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Why there are Déjà Bluetooth Issues with iPhone 6-7+ & Cars iOS 10.2.1 – 10.3 How to fix them

Every time Apple issues an update to its iOS software since iOS 8.0, there are car owners who bemoan what happened to their Bluetooth connections. With the iPhone 7, starting with iOS 10, there may be issues with certain GSM carriers and Bluetooth. There appears to be glitch with Bluetooth signatures getting corrupted during the update process. We have learned from our readers that some fixes do work. We have also found some new Bluetooth fixes. Recently, Apple issued a new way to update iPhones and deal with in-car infotainment Bluetooth pairing. Before updating to iOS 10.3 we suggest that you wait a while and read this article first.

The first round of Bluetooth problems with iPhone iOS were mainly with older model cars. This time around, the models are much newer and in theory should still be able to make Bluetooth connections with iPhones. It also looks like when some iPhone users with problems update to iOS 10.2 or 10.21 their Bluetooth problems are fixed. We believe that it resets the Bluetooth signature.

According to Apple’s website, “iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.” iOS 10 brought many new emoji to iPhones as well as new Bluetooth audio streaming problems with car infotainment systems and radios.

Let’s look at all the reports we have received about Bluetooth issues with iPhones and Bluetooth with cars. He are comments and emails from AUTO Connected Car News’ readers.

