Since, September of 2014 when Apple launched the iPhone 6/6+ and pushed out the update to iOS 8, there have been problems with Bluetooth and in-car infotainment systems. We at AUTO Connected Car News have been documenting the painful travails of our readers who gave Apple the Edsel Yugo Award for the Biggest Snafu 2014 for the Tech CARS Awards. We continue to hear about Bluetooth connection problems and iOS 8.xx or iPhone 6/6+ reported with BMW, Audi, Acura, MINI, GM(Chevy, GMC, Cadillac, Buick), Honda, Kia, Toyota, Volkswagen (VW), Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Lexus, Fiat, Hyundai and more from our readers’ comments.
The fourth version of iOS 8.2 is being Beta tested by developers and has a new Bluetooth setting for the Apple Watch due out in March. The changelog states that the update also has bug fixes. In order for the watch to work it will require a Bluetooth connection. In fact, iOS 8.2 adds a new setting to the Bluetooth menu in iOS 8.2.
Update 3/10/2015: The update to iOS 8.2 has Bluetooth fixes in the changelog. Our readers report that it does not fix all Bluetooth or music issues.
The latest Beta of iOS 8.2 includes the ability to pair your iPhone with the Apple Watch using Bluetooth. In the Settings area in iOS 8.2 in Bluetooth settings, under “other devices” it states “To pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone, go to the Apple Watch app.”
Apple Watch users will install an Apple Watch app on their iPhone, which will be used to download apps onto the watch as well as likely manage Apple Watch settings. The user’s iPhone is also used for computer power for computations to save Apple Watch battery life.
It would seem logical that Bluetooth would have to work properly for the Apple Watch to work. However Apple is controlling both the watch and the iPhone operating systems. Bluetooth connectivity with in-car systems will only benefit if the new Bluetooth functionality for the Apple Watch fixed the problem wreaking havoc on in-car infotainment systems.
Apple is looking to expand its iOS beta testing program to include a wider pool of users to improve testing and the quality of feedback. We are hoping that some developers try the update in their cars.
There are also reports that there is an iOS 8.1.3 update coming soon, which we can not verify.
Some discussions to fix Bluetooth problems in Apple forums have received 50,000 views.
In fact, Apple updated a support page on November 8, 2014. It sates, if you updated to iOS 8, have iCloud turned on, and are using Bluetooth, you might, not connect to a Bluetooth accessory, like a car kit, car stereo. Or you if can’t make or receive phone calls as well as can’t hear sound over Bluetooth, then upgrade to iOS 8.1. The update did work for a few of our readers.
Apple states on the Bluetooth issues page:
“If the steps above have not resolved the Bluetooth behavior you are experiencing, perform a software restore in iTunes. If the issue persists after restoring your iOS device in iTunes, contact Apple for support and service options.”
Support forums direct to a Bluetooth update page that says some Bluetooth accessories may require a firmware update for full compatibility with iOS devices such as a firmware update for AVRCP 1.4 Bluetooth compatibility. AVRCP 1.4 support was added in iOS 6. This protocol is for playing music and has been iOS since version iOS 6.
The list of stereos is very small that Apple states have software updates. Below is the list from car stereos that can be updated to Bluetooth AVRCP 1.4 from Apple, dated November 18. It looks like these are “older model” units.
- Advent OE Multimedia Headunits
- Alpine CDE-133BT, CDE-135BT, CDE-136BT, DE-HD137BT, DE-HD138BT, DE-W235BT, VE-W530,
- Clarion CZ702, CZ302, FZ502, M502, NX602, Clarion NX702
- Kenwood DNX6190HD, DNX6990HD, DNX7190HD, DNX9990HD, KDC-BT752HD, KDC-BT852HD, KDC-BT952HD, KDC-X796, KDC-X896, KDC-X996
- Pioneer DEH-P8400BH, DEH-P9400BH, DEH-80PRS, AVH-P2400BT, AVH-P3400BH, AVH-P4400BH, AVH-P8400BH
Along with hundreds of comments from our readers, we have seen reports of a new 2014 Dodge Challenger with UConnect not working with iOS 8.1.2 and Bluetooth. There is a report of several iPhone 6 models not working Volkswagen systems, then started working. Posted daily in the Apple Support Forums are comments like this
“Since the launch of iOS 8, the Bluetooth in my Mazda 3 does not auto connect to my iPhone 5 when placing a phone call.”
Forum members with two iPhone 5’s have tried all the nuke-it style fixes that only waste time. Or when one driver tries to make a call initiated from the iPhone the call gets routed from Bluetooth hands free audio to iPhone audio. Some in-car Bluetooth systems worked with IOS 8.1.1, but since the 8.1.2 update came out it doesn’t work at all anymore.
On forum member is so bold as to write “Apple’s upgrade to the 8.xxx series exposed some configurations which have not excepted the upgrade and evidently actually ruined some part of the hardware itself.”
A Mazda owner posted her response from Mazda:
Thank you for visiting MazdaHandsFree.com. We have very rigorous testing procedures and unfortunately, iOS 8.1 for the iPhone 6 did not pass our testing for compatibility with the Mazda HandsFree system for transferring calls that were originally placed from the phone handset. There were too many issues with the phone.
Unfortunately, there are no software or firmware updates available for the HandsFree system. When we find issues with compatibility we inform the manufacturer of the issue. Hopefully this will be resolved in the future.
We see reports of CDMA iPhone 6/6+ working with Bluetooth but not GSM carrier iPhones such as AT&T. The list goes on and on and on…
Due to the massive amount of comments we received, we are working with a third-party device maker we met at CES to see if they can offer an inexpensive device that will allow better Bluetooth connections with iOS 8-8.1.2 iPhone (5-6+). The rep we spoke with said that the company made the adapters that allowed different model iPhones/iPods to connect to in-car infotainment systems.
Previously, after talking to many automakers we tried to Why Bluetooth iOS 8-8.1 & iPhone 6-6+ issues persist in cars. Commenters showed their disgust and frustration to the tune of hundreds of reports of Bluetooth malfunctions. It seemed like the 8.1 update helped with a few new model cars. Read a summary of Bluetooth issues and fixes along with the new “audio-only” connection fix. Read the most popular nuke-it fixes.
If you have updated to iOS 8.1-8.2 or iPhone 6-6+ and it fixed or fried your Bluetooth issues with your in-car infotainment system, please let us know in the comments below, be sure to note your make, model and year of your vehicle.