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I have a 3 week old 2018 3.6R Limited. Great car, it's my 3rd scooby after a 2003 Forester XTi and a 2009 Outback XT.

Today, something really strange happened with the head unit. First, near the end of a long drive, the sound that was playing through CarPlay from an attached iPhone spontaneously cut out, as did any other sound source (radio, Sirius XM), and when put into reverse, the backup camera never displayed. Additionally, the Volume and Tuning knobs fail to work, yet the Home, Apps, and other buttons that line the side of the LCD still work. None of them seem to contribute towards a resolution.

Here's the most worrying part: The LCD now fails to turn off, even with the vehicle off, exited, and locked. In a moment of extreme debugging, I was able to use the side buttons on the LCD to navigate to the Settings menu and initiate a "Factory Settings Reset." The unit then reported that it was rebooting itself, where upon is has now solidly frozen its screen at the Subaru/Starlink logo splash screen and proceeds no further. Despite this, it still refuses to turn off even when the car is off, exited, and locked.

Being cautious of what disconnecting the battery might do to other things, I hunted down the fuses for the head unit in both the driver's side interior fuse box, and in the engine compartment. The former has a 15A fuse labeled "AUDIO/NAVI" and the latter has a 25A fuse labeled "AUDIO". I pulled both, and the head unit still continued to operate! I could not find any other fuse that was obviously labeled, so instead of pulling random ones, I stopped going down this route of debugging.

During all this, I could hear, very very faintly, the sound of a very soft static coming out of the speakers in a cyclical manner, as if something was initializing and rebooting over and over again. The noise was almost imperceptible, but it was a soft hiss, followed by a soft pop, a few moments of silence, and then back to the hiss.

I'm going to take this into the dealer tomorrow first thing, and hopefully my battery won't be drained overnight before I do. I've done a cursory search and it seems that freezing head units seem to be a thing on recent years of Outback/Legacy models. Does the issue I run into sound familiar?
 

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18 Outback 3.6R Limited
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Please update us on this issue. I pick up my '18 3.6R Limited tomorrow from the dealer and hope I never see this issue but if it does happen would be nice to know what happened to yours for reference.
 

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2018 Outback
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Following, and worried about my head unit now.
 

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I had a similar lock up when seeking a POI on the GPS and lost my radio sound but I could still change channels and the GPS would show what street I was on, but I could not turn it off even when the car was shut down. Because it was late night Saturday night, I ended up disconnecting the battery. Then the radio sound came back on but I still could not turn it off so now I had it looking like the radio was going to be playing all weekend, so I disconnected the battery again. Monday morning I called and made a service appt, when I discovered that reattaching the battery immediately started the radio up. However, the moment I started up the car, everything returned to normal and when I shut it off, everything turned off, as well, so I called and cancelled my appt. Now, I"m discovering other things I have to reset after removing the battery cable (like controlling the windows from the driver's control panel), etc., but I'm just relieved that my telematics are working again.
 

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2018 Dark Blue Outback 3.6R Touring arrived 8/31/2017
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343 Posts
There's a good chance you will see it again, whether this is a hardware or software or both combined problem.
 

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2018 Outack Limited, with Eyesight (Canadian model) Crystal white pearl, black leather interior
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84 Posts
What did you find out when you went to the dealer? I have similar issues plus my backup camera stops working.
 

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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345 Posts
. . Today, something really strange happened with the head unit. . .
Today something really strange happened to mine as well. I've had my 2018 Touring for about 2½ months, and have been pleased with the fact that everything seems to work right. Today, however, shortly after startup and beginning to drive, the screen entirely froze when I hit the Media button from the Home screen. Then no button I pressed would budge it. Just stuck.

I pulled over and shut the engine off for a couple of minutes. Started up, and same problem, screen frozen. Tried that again. Again same thing.

Turned everything off and sat there for about five minutes. Started up and all back to normal all the way home.

The screen froze just once before, the third day I had the car (2½ months ago), on startup with "Starlink" showing. Then it went away on the next startup and hasn't recurred until now. Overall has worked beautifully in between these two occurrences.