  • 2017 Hyundai Elantra Verizon and the Bluetooth constantly connects, disconnects and reconnects over and over randomly.
  • Since I got my iPhone 7 Plus in December, when I’m in the car… my text notification doesn’t alert me.
  • iPhone 7+ and I have a 2016 Ford Escape. I can connect the Bluetooth just fine for calls and no problems. But since I got the iPhone I can’t play any music through the Bluetooth.We are able to synch our phone but when we play the music off our phone it stays on repeat.
  • My Pandora loses connectivity at the beginning of every song. The next song begins to play and then it says “cannot connect to Pandora” and then reloads and starts to play again. This has been since my last update to ios 10.2.1 for my iPhone 5s in my 2016 Honda Odyssey.
  • 2013 Honda Accord- I have an iPhone 6 with AT&T service. My Bluetooth paired fine with my car almost every time until I updated iOS to 10.2.1. The iPhone will pair with the car initially, play for a minute and then the display in the car will tell me that the Bluetooth has disconnected. A few seconds later it will reconnect itself and play again for a few minutes and then disconnect again. Having problems with both phone calls and music. It has to be an issue with the 10.2.1 update because nothing else changed (same phone, same car). One day it worked fine and the day I updated to the new version of ios I started having these problems.
  • Since updating to IOS 10.2.1 with Verizon the voice commands no longer work in my 2012 Toyota Camry and I can listen to songs on my iPod but I can’t fast forward or reverse to a different song.
  • 2016 Chevy Equinox and iPhone 6S – I can rarely get the phone to connect to the car Bluetooth since the latest IOS update. When I got the vehicle, iPhone 6 paired and had no issues, with the iPhone 6S I constantly have issues. Sometimes it will completely lock up my audio/entertainment system and the only way to get it to work again is to pull the fuse and wait 10 minutes so it can reset.
  • 2015 BMW 528i, iPhone 6, AT&T running iOS 10.2. I seem to have the opposite of what others have problems with. My phone works fine thru the Bluetooth but audio doesn’t play at all. Whether it’s connected through Bluetooth or via USB, it won’t play from the screen. I have to hit “play” from my phone to get the music to play. I’ve re-paired and hard rebooted to no avail.
  • Audi TTS 2016 and the 10.2 update screwed up the entire ability to play music or listen to my GPS on Waze.
  • 2014 Subaru Impreza – sound is okay but you have to reconnect each time you enter the car despite the fact it remains paired.
  • 2010 Mercedes S550 and the IPhone7 does not recognize the car’s Bluetooth, but the car recognizes the IPhone. My IPhone6s worked just fine.
  • Issues with iPhone 7+ and it drops my calls i for 20-30 seconds and then reconnects. It is the most frustrating thing. I have the iPhone6+ as a work phone and the 6+ has no issues whatsoever with the Blue Tooth. This is definitely an issue with the 7+ and not my vehicle. I have a 2016 Lincoln MKX and there are serious issues with Bluetooth.
  • 2015 Subaru Forester + iPhone 6+ with OS 10.2 + Verizon .Phone calls (both incoming & outgoing) will not play through Bluetooth. When call goes through, there is complete silence on car system. Audio must be switched back to phone or speaker before call can be heard. Bluetooth streams music from iTunes fine.
  • 2016 iPhone 7 Plus and Verizon. 2013 Toyota Avalon. First Bluetooth call always works and pairs fine. Oftentimes future Bluetooth calls don’t go to bluetooth but go to some other mode instead (like a regular phone to ear method). Then I need to click on Bluetooth mode on phone to get the call to switch to Bluetooth.
  • I constantly have trouble with my iPhone 6s Plus and iOS 10.2 (and previous versions) connecting to my Prius Entune Suite and Mazda CX-5 Mazda Connect. Pandora is unreliable in both cars when used with my iPhone. I get connectivity issues as well. I tried using my android Galaxy Note Edge in both cars, and it’s been perfect with no issues in either car. Pandora works perfect with android and Samsung. As soon as the Galaxy S8 comes out, I’ll be getting rid of my iPhone.
  • Bluetooth calls were working fine without any issues until I changed my phone to iPhone 7 (IOS – 10.2), with iphone7 the calls disconnect from the car system and connects back after a while, this happens once or twice for each call, this is really annoying.
  • 2015 Ford Explorer. I’ve tried everything. Ford blames Apple and Apple Blames Ford. I’m using IOS 10.2. j
  • GMC ACADIA, 2013 – Bluetooth in vehicle fails to pick up calls for iPhone 6 with IOS 10.2. Took vehicle to dealer after re-syncing phone to vehicle. Dealer updated program to vehicle however phone still fails to pick up calls.
  • I still am having major issues in Mazda 6 with ios 10.2 — music will stop playing 30 seconds into a song and unpair and will not allow to repair again. It’s extremely frustrating.
  • Frequent drop out of BT in my Lexus LS and new iPhone 7 Plus. Nothing worked to fix it yet.
  • 2011 Toyota Highlander with iPhone 6 on 10.1. Toyota system automatically shows “Connected” to phone when you first start the car. No call, no audio, just the Toyota system showing “Connected” with no calls or music. Cannot “disconnect” phone. Have to turn off BT and turn it back on and only sometimes does it restore the system on the first try.
  • When I pair the iPhone 7 Plus to my Hyundai Santa Fe and it works until the engine is turned off. Then, it says “Pairing failed” every time I get in to the car after restarting the engine. This is real annoying and needs to be fixed. People need their hands-free ability to answer the phone while driving.
  • I have an iPhone 6 that I use in my 2013 Hyundai Elantra. It was fine until a couple of months ago and then all of a sudden (don’t remember if it was update-related) my car controls lost some functionality. Now in iTunes I can only go back to the previous song or the beginning of the one I’m listening to; I can no longer go forward. Music sometimes just stops playing for no reason at all. Also, if my headset was connected I used to be able to change songs with it and it would change in the car but that broke at the same time. I’m a traveling dance and fitness instructor and I’m always listening to class music or choreography music in my car. It’s one of my most important tools. .
  • iPhone 6s + updated to latest IOS version – no names on incoming calls, just numbers, on 2013 Highlander – tried everything stated above except disconnecting the car battery – nothing works! This may be my last iPhone.
  • Reported problems with Pandora dropping out.
  • 2014 Ford Fusion Energi with iPhone 7 Plus with Bluetooth audio disconnects.
  • 2013 Buick Encore with perfectly working iPhone connection. Since the update, my incoming calls go to the handset and have to be manually transferred to the car. I have done everything that Apple has suggested and nothing has worked.
  • 2014 Mercedes CLA250: WHEN BLUETOOTH IS ON on my iPhone, the RADIO GOES SILENT UPON CONNECTING WITH IPHONE. WHEN BLUETOOTH IS TURNED OFF, RADIO AUDIO GOES ON. I tested this by turning Bluetooth on and off on my iPhone several times, same results. Seems to only happen when it’s cold, around 32 degrees. When this does happen and bluetooth is on (radio is silent), dialing out from iPhone fails. I turn the car off for 5 minutes and restart. Dialing out worked, then suddenly, radio sound came on and stayed on. I wish I knew why is suddenly started working again.
  • KIA Sorento 2011. Bluetooth worked fine with numerous iPhones before I purchased the iPhone 7 last thursday. Phone works okay once paired but each time I get in the car, I get “connection failed” and have to manually pair the devices each time.
  • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. UConnect 730N RHR won’t do BT audio stream from my iPhone . I’ve paired and re-paired many times.
  • 2013 Equinox and have used Bluetooth since I bought the car. After the iPhone 6 update just before the 10.1.1 update, I can make calls via Bluetooth fine but all incoming calls are “Private” so I have to hit the transfer call option on the cars screen. Spoke to GM Customer Service and they tell me it’s a Apple issue. How do we get Apple involved to correct all the problems with their updates?
  • BMW model 2015, iPhone 5S iOS 10.1. inbound calls are not routed via Bluetooth since update to IOS 10.1 (worked fine until 10.0.2) . Outbound calls work fine.
  • 2015 Honda Odyssey. Would not pair with iPhone 7 even in “Airplane Mode’.
  • 2012 BMW 528IX & 2016 MDX Navi. Both my wife and my iPhone 6 with IOS 10 pairs first and works for 2-3 days and then doesn’t connect afterwards. Need to re-pair every few days on both cars.
  • 2011 Toyota Camry V6 XLE will not pair for Bluetooth talking with iPhone 7. iPhone 7 will only pair for music playing — no phone calls.
  • Toyota Prius 2012 since iOS 10.X upgrade. Not able to hear incoming caller voice via Bluetooth.Since i upgraded to iOS 10 my brand new BMW now has problems. Phone connection works fine. But as soon as I connect music the whole BMW system crashes – no radio, no navigation! After restarting the BMW the phone is still connected but nothing is working.
  • Bluetooth Problems reported with 2013 Ford Taurus, 2013 Acura MDX, 2015 Ford Escape, 2015 BMW.
  • Problems with audio streaming over Bluetooth reported support forums for iPhone 7 and iOS 10.2.1 on Volkswagen. An iPad with the same iOS worked fine. Once again it appears to be an iPhone 7 issue.

