Apple Wouldn't Let Volkswagen Demo Wireless CarPlay At CES

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Apple CarPlay allows you to use your vehicle’s infotainment system to mirror the interface on your phone, and millions of iPhones are already equipped to use it over a wireless connection. Too bad Volkswagen was blocked from showing it off during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Volkswagen Head of Electrical and Electronic Development Volkmar Tannerberger told Car & Driver:

We wanted to demonstrate wireless CarPlay and the owner of CarPlay technology didn’t allow us to.


Now Volkswagen knows the pain I feel whenever I want to manually manage the music on my phone, which it thinks was synced with a computer that I got rid of before I bought the stupid thing. The struggle is real.

Wireless CarPlay requires iOS 9, and no automaker’s system currently supports it. Of course, Volkswagen would want to show off theirs if it works because until now, Apple CarPlay has had to connect to a car through a USB port, and that’s so 2013.


We don’t know why Apple blocked Volkswagen here, but it’s likely because Apple wants to show off its latest and greatest tech on its own terms, not on Volkswagen’s. C&D suspects that Apple will hold the formal debut of the capability for its World Developer Conference, one of their keynotes, or another Apple-centric event.

Alternately, they could choose any number of automakers they’ve partnered with for the debut, but even then, there’s still the theory that Apple wants to maintain control of their own reveals.


Thus, Volkswagen used a different phone to demonstrate the wireless connection capabilities of their new infotainment systems. Car & Driver reports that the other phone used MirrorLink—an open-source competitor to CarPlay that also mirrors many mobile device functions on your car’s infotainment system. (Google has not yet released a wireless protocol for Android Auto.)

Since these wireless systems drain phones’ batteries quickly, Volkswagen representatives told Car & Driver that they expect the system will be paired with wireless charging for maximum usefulness.


Photo credit: Volkswagen

Contact the author at