How to stop music, podcasts, or audiobooks from auto-playing in your car

Does your music library inundate you with music, podcasts, or audiobooks when you get into your car? Here’s the fix.

Updated February 2017 to reflect changes in iOS 10.

As auto manufacturers and Apple have progressed forward in their relationship to make your car as smart as possible, occasionally not-smart things happen. Like your vehicle blasting music (or the latest audiobook chapter) into your ears when you first get in the car.

While the original impulse may have been a helpful one on the part of the manufacturers — surely, users want to hear their music first thing — it’s often ended up a nuisance. Spoiler: If you’re listening to a steamy romance book on your AirPods, you don’t want that chapter to blast in the car when driving your mother to the mall.

Unfortunately, Apple’s provided no easy “Turn off auto-playing music over Bluetooth” switch directly on your iPhone or iPad. But you can still solve this somewhat irksome issue with a couple of other fixes.

Option 1: Check your car to see if there are any auto-play settings you can disable

Depending on your car’s make and model, it may offer its own auto-playing Bluetooth settings, separate from your iPhone (or any other smartphone. Before you go diving to shut off your iPhone, check there.

Even if there’s no auto-play disable switch in your car, you may be able to find a default volume setting, which can limit the volume of auto-playing music or audiobooks.

Option 2: Tell your iPhone to cut it out

By default, your iPhone will try to play its last audio source when you connect to your car; for most people, that’s your music library (in alphabetical order), but if you’ve been listening to an audiobook, podcast, or other app, your car may try to start playing from that app, instead.

Depending on the circumstance, there are a few ways to keep your iPhone from automatically playing audio you don’t want to hear.

Add a silent track to your music library

You can use the iPhone’s propensity to play songs in alphabetical order to trick your car’s Bluetooth stereo: Find a silent song like John Cage’s 4’33” and rename it so that it shows up as the very first song in your library; next time, when you get into the car, it should auto-play the sweet, sweet sound of silence.

Tell Siri to stop

If you tell Siri “Stop playing” at any point, your iPhone will disable all noise. Conveniently, triggering Siri will also shut off your music.

Force quit the Music (or any other) app

If your unwanted audio is coming from the Music app or any other third-party application, you can double-press the Home button to force quit the respective app and immediately bring an end to the noise.

How to force quit an app

Turn off Cellular Data

True, this will only stop streaming audio — but if you primarily stream your content, this will put a quick end to any unwanted chatter.

How to disable Cellular Data on your apps

Option 3: Send Apple Feedback

Ultimately, none of the above suggestions are iron-proof fixes to this problem: The best way to get your iPhone to stop automatically playing is to ask Apple to put in a Settings switch to make that happen.

File a feedback request with Apple


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