New Step by Step Fixes for Bluetooth Issues iOS 10.2.1+- and Cars

NEW Reduce Bluetooth to 4

A reader reported that she had choppy audio via Bluetooth with Toyota Entune and iPhone 7. She would have to connect, disconnect then reconnect. She found that it went away as long as she keeps the number of Bluetooth devices on the iPhone at four or less. As soon as she connects a fifth device, the problem returns. If she deletes any Bluetooth device keeps the number at four or under, it works just fine.

Change Carrier Fix for iPhone 7 Issues

A reader found that  “When I changed carriers, Bluetooth worked fine with Honda HRV16.”

Another reader reported.

“First if you just disable LTE Data & Voice on the GSM version of iPhone 7 Plus this may resolve all your issues. A new SIM card will not correct the issue. I also noticed that if I take my iPhone from the phone mount the issue will go away. Not sure if this will fix everyone’s issues. As my last resort I moved my service to Verizon (a non-GSM carrier) and the issue has been cleared up. I believe it has something to do with the new Intel Cellular Radio.”

Readers have reported issues only with their iPhone 7s. For example when they buy an iPhone 7 after owning an iPhone 6 there are problems connecting the new phone via Bluetooth to a Hyundai Santa Fe 2011. The first time pairing with the iPhone it works fine. Next time when they  turn on the engine the car says that pairing failed. The users have have to delete the iPhone 7 from the car list of connected devices and pair it again until next engine start.

“The iPhone 7  has the issues has iOS 10.1.1 installed.The iPhone 6 which works fine has the same iOS version installed.”

Go to Airplane Mode- Then Turn Back on Report Especially for iPhone 7

A trick that seems to reduce interface is to pair the iPhone in airplane mode then switch to phone mode. This solution appeared in an earlier article.

I was having issue pairing Bluetooth with Mercedez c200 and my new iPhone 7 (iOS 10.11). I used the tip mentioned above “Enable Airplane Mode, then turn back on Bluetooth & Wi-FI. The bug for music streaming is caused by interference with GSM cellular signals.  It works!! I After the pairing is done you just need to turn off Airplane Mode. Your car will recognize the iPhone7 from now on. Thank you!

The only thing that seemed to work for one reader, was ‘forget device’ on iPhone7 then pair again in Airplane Mode.

2009 Mercury Mariner, iPhone 7 iOs 10.1.1.. No Bluetooth devices would pair with on iPhone 7. The driver switched iPhone to Airplane Mode, then went to connect new device on Sync. Handsfree appeared and paired within moments. After pairing, he turned Airplane Mode off and iPhone 7 remained paired to Sync. He was able to make phone calls, download phone list, and play music from iPhone playlist via Bluetooth. He turned ignition off then on a few moments later and Sync found and paired with the iPhone.

The Nuke-it Fixes

These fixes remove all the settings from the car and the iPhone to start from scratch. Some have gone as far as disconnected the car battery to clear all the settings in the car, too.

1. Reset All Settings – Go to iPhone  Settings ▸ General  ▸ Reset  ▸ Reset all settings.

2. Unpair Phone and Car Infotainment System Rename Phone – Go to iPhone  Settings ▸  General ▸ About ▸ Name. Change the name of the iPhone and pair with the car infotainment system again.

