Can I Add Apple CarPlay to My 2017 Subaru Outback?

The Subaru Outback has been a popular choice for drivers seeking a blend of practicality and capability for years. However, technology changes quickly, and your 2017 Outback may not have the latest features you desire. One common feature drivers crave is Apple CarPlay, the seamless way to integrate your iPhone into your car’s infotainment system.

So, can you add Apple CarPlay to your 2017 Subaru Outback? The short answer is: it depends. Let’s delve into the details to see if this upgrade is possible for your vehicle.

Subaru’s Factory Options

Unfortunately, Subaru did not offer Apple CarPlay as a standard feature or an option on the 2017 Outback. This means that the factory infotainment system is not compatible with Apple CarPlay. You’ll need to explore aftermarket solutions to get this functionality.

Aftermarket Solutions for Apple CarPlay in Your 2017 Outback

While Subaru didn’t initially offer CarPlay in the 2017 Outback, the aftermarket world has stepped up to provide solutions. Here’s a breakdown of popular options:

1. Aftermarket Head Units

The most common and generally effective way to get Apple CarPlay in your 2017 Outback is by replacing the factory head unit with an aftermarket unit that supports CarPlay. This involves some installation, but it can dramatically improve your car’s tech capabilities.

Benefits of Aftermarket Head Units:

  • Seamless CarPlay Integration: You’ll enjoy the full functionality of Apple CarPlay, including navigation, music playback, calls, and more.
  • Enhanced Features: Many aftermarket head units offer advanced features beyond CarPlay, such as Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, HD radio, and more.
  • Modernized Look: A new head unit can give your car’s interior a more modern and stylish look.

Considerations for Aftermarket Head Units:

  • Installation Complexity: Installing an aftermarket head unit requires some technical knowledge and effort. It’s often recommended to have a professional perform the installation.
  • Compatibility: Make sure the head unit is compatible with your 2017 Outback’s dashboard and electrical system. You’ll want to check compatibility charts and consult with an expert.
  • Cost: Aftermarket head units range in price, and higher-end units with more advanced features can be more expensive.

2. Wireless CarPlay Adapters

For those who want a less invasive approach, wireless CarPlay adapters are an option. These devices plug into your car’s existing USB port and allow you to connect your iPhone wirelessly to the CarPlay interface.

Benefits of Wireless CarPlay Adapters:

  • Easier Installation: No need to remove or replace the factory head unit.
  • Wireless Convenience: You can connect your iPhone without cables.

Considerations for Wireless CarPlay Adapters:

  • Limited Functionality: Wireless adapters may not support all CarPlay features or work as smoothly as a dedicated head unit.
  • Compatibility: Ensure the adapter is compatible with your 2017 Outback’s infotainment system and your iPhone.
  • Signal Strength: Wireless adapters rely on Bluetooth connectivity, which can be affected by signal interference in your car.

Choosing the Right Solution for Your 2017 Subaru Outback

The best way to add Apple CarPlay to your 2017 Subaru Outback depends on your priorities and budget. Here’s a guide to help you decide:

  • Budget-conscious: If you’re on a tight budget, a wireless CarPlay adapter might be the most cost-effective solution. However, be aware that functionality might be limited.
  • Tech-Savvy: If you’re comfortable with installation and want the best possible CarPlay experience, an aftermarket head unit is the way to go.
  • Convenience: If you want a quick and easy way to use CarPlay, a wireless adapter might be the best choice.

Installation Considerations

Regardless of which solution you choose, installation is an important factor. Consider these points:

  • Professional Installation: For an aftermarket head unit, professional installation is strongly recommended. This ensures proper wiring, integration, and safety.
  • DIY Installation: If you’re comfortable with automotive electronics and have the necessary tools, you can attempt a DIY installation. However, be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions and take appropriate safety precautions.
  • Warranty: Check the warranty on your chosen product and installation service. This will protect you in case of any issues.

Enjoying the Benefits of Apple CarPlay

Once you’ve successfully installed Apple CarPlay in your 2017 Subaru Outback, you can enjoy the numerous benefits it offers.

Benefits of Apple CarPlay:

  • Navigation: Use Apple Maps for turn-by-turn navigation, with real-time traffic updates.
  • Music Playback: Stream music from Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and other apps.
  • Calls and Messaging: Make and receive calls and texts hands-free using Siri.
  • Voice Control: Use Siri to control various features, like playing music, setting reminders, and more.
  • Safety: Apple CarPlay helps you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Conclusion: Enhancing Your 2017 Outback with Apple CarPlay

Adding Apple CarPlay to your 2017 Subaru Outback is a great way to upgrade your driving experience. While Subaru didn’t offer this feature factory, the aftermarket offers solutions for various budgets and tech preferences. Whether you choose an aftermarket head unit or a wireless adapter, the added convenience and safety of Apple CarPlay will make your 2017 Outback even more enjoyable to drive. Remember to carefully consider your options and choose the solution that best suits your needs.


Can I add Apple CarPlay to my 2017 Subaru Outback?

No, you can’t add Apple CarPlay to your 2017 Subaru Outback. While Subaru offered CarPlay in some models starting from 2018, the 2017 Outback did not come with this feature. This means you can’t install CarPlay into your existing system. The lack of CarPlay was likely due to the technology being relatively new in 2017, and Subaru chose to prioritize other features in the Outback at that time.

Are there any alternatives to CarPlay for my 2017 Subaru Outback?

There are a couple of alternatives available for your 2017 Outback. You can use a smartphone mirroring app, such as Android Auto or Apple’s own mirroring technology, to project your phone’s screen onto the Outback’s display. This allows you to access some apps and features through the car’s screen, but the functionality is limited compared to CarPlay. Another option is to invest in an aftermarket head unit, which offers a more integrated CarPlay experience but requires replacing the factory radio.

What about Android Auto?

Like CarPlay, Android Auto was also not available in the 2017 Outback. Subaru didn’t begin offering Android Auto until later model years. This means that you cannot integrate Android Auto into your Outback’s system. However, you can still use smartphone mirroring apps to mirror your Android phone’s display on the Outback’s screen.

Can I upgrade my 2017 Outback’s infotainment system?

While you can’t directly upgrade to a system that supports CarPlay, you can replace your Outback’s factory infotainment system with an aftermarket head unit. These head units often include CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, offering a more modern and integrated experience. Keep in mind that this involves more complex installation, and you’ll need to factor in the cost of the head unit and installation.

What are the benefits of CarPlay?

CarPlay offers several benefits for drivers. It integrates with your iPhone seamlessly, allowing you to access your favorite apps, make calls, send messages, and use navigation all through your car’s screen. CarPlay is designed with driver safety in mind, with a simplified interface and voice control functionality. It also offers a convenient way to listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks while driving.

Can I use my phone’s Bluetooth for music and calls?

Yes, your 2017 Outback will likely have Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect your phone for hands-free calling and music streaming. You can access these functions through the car’s infotainment system. However, you won’t be able to use the touchscreen for navigation or apps as you would with CarPlay.

What if I want to update my Outback’s software?

While you might be able to update your 2017 Outback’s software through a Subaru dealer, you likely won’t be able to add CarPlay functionality through a software update. Subaru’s software updates typically address bug fixes or minor feature enhancements, not major system changes like adding CarPlay. You’ll need to look into aftermarket solutions if you’re hoping to add CarPlay to your Outback.

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