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Car thing and car stereo trying to use different bluetooth sources


Car thing and car stereo trying to use different bluetooth sources






iPhone 13 Pro

Operating System

iOS 16


My Question or Issue

I've had the Car Thing for about a year now. When I first got it I was using an Android phone and I upgraded to an iPhone in June. During that time period I used the car thing just about every day with no issues on either phone. I have a 2019 Toyota 4Runner with factory stereo not equipped for Android Auto or Apple Carplay which is why I purchased the Car thing.


3 days ago there was an update to the Spotify software on my phone. Since that update happened I am having major connectivity issues. The iPhone will not consistently stay on Spotify. The Car Thing wants to play spotify but the car itself/bluetooth wants to switch to Apple Music any chance it can get. If I mess around with it/switch sources/disable and enable bluetooth sometimes I can get it to work, but then randomly it will just change to Apple music again in the middle of a song.


I really don't know what to do to make everything work properly again. I've tried totally uninstalling apple music. When I do that I can get spotify to play but the track does not show up on the vehicle infotainment screen. It is blank as if there is no music available on the connected bluetooth source. Also the steering wheel buttons will not control skipping tracks etc unless the car itself shows it is connected to Spotify.


I feel like since it happened right after the update that it most likely has something to do with the update.


Accepted Solutions
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38 Replies

Hey @bassplayer1018,


Thank you for reaching out here in the Community.


This sounds a bit odd and we'll do our best to help you out here.

First off, we can recommend to log out and then log back in on your car (if possible) to see if the track will start showing on the vehicle infotainment screen. It's also a good idea to make sure that Background App Refresh is toggled on for Spotify. 


In case the issue still persists, could you give it a try using a different device (if possible) to see if you notice the same behavior? 


Regarding the issues that you have with Car thing, we'd suggest to try restarting it as this may fix many of them. You can do that by clicking on the Settings button on the top-right > Find Restart > Press the dial to select and confirm.


Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.

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I already tried all of the logging out/logging back in stuff. I uninstalled/reinstalled Spotify on my iPhone. That did not make a difference. I did a factory reset on the car thing. Still the same issue.


The weird thing is I don't even use apple music it was just on the iphone by default. There are several albums in there because I have the same apple account that I've had for years and it downloaded anything that I had purchased in the past in iTunes.


When the two screens do not match it is actually trying to play both sources at the same time you can hear them over one another. The apple music player actually shows up on the lock screen of the iPhone when it does this. I've tried killing the apps and restarting but it didn't help.


The workaround to get it to switch seems to be to change the source to fm for 5 minutes or so then switch the car stereo back to bluetooth. When I do this whatever track that's playing on apple music shows up on both the car screen and the car thing screen. on the car thing i pause the track and hit the "play spotify" icon in the top corner and about 70% of the time it will switch everything to spotify. If I try to change the playlist then everything goes back into the glitch mode.


Its really frustrating because I paid like $60 for this thing so that I can access everything with minimal distractions. Right now its the total opposite its causing me to be angry in my car because I can't use it how it was working for the past year. Its like ever since the last spotify update the iphone wants to override spotify with apple music. 

I have the same issue! If you uninstall Apple Music and then pause the music from Spotify on the car thing it will then show the information on the car screen after waiting about 20 seconds, and then replaying the music.


I hope this helps to get Spotify to release of fixed because I enjoy having car thing so I don’t have to use my phone in the car and wanting to listen to music

I am also experiencing the issues above as well. Can this be something that is fixed? It only started to occur after the update to Spotify on Thursday. 

I have a 2014 4Runner and had the exact same issue. I ended up removing Apple Music from my phone which corrected that issue. I am now however, having a new issue where my car stereo will not display track or artist information or allow me to control playback as long as I am connected to the Car Thing. I have tried all the reset troubleshooting options as well as having both my car and Car Thing forget my phone and then reinstalling it to both to no avail. I have loved my Car Thing up to now but this is super frustrating. Can you confirm if this is a software issue or is my Car Thing just dead?

I think it’s just a software issue from what I saw when my Spotify app was updated Thursday but I can’t say for certain. 

Also if you pause the music on car thing for 30 seconds and then unpause all info should display again. 

I've come to the conclusion that no matter what I do at this point it is a workaround for whatever the actual issue is (most likely needs a software fix.)  


I tried deleting Apple music also but when I did so then nothing displayed on the car stereo display. When everything is working as it should the same track/artist info is on both displays.


Another thing I've noticed is that if you do clear everything out in the correct sequence and get spotify playing as it should it works fine for all of your normal functions (volume, skip track, pause, etc.) but goes right back into the fault loop if you try to change playlists. I've tried the "hey spotify" method and it reverts back to apple music. I have different playlists saved on the  favorites buttons on the car thing. Pressing any one of them takes me right back to Apple music.


