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iPhone automatically using cellular data when plugged into car (cellular data is disabled).


New member
Mar 3, 2011

Wondering if anyone else is seeing this issue?

I have tested this in a number of different cars with USB ports and car-based entertainment systems?different brand cars and different brand/OS (non-CarPlay) entertainment stereo systems (in-car entertainment systems). The issue persists across these various cars/entertainment systems.

When I turn on the car and plug my iPhone into the car's USB port, the iPhone will automatically select the first track in my Music.app list and will play that track. There is no option on either the iPhone nor the car entertainment system to "disable" this "feature". The problem is, I do not have an local-storage-based music on my iPhone. It's only showing music that I've purchased via iTunes and only exists "in the cloud". As well, in the Music.app, I have Cellular Data set to Off.

This is a major issue as...

1. I do not have any music loaded into my Music.app, thus it's streaming the music from the cloud (via cellular data).

2. In the Music.app settings, I have Cellular Data set to OFF (Settings > Music > Cellular Data > Off).

3. If I delete the Music.app (in iOS 10), the iPhone will then auto-play audio from the next available source. In my case, it then plays audio from the Podcasts.app.

4. I do not have any podcasts downloaded in my Podcasts.app, thus it's streaming podcasts from the cloud (via cellular data).

5. In the Podcasts.app settings, I have Cellular Data set to OFF (Settings > Podcasts > Cellular Data > Off [toggle]).

Even though I have Cellular Data services for these two apps set to off, the iPhone ignores the settings and streams via cellular data. As a result, I'm using up cellular data even though I've explicitly set these apps to NOT use cellular data, and thus I'm going over my monthly data usage and being charged overage fees.

Again, this is not limited to a single car brand nor in-car entertainment system brand. I've used my iPhone in several different (rental & my own) cars (using various entertainment systems) and the issue persists across them all. I've tried different iPhones (iPhone 5, iPhone 5SE and iPhone 6) with various versions of iOS (iOS 9 and iOS 10) and the issue persists.

Has anyone else experienced this issue?


New member
Oct 22, 2010
Sounds like an issue to take to an Apple Genius Bar to have them escalate to a tier two or higher support person.


New member
Jul 6, 2012
Usually when you plug into a USB port on a car, it's going to presume you want to listen to music, why else would you plug the phone into the data port?

I know some people want to do it just to charge. But if that's the case, the only real work around for you would be just to purchase a separate car-charger and plug it in there.

If you're doing it for phone calls only, then just change the mode to FM/CD/XM/AM and the phone will not play audio.