How to Pair a Phone With Your Car (2023)

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows the creation of secure local networks, making it perfect for short-range connections between devices like your phone and your car's head unit or your phone and a hands-free Bluetooth car kit orheadset.

To use your cellphone forhands-freecalling, you need:

  • A Bluetooth-enabled cellphone.
  • A Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system or car audio system.
  • The PIN for your infotainment or audio system.
  • Additionally, it might be helpful to have a phone mount.

Once you have those things, follow the steps and instructions outlined in the sections below.

Verify That Your Phone Has Bluetooth, and Turn It On

Pairing a phone to a car audio system varies depending on the phone and the infotainment or audio system's setup. Most of these steps translate in one way or another regardless of what type of phone you have and the car you drive. The first step, in any case, is to make sure that you have the right tools.

The first step to pairing a phone with a car stereo is to verify that your phone has Bluetooth.

Turn on your phone, if it's turned off, and verify that you have Bluetooth. The Bluetooth symbol looks like a capital B overlaid with an X. If you're familiar with runes, it's a bind rune made up of "hagall" and "bjarkan," owing to the Scandinavian origin of the technology. If you see this symbol anywhere in your phone's status area or the menus, your phone probably has Bluetooth.

While going through the menus, make a note of where the "make phone discoverable" and "search for devices" options are. You'll need those in a little while. Most phones remain discoverable for a couple of minutes, though, so you don't have to activate that yet.

If your head unit or phone doesn't have Bluetooth, there are other ways to get Bluetooth in your car.

Check Infotainment or Audio System Phone Settings

Some vehicles have a button that you can press to start the pairing process, and other vehicles allow you to say a voice command, such as "pair Bluetooth." Other vehicles are complicated in that you must look through the infotainment system. In this case, the next step is to navigate to the telephone settings in the infotainment system menu.

If you can't find a "pair Bluetooth" button, and your car doesn't support voice commands, read the owner's manual to find out how to get your infotainment system or car stereo to pair with your phone.

Search for Your Phone or Set the Car System to Discoverable

This step is where you'll need to know where the "set to discoverable" and "search for devices" options are on your phone. Depending on your audio or infotainment system's setup, either your car searches for your cellphone or vice versa. In either case, both devices must be ready to search or be found within the same window of two minutes or so.

In this case, navigate to "Bluetooth" in the phone settings menu on the infotainment system toget started. Your infotainment system or Bluetooth car stereo may be slightly different in the particulars, but the basic idea should be the same.

Set Your Phone to Discoverable or Scan for Devices

After your car is either looking for your phone or ready to be found, switch to your phone. Since you're dealing with a limited amount of time to complete this step, have your phone in the correct menu. The exact steps depend on how your head unit works.

If the car is looking for your phone, set your phone to "discoverable" so the vehicle can ping your phone, find it, and pair with it.

If your car's head unit itself is set to "discoverable," have your phone "scan for devices." This mode allows it to look for any devices (including your car audio system, wireless keyboards, and other Bluetooth peripherals) in the area available for connection.

The pairing process may not work at first. It could be due to the time constraints and one of the devices giving up before the other is ready to pair, so try a few times before giving up.

There are other reasons that Bluetooth won't pair,from interference to Bluetooth incompatibility. So,don't give up if it doesn't work perfectly the first time.

Choose the Bluetooth Device to Pair

If your phone successfully finds your car's hands-free calling system, it shows up in the list of available devices. In this case, the Toyota Camry's hands-free calling system is called "hands-free" on the list.

After selecting the device, enter a passkey or ​passphrase to pair the devices. Each car comes with a preset passkey, which you can typically find in the user manual. If you don't have the manual, set a passkey from your infotainment system's phone settings menu. And if that doesn't work, your local dealer may be able to provide you with the original passkey.

Many Bluetooth devices use "1234," "1111," and other simple passkeys by default.

If you entered the correct passkey, your phone will pair with the hands-free calling system in your car.

If it doesn't, repeat the steps you already took and make sure that you put the correct passkey in. Since it's possible to change the default passkey, the default might not work in some pre-owned vehicles. In that case, pair your phone again after changing the passkey to something else.

How to Send and Receive Your Calls Hands-Free

After pairing your Bluetooth phone with your car, make sure that everything works correctly. Depending on your vehicle's specifics, you can go about that in a couple of ways.

In this Toyota Camry, the buttons on the steering wheel activate and shut down the handsfree calling mode. You can place calls by accessing the phone through the infotainment system touch screen.

Some vehicles have a single button that activates the voice control functionality of the infotainment system. Use this button to place calls, set navigation waypoints, control the radio, and perform other functions.

Other vehicles have always-on voice controls that activate when you issue commands. Others have buttons that activate voice commands on external devices (like the Siri button in GM's Spark.)

What Is Bluetooth Pairing?

The process of setting up a Bluetooth network is referred to as "pairing" because the network consists of only one "pair" of devices. Although it is often possible to pair one device to multiple other devices, each connection is secure and unique.

To pair a cellphone to a car stereo, the phone and the head unit must be Bluetooth compatible.

Most carinfotainment systemsoffer Bluetooth connectivity, which allows for seamless hands-free calling. This same functionality is also offered by both aftermarket and OEM Bluetooth car stereos, and you can add it into older systems with ahands-free car kit.


  • Why won't my phone connect to my car?

    If your phone won't connect to your car, make sure Bluetooth is enabled and restart your phone. If you've previously connected your phone to your car, you might need to unpair your phone and then pair it again.

  • How do I find my car keys with my phone?

    Get a car key locator like a Tile or KeySmart Pro. Some key locators use Bluetooth while others rely on radio frequency (RF) transmissions.

  • How do I track my car with my phone?

    Use a phone tracker app and keep your phone with you when you drive, or get a GPS car tracker that syncs with your phone.

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