3. Reset/Restore Network Settings: Restore all network settings of iOS 9.2  Go to Settings ▸ General ▸ Reset (at the bottom)▸ Reset Network settings. This method also deletes all Wi-Fi and other network settings!  If you reset you must re-add all your network settings in iOS.

4. Delete and Start All Over: Delete all Bluetooth devices. See full instructions.

A reader reported he deleted all old phone settings from the car and set it up again. Once you clear it out it sets up fine.

Nuke the Car Settings Example

Here’s how it worked on a 2014 Honda CR-V, iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 10.1.1, with AT&T. He couldn’t get the phone and car to pair. The iPhone showed up on car, but car didn’t show up on phone Bluetooth menu. He had already deleted my old phone (which had the same name as my new phone) from the car, tried the Airplane Mode fix, tried changing the phone’s accessibility auto setting to Bluetooth headset, all with no success. This is what worked.

  1. Go into the car’s Phone menu, scroll through tolDelete all phone data? Answer is yes.
  2. Chose an option in this menu to add a new phone
  3. A code is sent to the phone and then you enter the code into the car’s head unit.

The  Nuke-it & Rebuke-it Before Updating Fix from Apple

Apple has changed the way it suggests users update their iPhones which we will call the “Nuke-iT/Rebuke-it/Update Fix.” Basically Apple is saying to un-pair from both the car and the iPhone. Then re-pair then update your iOS software.

  • Read the car stereo’s user manual for how to pair with a Bluetooth device.
  • On your iOS device, swipe up to open Control Center, then tapBluetooth icontwice to turn Bluetooth off and back on.
  • Restart your iOS device.
  • On your iOS device, unpair your car stereo. On your car’s display, unpair your iOS device and any other devices. Restart your car and your iOS device, then pair and connect again.
  • Update your iOS device.

Apple also changed it support forums to only use the Safari browser. Our readers don’t have to worry because AUTO Connected Car News can be view on any browser.

iOS 10.3 is expected to add Find My AirPods options, AFPS (Apple File System), and Verizon Wi-Fi calling for iCloud-connected devices to be announced at the Apple launch event March 9.

When updating your iPhone, Apple does suggest to connect to Wi-Fi or via iTunes. Often over cellular data or Wi-Fi there can be disconnects and errors. When it doubt, we would update via iTunes.

Other Fixes:

    1. Disable Handoff on iPhone – launch the Settings app from your Home screen ▸Tap General. ▸Tap Handoff & Suggested Apps ▸Toggle Handoff to Off.
    2. Change Bluetooth Settings– Go to General ▸ Accessibility Car Audio Routing ▸ Select “Bluetooth Headset” instead of the default Automatic.
    3. Delete/Reset the Vehicle’s Bluetooth Settings – we have reports that by removing the fuse for the infotainment unit for a few seconds and then re-pairing the updated iPhones, it then allows the Bluetooth to work again. A variation on this fix is to disconnect the car’s battery for a few seconds to lose the stored data and then re-connect the battery and re-pair the iPhones.
    4. Connect through USB or AUX – for playing music in BMW or other vehicles, you can connect with the AUX adapter or through USB to play music.
    5. Replace iPhone 7 through warranty or – we have one report that when a car owner returned the iPhone 7 and received a new one it worked with his car. However previous reports with early iPhone 7 manufacture dates, there was no difference.

If you have updated to iOS 10.2.1 for iPhone 5/5S/5c 6-6+ 6S/6S+ 7/7+and it fixed or fried your Bluetooth connection or music streaming 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 as well as your iPhone model and carrier (AT&T/Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile etc) .We also welcome any solutions you have found worked with your car.

We have a newsletter dedicated to looking for Bluetooth fixes and in-car audio systems, you are welcome to subscribe to that newsletter, weekly news updates or email news when published.

15 thoughts on “Why there are Déjà Bluetooth Issues with iPhone 6-7+ & Cars iOS 10.2.1 – 10.3 How to fix them”

  1. I am running IOS 11.0.1 on an Iphone 6 and I can not get the 2012 Honda Pilot I just bought to respond in any way when I try to pair the phone. Any advise?

    • After the various Nuke-it fixes the best thing to do is contact Honda…Did you delete the iPhone from the Honda Pilot Bluetooth systems and re-pair?

  2. Apple like Microsoft has gotten way to CONTROLLING and does not care what consumers want. I am tired of how each time Apple does an update it changes all my settings and now with the last one I have had to call Apple several times for tons of issues. I am about to ditch both our iPhones and go to a competitor’s. Enough already Apple, tired of you thinking you have a damn right to change how I have the phone set up.

