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Why Does Apple Music Sound Bad in My Car? (Solved) 2024

Cranked up your favorite song on Apple Music, only to be met with a disappointing soundscape in your car? You’re not alone. Many users encounter audio quality issues when using Apple Music in their vehicles.

This can be frustrating, especially for audiophiles who crave a rich and immersive listening experience. But fear not, there are several reasons why this might be happening, and more importantly, solutions to get your car sounding great again!

Understanding Audio Quality in Your Car

Before diving into troubleshooting, let’s establish a baseline for audio quality in your car. There are three main factors at play:

  1. Source: This refers to the digital file itself. Apple Music offers a tiered streaming quality, with the highest being Lossless (ALAC) at 24-bit/48 kHz. This format preserves the most detail from the original recording. However, most car stereos don’t support Lossless playback, so Apple Music automatically converts it to a compressed format like AAC for compatibility.
  2. Car Stereo: The quality of your car’s sound system significantly impacts the listening experience. High-end factory stereos or aftermarket systems with premium speakers will naturally reproduce audio with more fidelity compared to basic stock setups.
  3. Car Settings: Many car stereos have built-in equalizers (EQ) and sound processing features. These adjustments can significantly alter the audio profile, potentially resulting in a muffled or distorted sound.

Troubleshooting Apple Music Audio Issues in Your Car

Now that we understand the influencing factors, let’s explore potential culprits and solutions:

1. Check Your Streaming Quality:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Tap on Music.
  • Under “Cellular Data” and “Wi-Fi,” ensure “High Quality Audio” or “Lossless Audio” is selected (depending on your subscription).

2. Verify CarPlay or Bluetooth Settings:


  • Go to Settings > General > CarPlay.
  • Tap on your car and ensure “Reduce Noise” is disabled. This setting can negatively impact audio quality.


  • Check your car stereo’s manual for any Bluetooth audio settings that might affect sound quality. Some systems offer options like “Standard” or “High-Quality” audio streaming.

3. Adjust Your Car’s EQ:

  • Most car stereos have a built-in EQ. Experiment with different presets or create a custom EQ profile that emphasizes clarity and reduces unwanted bass boost or treble harshness. Aim for a balanced sound that complements your preferred genre.

4. Update Your Car’s Firmware:

  • Outdated firmware on your car’s infotainment system might cause compatibility issues with Apple Music. Consult your car manufacturer’s website for instructions on updating the firmware.

5. Consider a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC):

  • If your car stereo lacks high-quality audio processing, a DAC can improve the sound quality by converting the digital signal from your phone to an analog signal for the car speakers. This can be particularly beneficial for older car stereos.

Additional Tips:

  • Disable Phone Calls: If you’re using CarPlay, some users report muffled sound during calls impacting music playback quality. Try disabling phone calls in CarPlay settings and see if it improves the audio clarity.
  • Restart Your Phone: Sometimes, a simple phone restart can resolve temporary glitches that might be affecting audio output.

Advanced Considerations:

  • Bit Depth and Sample Rate: While your car stereo might not support Lossless playback, some higher-end aftermarket systems do. If you have a compatible system and a subscription that allows Lossless streaming, experiment with enabling it in the Music app settings. However, the improvement might be subtle for most listeners.
  • File Format: If you’re using a wired connection (AUX cable) and playing downloaded songs, ensure they’re in a high-quality format like FLAC or WAV. Avoid using heavily compressed formats like MP3, which can sound noticeably inferior.


By systematically going through these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to identify the culprit behind the subpar audio quality and get your car speakers pumping out great sound.

Remember, the ideal solution will depend on your specific car stereo, phone settings, and personal listening preferences. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different configurations to find the sweet spot that delivers a rich and enjoyable listening experience for your next road trip!

FAQs: Apple Music Audio Quality in Your Car (2024)

1. Why does Apple Music sound bad in my car?

There are several reasons: compressed audio streaming, car stereo limitations, EQ settings, outdated firmware, or a low-quality connection.

2. What streaming quality should I choose on Apple Music for my car?

“High Quality Audio” is a good starting point. Experiment with “Lossless” if your car stereo supports it, but the difference might be subtle.

3. How do I check CarPlay settings for audio quality?

Go to Settings > General > CarPlay, tap your car, and ensure “Reduce Noise” is disabled.

4. How can I adjust the sound in my car?

Most car stereos have built-in EQs. Play around with presets or create a custom profile for a balanced sound.

5. Should I update my car’s firmware for better Apple Music sound?

Yes! Outdated firmware can cause compatibility issues. Check your car manufacturer’s website for update instructions.

6. What’s a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)?

A DAC improves sound by converting the digital signal from your phone to an analog signal for the car speakers. It’s helpful for older car stereos.

7. How can I disable phone calls impacting Apple Music sound?

Try disabling phone calls in CarPlay settings. Some users report improved audio clarity after doing this.

8. Does bit depth and sample rate matter in my car?

Only if your car stereo supports Lossless playback. Experiment with enabling it in Apple Music settings if you have a compatible system.

9. What file format should I use for downloaded music played in my car?

Use high-quality formats like FLAC or WAV if playing through a wired connection. Avoid compressed formats like MP3.

10. What if I want the absolute best sound quality?

Consider investing in a high-quality aftermarket car stereo with advanced audio processing capabilities.

Qasim Z.
Qasim is a tech lover, guest blogger, and SEO nerd. Covering all topics from Social Media to Apple Updates.

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