Since this has occurred so infrequently I am reluctant to take the car in to the dealer and have them try to find a problem they can't see.

I will appreciate any advice on what to do if the screen freezes again, that is less time consuming than pulling over, shutting down, and waiting a few minutes.
 

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2018 3.6R limited w/eyesight Subaru Outback....sold my 2011, Subaru Outback, 2,5i Spt Pack.
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159 Posts
I had the same problem of the head unit freezing up on the weekend. But the backup camera worked...everything else (maps, sound, music) frozed. Started and restarted. Still did not reset. That's when I really needed the GPS to get me home....and it froze at the wrong time. I recall pressing multiple buttons at the same time when I started the car and that may have contributed to multiple inputs in the unit.


Anyhow, got home, restarted the car the next morning and all is fine. The memory power probably needed to be drain for it to reset.
 

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I have the exact same thing happened to my new 2018 Subaru Limited Outback with Navigation. I have to disconnect the battery cable as the only way I found to get it to restart. Very interested to know what others find out from the dealership. I haven't have time to take it to my dealer yet since it is working again after I reconnect the battery. Thanks.
 

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2019 OB 3.6R Limited, and 4 VW TDI bugs.
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Today something really strange happened to mine as well. I've had my 2018 Touring for about 2½ months, and have been pleased with the fact that everything seems to work right. Today, however, shortly after startup and beginning to drive, the screen entirely froze when I hit the Media button from the Home screen. Then no button I pressed would budge it. Just stuck.

I pulled over and shut the engine off for a couple of minutes. Started up, and same problem, screen frozen. Tried that again. Again same thing.

Turned everything off and sat there for about five minutes. Started up and all back to normal all the way home.

The screen froze just once before, the third day I had the car (2½ months ago), on startup with "Starlink" showing. Then it went away on the next startup and hasn't recurred until now. Overall has worked beautifully in between these two occurrences.

Since this has occurred so infrequently I am reluctant to take the car in to the dealer and have them try to find a problem they can't see.

I will appreciate any advice on what to do if the screen freezes again, that is less time consuming than pulling over, shutting down, and waiting a few minutes.
I have two 2018 outbacks. Love these machines, but in the one 2018, I’ve had it lockup where the volume would not change. The buttons all work but no volume control. Went to the dealer where they mentioned that they have seen this with other 2018s. Service guy took loose the neg and pos battery terminals and shorted them out to each other. Reconnected, and it worked for a day. Next day the whole system locked up and nothing worked. I thought it might be that while my iPhone was trying to connect via Bluetooth, that I interrupted it by connecting it to CarPlay. I came back to the car about 15 minutes later and restarted it and all worked normally. I had the dealership document this issue just Incase. Now I connect my iPhone to the usb cable before I start and so far it has been working. Needless to say, something with this system is not right if it is that easy to confuse it. One error message I got on the display was “invalid destination code” when it was frozen.
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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I retired from developing embedded software professionally a few years ago. It's apparent from the complaints here that there are significant defects in these systems. Let's hope Subaru can get them fixed in good time, but not so quickly that they introduce different and perhaps even more "interesting" problems.

Sometimes I'd resent the seemingly gratuitous and extensive testing (which required writing or updating and validating the test procedure itself - not a trivial task) we were repeatedly required to subject our code base to (see regression testing), after even the slightest and obviously trivial changes. Sometimes the regression test would take days to complete. This in addition to even more extensive testing of the changes themselves (which required writing and validating the test procedure - often more (and less fun) work than the software changes).

From the complaints here I more readily appreciate the rationale. Often, regression testing alone represented several times more effort than analysis, design, and implementation of any changes to code. Designing and conducting tests of the code changes themselves was on top of that, and was sometimes at least as much work as the analysis, design, and coding itself.
 