  3. I have IOS 10.3 on an Iphone 6 – I have an after market bluetooth car unit that works with my car audio – the controls are via the steering wheel. I have a random issue, not a hard issue. My phone always connects to the car – however occasionally audio is directed to the phone rather than the cars sound system. I have been through the network reset and redo for settings. Problem has not changed. By reading the forums I see bluetooth issues seem to plaque most car manufactures with an IOS 10 update. As these are car and driver related issues this should now be considered a safety issue and APPLE should be diverting all resources to get this fixed.

  4. I have a 2015 Ford Escape and an iPhone 7 Plus. I can get the two to sync, but then the calls will drop and re-sync every 20-30 seconds. I have done everything! I have run all the updates with Apple, and Ford replaced my entire system for me! (The general manager is a good friend.) Nothing works. I have tried several of the above things as well. It is so frustrating that I’m ready to go back to a Galaxy! I had ZERO issues! I thought about buying a new car, but even that is no guarantee! When you call Apple, they claim they have no idea there is an issue. I told the guy to Google it! This is so frustrating. I hate that I made the decision to switch to an Apple phone.

  5. I have a 2017 Acura MDX and an iPhone 6. I use these for business, my car is my office. I can make one outgoing call, but after that incoming calls will not come thru and the Bluetooth stops recognizing calls on the phone. Sometimes I can use the speaker on my iPhone to take a call, but sometimes it locks up and must be rebooted. This also disables “talking” texting on the phone. I went back and forth with Acura on this; they, like Apple, claim they have never heard of this problem, but that’s BS, it’s all over the Internet. Acura finally gave in and replaced the blue tooth hands-free unit on the car, but it does exactly the same thing. The technician showed me that his two-year old Samsung has 5 of 5 bars on the car’s “phone” screen, while my iPhone 6 shows only 1 or 2 of 5 bars. My husband’s iPhone 5s is the same. Per Acura, this is the problem – the iPhone is incompatible with the Acura Bluetooth system, has a weak connection signal, thus the intermittent problem with making and receiving calls. Music and podcasts both work fine. Looks like I need to abandon my $600 iPhone and buy something else that works with the car, because I’m stuck in a three-year business lease with Acura. I really think Apple is to blame here; it appears their updates have corrupted the Bluetooth compatibility with a number of car audio systems.

  6. I think if an Apple phone is not compatible in our car, and Apple can’t offer some kind of upgrade or solution to the problem then they should offer us a refund or another phone of our choice. It’s just good business. By the way, I called Infiniti and they said Apple has not offered any upgrade as of yet. So, unless I pay $350 I’m stuck with this phone for 2 years with no Bluetooth capability. Isn’t that just grand!

  7. iPhone 6s starting with ios10 and continuing through ios 10.2.1 car Bluetooth will not stay connected in 2015 Acrua RDX Tech. Apple CarPlay is not enabled. Continually connects/disconnects calls from car Bluetooth. If i initiate call Either through bluetooth or directly on phone, bluetooth will contually connect/disconnect. I do not have problem with Other Bluetooth devices. I have tried deleting Bluetooth devices from phone and car and repairing. Did not fix.

    • iPhone SE with iOs 10.2.1 constantly disconnects & reconnects from HFL on 2013 Acura RDX. Tried all suggested fixes multiple times. Nothing helped. My wife’s iPhone SE did the same thing. Finally got disgusted and went back to my older iPhone 5C with iOs 9.3.2 and it works just fine. Spoke to Acura Technical Support and they had no other suggestions except to see if there is improvement with next iOs upgrade. I am not happy Apple does not allow us to “downgrade” from iOs 10.2.1 to iOs 9.

      • I agree. When I bought the iPhone 7 at Verizon and had this problem they said they had not heard of this!!! Really??? After some research, I discover this has been an issue with Apple phones way back to 2011. I should have stayed with Samsung, even with all their problems. If I want to change phones Verizon told me I could for 350.00. Doesn’t Apple make enough money. They should have never put these phones out on the market with these constant problems. I will never buy another Apple product.

        • I’m experiencing the same exact thing! How could they not have heard of this? I told the guy to Google it!!!!

  8. iPhone 5s with IOS 10.2.1 and Mercedes 2012 ML350 connects and reconnects every few minutes. This problem was created by Apple Watch. If I leave the watch home all is well.

    • Thank you. We’ve heard that one before. The more Bluetooth connections the more confused the iPhone gets.

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