds. I'd kind of forgotten the off-and-on trick and get back into the Spark. It's working there now, too!

And in our Outback and a Dodge or two I drove this morning.

So, my dreams of tech web domination are shot, but at least I now know how to answer anyone who's having trouble getting their new iPhone 5 to work in their car.

Just turn it off.

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Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David