This morning I unplugged the car thing and connected the iphone directly to bluetooth. I had no issues other than the fact I had to navigate anything I wanted to do with the iphone screen itself which was why I bought the car thing in the first place.


This is so frustrating.





I agree, I am now just going to leave my car thing unplugged and check if it is fixed every few days. 

not thrilled about loosing the functionality I bought car thing for but if Spotify isn’t fixing it, nothing I can do.


I hope this forum and my tweets draw attention to this issue with the app. 

Also as a heads up if anyone is curious, I tested a JBL Charge 4 on Bluetooth with this issue and it is still present. It doesn’t matter if it is a car or a speaker, if it’s Bluetooth it has the issue. 

@TheArtMan5 when you say you tested with a JBL Charge 4 you mean you used the car thing on that speaker?



Yes, I used my charge 4 and made sure it was first connected by BT. After I powered up my Car Thing and as soon as car thing came on, the music controls on the lock screen and control center went bye bye and in the toggle music player it showed nothing was played even tho Spotify still was playing and showed playing on car thing. 

so I have confirmed it’s not a car BT interface issue but a general issue with BT connections when car thing is thrown in. 

Either in my car or on the charge 4 without car thing involved, nothing was going funky. 

also when I’d switch to Apple Music with car thing, it would try to play Spotify and Apple Music at the same time. 

it seems the Spotify app isn’t alerting the system it has active music when car thing over-rides the connection as a BT device. 



I am wondering if it has anything to do with the implementation of this


Or maybe some botched update to the feature. The screenshot provided by the Spotify employee in the second post looks identical to what Car Thing is displaying on my screen when this all goes down.





Maybe but I did fully factory reset of the device and retested after that and the same issues arise. 

I also signed out and signed back into Spotify with no luck. 

I’m going to say this is a bad update and @Spotify won’t own up to it and admit it is an issue. So I guess we hope it’s fixed sooner then later before people all around start complaining this isn’t working as it should. 


@Lyubka are you seeing any of this? I'm not the only one with the issue. 



I am also going to @Lyubka


I have now confirmed updating to iOS 16.2 has no change. Issue was first present after updating Spotify on iOS 16.1.1 then updating to 16.1.2 changed nothing and now 16.2 has changed nothing. 

I will confirm, when you have Car Thing connected it believes the correct data is what iOS says is playing or is loaded. 

Meaning from the above, you can click one of the four presents to change the play list and Spotify on my phone will play it but iOS itself does not recognizing Spotify is playing music! Hence if I go from Apple Music to Spotify it believes Apple Music is only paused and Car Thing shows my Apple Music as paused!


@Lyubma, this issue is with the integration between iOS and the Spotify app. This is not right that this has not been fixed and acknowledged yet of being an issue! 

@Spotify please acknowledge and fix this!

Hey folks,


Thanks for all your replies and for all the info shared.


@user-removed, in this case, you can try by factory resetting your Car Thing as @bassplayer1018 did previously. You can give it a try by following these steps to see how it goes.


If the above doesn't do the trick, we'd suggest both you and @bassplayer1018 contact our Car Thing support team, so they can help you check this more thoroughly. You can find out how to contact them here.


@CoachTroyRCA, ad mentioned, we'd suggest to try factory resetting your Car Thing.


Folks, rest assured we'll be monitoring this thread to check if more users come to report this behavior. Meanwhile, the best way to go is to contact our Car Thing support team 🙂


Keep us in the loop! 

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Politely, I have and will state again (as mentioned

above) have attempted to factory reset Car Thing already and to no avail still having the same issue. 

Also, as mentioned above, I am unsure this is so much of a car thing issue as it is a General Spotify update for iOS and more specifically my iPhone. As stated above, @bassplayer1018 also uses iOS (iPhone) and is having the same issue as me. 

When Car Thing is connected to the iPhone after the latest Spotify App update released on December 8th of 2022, iOS does not recognize Spotify to be playing music and defaults to loading Apple Music. The issue appears with any Bluetooth connection when Car Thing is on and connected. 

I will pass thing along to the Car Thing Team but I would like to see if another Spotify update corrects the situation at hand.


Please take these concerns with validity as I have used Spotify for close to 10 years and been a premium member for over 5 years. 


Thank you.

Hey @user-removed,


Thanks for your detailed reply and apologies for the confusion.


We really appreciate all the time you took to write and report this to us. The findings you and the other users have shared are very important to us. From here, as mentioned above, the best way to go is to write to our Customer support team, since you mentioned the factory reset didn't made the difference. Don't hesitate to write here any other relevant details you notice.


Rest assured, we'll keep an eye on this thread to check in new users report the same behavior.


Keep us in the loop and don't hesitate to get back to us if you have any other questions.


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