How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that won’t sync to a Car Bluetooth System [Troubleshooting Guide]

Seeing the rising demand for luxurious, safe and smart vehicles, leading automotive manufacturers are likewise increasingly developing cars with in-vehicle infotainment system. With this system, car owners can take advantage of a combined entertainment and information features for an enhanced in-vehicle experience. Among the services of an in-vehicle infotainment system would include information services, entertainment services and phone services.

Each of these services can by utilized and synced with your smart device through wireless radios for safe and smart driving. This means that you can pair and sync your car’s infotainment system with a compatible smartphone. And the usual setup is using Bluetooth. In case you will have trouble pairing or syncing your car’s Bluetooth system with your iPhone XR, this post highlights some helpful tweaks you can try on. Feel free to refer to this walkthrough whenever you need help.

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.

Troubleshooting iPhone XR that won’t sync to a Car Bluetooth System

Before troubleshooting, verify your car’s Bluetooth and iPhone XR system compatibility. Not all cars are compatible with the iPhone XR’s Bluetooth technology. You can double-check and ask your car manufacturer about the car’s Bluetooth system and the devices included in its support. If your car is compatible with your iPhone XR but you can sync them for some reasons, then go ahead and try applying these subsequent solutions.

First solution: Restart your iPhone and your car Bluetooth system.

If this is the first syncing attempt and it fails, then it may be just a minor glitch on iOS or your car’s infotainment system. To deal with these minor glitches, performing a restart is recommended. So consider this as your first workaround.

On your iPhone XR, perform a soft reset with 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.

On your car Bluetooth, locate the ON/OFF switch or POWER button then press it until the device restarts or acts like it’s refreshing. If necessary, refer to the given instructions on the car Bluetooth device’s user manual.

Second Solution: Disable then re-enable Bluetooth on your iPhone XR.

Minor Bluetooth errors can also be rectified by restarting the phone’s Bluetooth functions. Restarting Bluetooth on an iPhone can be done in different ways.

To restart Bluetooth on your iPhone XR, you can toggle the Bluetooth OFF and ON again. Here’s how:

  1. Head over to Settings-> Bluetooth menu and then tap the switch next to Bluetooth to turn it OFF.
  2. While Bluetooth is turned, restart/soft reset your iPhone XR.
  3. After your phone reboots, head back to Settings-> Bluetooth menu.
  4. Then toggle the switch to turn Bluetooth ON again.
  5. Wait until all Bluetooth devices including your car Bluetooth appears in the list.
  6. Select your car Bluetooth then retry pairing.

If you aren’t sure how to pair your car Bluetooth device with your iPhone, check the user manual. Most cars require a phone setup on the car display.

In the case where you’ve paired or connected multiple phones to your car Bluetooth, try to change the name of your device.

  • To do this, head over to Settings-> General-> About-> Name section and then enter a new name. After renaming your device, retry pairing them.

Alternatively, you can carry out the Airplane Mode trick. This method has been found to do some wonders when dealing with minor problems affecting the phone’s wireless functions. If you wish to try your luck in this tweak, then here’s how it’s done:

  1. Navigate to your iPhone Settings-> Airplane Mode.
  2. Tap the switch next to turn Airplane Mode ON. Doing so will disable all wireless radios on the phone.
  3. While Airplane mode is turned ON, restart/soft reset your iPhone XR.
  4. As soon as your phone boots up, head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again. All wireless functions are then re-enabled.
  6. Navigate to Settings-> Bluetooth menu, then retry pairing your iPhone with your car Bluetooth. Make sure that your car Bluetooth device is in discoverable mode and within range.

If that doesn’t work either, then try the next applicable solutions.

To refresh your car’s Bluetooth system, look for and then press on the RESET button. Or refer to the user manual for the instructions.

Third solution: Unpair or forget old/unused Bluetooth devices from your phone.

The problem could also be due to a corrupted Bluetooth connection saved on the phone. If you’ve previously paired your iPhone XR with other Bluetooth devices, then try to remove or forget those Bluetooth devices. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the information (i) icon next to the Bluetooth device that you want to forget or delete from your phone.
  4. Select the option to Forget This Device.
  5. If prompted, tap to confirm action.

You can also try unpairing your car Bluetooth from your iPhone using the same method. Doing so can help fix the problem if it’s attributed to a corrupted Bluetooth connection. Once you’re done clearing all unused Bluetooth devices, try connecting your iPhone XR to your car Bluetooth device and see if it works. If not, then try other methods to troubleshoot further.

Fourth solution: Install new update for your iPhone and car Bluetooth device.

If the problem is associated with some system bugs on the phone or car Bluetooth device, then installing new updates will likely fix it. New updates usually embed patches or codes to fix widespread bugs and associated problems. If your iPhone can connect to Wi-Fi and the Internet is fast and stable, then you can check for new updates to download and install with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Software Update.

If an update is available, a notification will show up. Read the update details and system requirements then follow the onscreen prompts to download and install new update on your phone.

Also consider installing any new firmware updates for your car Bluetooth device.

After installing new updates, reboot your iPhone and your car Bluetooth system and then try pairing them again to see if it works.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

The problem may be attributed to major network errors if none of the prior methods is able to solve it. At this point, you may have to resort to some resets. To rule out network errors that might have caused major Bluetooth problems on your iPhone XR, follow these steps to reset its network settings:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset Network Settings. This will erase your current network settings including Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to proceed.
  6. Tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

Wait until your phone is finished resetting and then reboots by itself. As soon as it boots up, turn Bluetooth back ON and then set up your car Bluetooth system. Once everything is set, try pairing them again and see if they’re already able to sync. If that still failed, then you’re more likely dealing with more complex problems on either your iPhone or car’s Bluetooth system.

Seek more help

You may escalate the problem to your car manufacturer to seek further assistance and verify if the car system is compatible with the iOS 12 platform. You can also try pairing your iPhone XR with another Bluetooth-enabled device like a Bluetooth headset or speaker. If it successfully pairs with other Bluetooth devices, then the problem is with your car’s Bluetooth system. If your iPhone isn’t able to pair with any other compatible Bluetooth accessories, then you should contact Apple Support for more advanced solutions and further recommendations.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XR smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XR. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.