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Honda owner shopping for a 2018 Outback but holding off due to head unit issues
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I had a similar lock up when seeking a POI on the GPS and lost my radio sound but I could still change channels and the GPS would show what street I was on, but I could not turn it off even when the car was shut down.
I have similar issues plus my backup camera stops working.
Today, however, shortly after startup and beginning to drive, the screen entirely froze when I hit the Media button from the Home screen. Then no button I pressed would budge it. Just stuck.
I had the same problem of the head unit freezing up on the weekend. But the backup camera worked...everything else (maps, sound, music) frozed. Started and restarted. Still did not reset.
I have the exact same thing happened to my new 2018 Subaru Limited Outback with Navigation. I have to disconnect the battery cable as the only way I found to get it to restart.
I have two 2018 outbacks. Love these machines, but in the one 2018, I’ve had it lockup where the volume would not change. The buttons all work but no volume control.
Is this how your 2018 head unit behaved when it froze / locked up?

 

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Is this how your 2018 head unit behaved when it froze / locked up?


My symptoms are exactly like those of the original poster, i.e : "the sound that was playing through CarPlay from an attached iPhone spontaneously cut out, as did any other sound source (radio, Sirius XM), and when put into reverse, the backup camera never displayed. Additionally, the Volume and Tuning knobs fail to work, yet the Home, Apps, and other buttons that line the side of the LCD still work. None of them seem to contribute towards a resolution.
Here's the most worrying part: The LCD now fails to turn off"
 

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My wife and I each bought 2.5i Premium Outbacks - mine a 2017, her's a 2018. Her's has been a nightmare with head unit issues. First the radio locked up and froze all other functions of the system. The radio was stuck on a station and volume level and the GPS map was frozen. The phone was inoperable. Only turning off the car for a prolonged period reset this.
Next the CD failed to work properly. It loads and plays, but upon stopping and restarting, the disc must be ejected and re-inserted.
Next, the phone intermittently does not work. It will dial numbers, but not connect the calls.
Next, the GPS intermittently was significantly off track. By miles.
Again, parking for 10-20 min. resets things and they work again.
Sometimes there is a combination of all of these things.
After taking the car in, the dealership replaced the entire head unit.
Alas, all symptoms, and some new wrinkles remain.
This started with an iPhone 7 on IOS10. Is now on IOS11 (multiple updates) and a different phone has been swapped in with no change. All cables swapped.
She so wishes she had gotten a 2016.
 

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I have a 3 week old 2018 3.6R Limited. Great car, it's my 3rd scooby after a 2003 Forester XTi and a 2009 Outback XT.

Today, something really strange happened with the head unit... Does the issue I run into sound familiar?
Nice detailed description and EXACTLY as you described (11/16/2017... had our Limited Outback about 3 weeks now... doesn’t shut off, no volume output or control but some apps active, no backup camera.):surprise:
 

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Same here

My 3.6 Tourning Outback is a week old and I experienced the same issue(s) today on the way home from work. The Starlink screen was frozen and none of the controls worked. I happened to make a stop on the way home (about 15 min) and when I restarted the problem was gone. Not happy about this.
 

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Any solutions yet?

I have a 2018 2.5i limited and I experienced the exact issue described at the start of this thread, including the troubleshooting steps except I did one more step before attempting to reset to factory defaults. I tried to connect to my wifi thinking maybe I could check for updates. The attempt to connect failed with a message saying I could not attempt the connection while the vehicle was in motion. My car was off and sitting in my garage motionless. Then I moved on to the factory reset which resulted in the frozen starlink splash screen as originally described. I had to remove the negative battery lead to get the screen off, but that of course resulted in the loss/reset of all customized settings and presets (radio and seats). After the reset I connected to wifi and checked for updates and it says there are no updates available. I've experienced the issue three times over the six weeks that I've owned the vehicle. Anyone find a solution?
 

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2018 Outback touring media system freeze

I see others have experienced the same problem. The car has 3000 miles and on two occasions the head has completely frozen. Both times I had to stop the car and briefly disconnect the battery to cure the problem. Needless to say, this MUST BE RESOLVED!
 

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Just took delivery on a brand new Outback, "touring" 18 model

Had less than one week, screen froze last night, could not turn off AT ALL

Any and all help appreciated!!!
 
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