How to fix an Apple iPhone XS Max that won’t sync to car Bluetooth after installing iOS 12.1.4 update [Troubleshooting Guide]

There are many possible reasons as to why your iPhone won’t connect to a Bluetooth device. Among the underlying causes are signal obstructions, signal interference, system incompatibility, and disabled Bluetooth feature on either device. Proximity or distance between the devices to connect also matters when pairing Bluetooth devices. That said, make sure that your Bluetooth devices are close to each other, turned on and fully charged. For as long as all these requisites are met, Bluetooth pairing and syncing should be working as intended. But then again there are other factors that would cause you some problems with Bluetooth and that would include network problems and bad updates.

Tackled in this post is a relevant issue on the Apple iPhone XS Max that’s unable to connect or sync to a car Bluetooth after updating to iOS version 12.1.4. This however could be just an isolated issue but in case you will end up having the same Bluetooth syncing problem after installing the iOS 12.1.4 update on your new iPhone, I’ve mapped out a few helpful solutions for you to try on. Read on to learn what to do if your iPhone XS Max cannot connect to a car Bluetooth after updating to the latest iOS version.

Before we move on to our troubleshooting, if you are looking for a solution to a different issue, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems reported by our readers. Find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If you still need our help after that, then feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS Max that won’t sync with car Bluetooth?

Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that your car Bluetooth device is turned on and that your iPhone isn’t locked. Also verify if Bluetooth is enabled on both devices. If this is the first time you try to connect or sync your iPhone XS Max with your car Bluetooth system, make sure they’re compatible or your car’s Bluetooth device works with your iPhone XS Max or iOS 12 platform. If all these are met but still couldn’t get your Bluetooth devices to sync, try any of these subsequent tweaks.

First solution: Toggle Bluetooth off/on, then restart iPhone and car Bluetooth system.

Your previous iPhone settings might have been altered automatically when the new update was implemented. That said, it’s possible that Bluetooth has been disabled on your phone. You can verify that by heading to your iPhone Settings-> Bluetooth menu. If Bluetooth is still turned on, then tap the switch to turn it OFF for a few seconds and then tap to turn it back ON. If it’s off, then simply tap the switch to enable the feature.

If that doesn’t do any good, soft reset or restart your iPhone XS Max and your car Bluetooth system. This will help clear minor software glitches and errors that might have caused syncing problems. To soft reset your iPhone XS Max, simply follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone reboots.

To restart your car Bluetooth system, just follow the usual procedure or refer to the steps from the user manual. Make sure that the car Bluetooth device is in discoverable mode.

After restarting, retry pairing your iPhone XS Max and car Bluetooth again and see if it’s successful. If not, then try other options.

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Second solution: Toggle Airplane Mode on and off.

This is another simple old trick that’s proven effective in rectifying wireless problems, particularly Bluetooth connection or syncing errors among iPhones. The Airplane mode trick works by giving a quick restart on the phone’s wireless functions thereby eliminating minor flaws that caused relevant symptoms. If you wish to give it a try, then here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select Airplane Mode.
  3. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch to enable the feature.
  4. Restart/soft reset your iPhone.
  5. Go back to Settings-> Airplane mode menu.
  6. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again.

Enable Bluetooth on your iPhone XS Max, put your car Bluetooth in discoverable mode, then retry pairing or syncing. If it’s successful, then you’re good. If not, then troubleshoot further.

Third solution: Forget car Bluetooth from your iPhone then add it back.

If you were able to pair your iPhone XS Max with your car Bluetooth system before the update and then suddenly it failed, then it’s possible that the Bluetooth connection was corrupted. If none of the previous methods is able to fix it, then you need to remove the erratic connection to remove pairing or unpair devices and then start all over. So here’s what you need to do then:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Tap to enable Bluetooth, if needed.
  4. Find then select your car Bluetooth device from the list.
  5. Tap the information “i” icon next to the name of the device.
  6. Then select the option to Forget this Device.
  7. If prompted, tap Forget Device to confirm action.

The selected device will then be removed from the list and unpaired from your iPhone. If you see any other Bluetooth devices, follow the same steps to forget them all so as not to let any of them cause conflict or interfere syncing process between your iPhone and car Bluetooth system.

  1. After restarting both devices, go to your iPhone Settings-> Bluetooth menu then turn On Bluetooth.
  2. Find your car Bluetooth in the list. If you don’t see it, make sure the device is in discovery mode.
  3. Select the device when it appears on your device.
  4. Then tap the option to Pair.
  5. If prompted, enter the PIN or passcode to continue and authorized pairing.

Allow your devices to pair and sync. If they still don’t, then you may need to try other possible solutions including settings reset on your iPhone.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

The ultimate solution to network-related issues including post-update network bugs is a network settings reset. This will erase all your current network configurations and relevant information along with the erratic settings inflicting wireless connectivity issues and Bluetooth syncing errors on the phone. For starters, performing a network settings reset on an iPhone XS Max is carried out this way:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm network settings reset.

The phone should reboot automatically when the reset is finished and then loads the default network settings. This means you need to set up your Wi-Fi network to reconnect to the Internet and enable Bluetooth to pair your iPhone XS Max to other Bluetooth-enabled devices in range, particularly your car Bluetooth.

Fifth solution: Update car Bluetooth system to the latest version.

If the problem isn’t fixed by any of the above procedures, then there’s a higher chance that the car Bluetooth system is at fault. To make sure it’s using the same Bluetooth system with that of your iPhone XS Max, try to check and install any available update on the car’s Bluetooth system. You can refer to the user manual for the steps on how to install updates on your car system.

Seek more help

Try pairing your iPhone XS Max to other Bluetooth-enabled devices or compatible accessories. If the pairing is successful, then there must be a problem with the car Bluetooth system that needs to be resolved. It could be a setting that needs to be enabled or disabled to make the device work with your iPhone XS Max. You can ask help from your car manufacturer to configure the car’s Bluetooth system accordingly.

You can also escalate the problem to Apple Support, if you were able to pair your iPhone XS Max with your car Bluetooth prior to the update. It’s imperative to let Apple know so they can make further assessments on their end to determine whether or not it’s an update bug that requires a dedicated fix patch.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix the problem with your device. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!

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