Who's Calling? Getting Your Phone's Contacts to Your Vehicle

I know I've already written a lot about your phone's relationship to your vehicle, but seeing that Americans spend 10 hours a day looking at screens, mostly our phones, it seems like a topic worth revisiting often. Vehicles now are just as much cell phone accessories as they are transportation. Our phones can power our music, navigation, text messages, and of course our calls. With every new model year our phones are taking up a bigger part of our in-vehicle experience.

When it comes to our calls, we want to be able to glance at our vehicle's screen and see the name of the person calling us. Most of the time this happens automatically on our vehicles because our contact list downloads to our vehicle when we first pair our phone. When this happens we can live informed lives when we answer (or choose not to answer) our phone when driving.

If this doesn't happen, there could be a few reasons why:
  1. Your phone is too old - More and more vehicles infotainment systems are built with smartphones in mind. This is great for most of us, but some of us still use older flip phones. Some flip phones have slightly newer operating systems that play nice with car systems, and some are still using older technology that isn't compatible with modern vehicles. I hear from people somewhat often; "I just got this flip phone a year ago, how is it too old?" That's a fair concern, but a lot of flip phones, even if they're currently being produced, are using 10-15 year old technology that just isn't compatible. Manufacture date of a phone has little bearing on how modern it actually is.

  2. The contacts are on your SIM card - Often when people are switching from a flip phone to a smart phone, or just using a smart phone for the first time, their contacts will be saved not to the phone itself, but onto the SIM card of your phone. When you open the contact list on your cell phone you see all your contacts, but when you pair your phone to the car, nothing shows up. The car is looking on your phone for contacts, but they're not there, they're located in the SIM card.Your best bet in this situation is to go into contact settings, export all your contacts to a single VCF file, and import them from that file on to your phone's storage. Then the next time you get in your vehicle they'll all be there and ready for you.

  3. You have to give the car permission - When pairing a smartphone for the first time, you'll often receive a pop up on screen of your phone that asks if it's okay to share your contact list and call history with your car. You'll tap "Allow" and things should be good to go after a few minutes of waiting for your contacts to transfer over. But sometimes, if you navigate away from the bluetooth pairing screen too quickly after the connection is made, the message asking permission won't pop up, and permission isn't granted. The easiest solution here is to un-pair and pair the phone again, then wait a minute or two to see if either the request for your contacts pops up, or if the contacts transfer over on their own.
In our quest to stay connected and safe while driving, only taking the most important calls will go a long way towards keeping our focus on the road. Knowing who's calling with our contact list allows us to make that informed choice.

Categories: Technology


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