Your iPhone and Your Vehicle: A (Complicated) Love Story

Let’s think about your Apple iPhone and your vehicle as a love story.  (I keep this metaphor going throughout the post, but there’s some real content here, I promise.) They meet and of course have to be introduced, so you pair them up. It might not always be love and first sight, and sometimes that first pairing connection doesn’t hold; and you have to pair the iPhone a second, and maybe even a third time. It happens, and it’s completely normal. They eventually learn to love each other, but there’s a secret: the iPhone has trust issues.

  For instance, you need to go out of your way for your iPhone to trust your vehicle with your text messages.

  1. Go into your iPhone’s settings
  2. Tap on Bluetooth
  3. You’ll see the name of the connection with your vehicle. All the way to the right of that connection name will be a lower case “i” with a circle around it. Tap the circled “i”
  4. You’ll see a line called “Show Notifications”. Slide that to the on position
  5. Fully power down and restart your iPhone
So now your iPhone has learned to trust your vehicle with its texts. This is progress and leads to a much more productive relationship; but when it comes to sending texts, your iPhone still won’t share that responsibility with your vehicle. This leads to secret number two: your iPhone is a bit controlling.

If your vehicle allows you to send pre-made or custom responses to text messages, they won’t work with iPhone. That would be your vehicle sending the text via your phone, not the phone sending the message. “Just tell me what to say and I’ll send it,” your iPhone says; “you don’t get to send messages yourself.”

If your vehicle allows, you can send text messages with Siri Eyes Free (consult your owners manual for availability), iPhone’s compromise with your vehicle.
  1. Press and hold the designated button on your steering wheel until you hear the familiar chime, alerting you Siri is ready to take instructions
  2. After the chime, say “text” and the name of someone in your contact list. For example, “text Stew” or “text Jennifer”
  3. Siri will find that person in your contact list and ask, “What would you like to say to…?” the person you’re texting
  4. Speak your message, and Siri will read it back to you, asking if it’s okay to send
  5. Confirm or deny with “Yes” or “No” and the message will send
So the relationship goes on, and the two are happy together. Your iPhone connects right away when you start your vehicle, and Siri Eyes Free has actually enhanced their relationship. But on some very rare occasions, your iPhone may become suspicious of your vehicle. 

What I mean by this is there are some vehicles that will let you make calls with your iPhone; but when you receive calls, the call doesn’t come over the car. It stays on your phone, forcing you to either manually move the call to car by touching the phone’s screen or making you hang up on the person you’re calling so you can call them back and have the call come over the car’s bluetooth system. When this happens, it’s literally your iPhone no longer considering your vehicle a “trusted device”. Seriously, metaphor aside, that’s a real thing.

This used to happen on older GM vehicles; then it was fixed with an iOS software update, but this caused the same problem to spring up on Chevy Equinoxes and GMC Terrains. This issue was resolved a few months ago with another iOS update, but I’ve since heard from a customer who is now experiencing this issue on her Ford Escape. It will eventually be fixed by Apple but the struggle (and the frustration) is very real in the mean time. Let me emphasize this is very rare, and so far has always been resolved eventually.

All-in-all your iPhone is great. Your new vehicle is great. The relationship can sometimes be a little complicated, but what relationship isn’t? The most important thing is that your focus is on the road and that you’re safe; and if your iPhone can keep your attention there with voice commanded calls and texts, then it’s a love story for the ages.

Categories: Technology
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