iOS 8.1 Bluetooth and in-car infotainment fixes for iOS 8 hands-free?

ios81stagecolorAs many of our readers know, there have been iOS 8-8.02 Bluetooth issues with in-car infotainment systems from almost every car maker including BMW, Audi, GM(Chevy, GMC, Cadillac, Buick), Mercedes-Benz, VW, Mazda, Lexus, Fiat, Hyundai and more. An AUTO Connected Car News commenter summed it up this way, “Apple blames the car makers and the car makers blame Apple.” Hopefully, the update to iOS 8.1 will help users connect their iPhones with their automobiles.

We’ve seen reports in Apple forums that state Apple support was telling car owners with Bluetooth ” If you are desperate to get Bluetooth working, here’s a fix that requires a few hours of your time. Otherwise, we’re working round the clock on a patch and will deploy it ASAP.”  An Apple senior support person acknowledged an incompatibility issue between certain vehicles and the Bluetooth in the new iPhone 6 and iOS 8.

It’s hard to tell what the truth is without being a coder. However, today, Apple announced iOS 8.1 will be released on Monday, October 20 through iTunes and via your iPhone. Apple usually pushes out updates around 10:00 am PST.

Many changes in iOS 8.1  were made from user feedback. iOS 8.1 brings back camera roll for viewing photos. Craig Federighi, SVP Software Engineering gave a presentation  on the Apple Campus this morning, Reports from the event sate that the update fixes iOS 8 bugs.

The update will also enable Apple Pay to only  iPhone 6/ 6+ models because of hardware requirements.

One of the main features of the update is sharing and “Continuity” with Mac MacOS X Yosemite and iOS devices. The update enables instant hotspot that lets a Mac instantly connect with an iPhone using its data connection. Instant handoff, allows Apple devices to handoff the function to the other device such as web browsing. Mac owners can take iPhone calls right on their Macs or send/receive SMS messages (iOS 8.1 required). In most cases, Continuity features require devices to be logged into the same iCloud account and connected to the same Wi-Fi network, as well as paired via Bluetooth 4.0. In other words, for all the new features to work, Bluetooth has be working properly.  All of Continuity features may not work with older Mac models because it requires Bluetooth 4.0.

There were previous reports that iOS 8.1 would fix Bluetooth issues, along with problems with performance, Wi-Fi, messaging, and battery life.

Apple usually does not issue updates over weekends because it can bring down cellular networks.  Previously, we have gotten much information from our readers as to the success of failure of Bluetooth “fixes” from both car makers and Apple support. You are welcome to let us know how it is going for you in the comments belows.

iOS 8.02 did not fix all Bluetooth issues. There is hope that after a month of complaints in Apple forums and a general feeling of angst from owners of iOS 8 devices including iPhone 5 through iPhone 6+ the update could help.  When Apple issued iOS 8.02 it contained fixes for several problems, Bluetooth was not listed.

We checked with a major car makers today who confirmed that Apple did not inform the company of what changes will coming in Bluetooth 8.1.

If you are currently have Bluetooth issues in any form of iOS 8, it is probably worth trying the update at a later.

To get the update, you can request the update through your iPhone, from the Software Update section in the Settings, then Apple will put in a “request” for you to download and install iOS 8.1 on your phone.

Because of previous issues with iOS 8, 8.01 and 8.02, many tech authors are suggesting that user wait until Tuesday or even later in the week before downloading and installing the update.

Make sure your backup your iPhone first, you have a strong connection (Wi-Fi is best), your battery is fully charged and try to remain patient.

We have contacted Apple media relations to find out when the list of bug fixes will be seen for iOS 8.1. Keep your fingers crossed, until then drive safely.


10 thoughts on “iOS 8.1 Bluetooth and in-car infotainment fixes for iOS 8 hands-free?”

  1. I was unaware of the issue before I bought my 6 Plus. Have only had it a couple of days and fortunately that is my only complaint so far. It is a major one though. I need “Hands Free”!

  2. I can call via Bluetooth from my car, Audi A8 2007, but the telephone-system in my car cannot receive calls, only the iphone 5s With iOS 8.1. is ringing.
    With my old Nokia E7 it Works Perfect.

  3. My 2013 BMW X1 is unable to connect for music even though I have upgraded to 8.1 on my IPhone 6. The phone works fine, which is weird. Music and Map voices don’t work on bluetooth.

    • I have a 2011 BMW 328xi with the same problems. The dealer says it is definitely an Apple problem. Why in the world would they change their operating system without testing this? I can only surmise that the programmers working for Apple don’t own or drive cars.

  4. After updating my iPhone 6 to 8.1, I am now able to make and receive calls with my iPhone 6 in my 2014 Cadillac ATS (not with CUE), however, the phone still cannot access the contacts stored in the car. Instead, Siri is activated and the call is made through the phone not the car. I spoke with Cadillac Technical Support and they indicated that this should not be happening but I see no fix in site.

  5. I have a 2012 Subaru Impreza and an iPhone 6 running the newly updated iOS 8.1 and I can confirm that they have NOT addressed the issue completely. I still have to manually go into the menu every time I get in to the car and select my car’s radio to connect. Most times it takes 2-3 tries before it will connect. After it is connected everything works fine. I called Apple and they claim that my car is too out of date to support Bluetooth streaming even though I had been using my iPhone 4S for such a purpose for 3 years without issue!

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