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  • Hands-Free Pairing of iPhone 4 with GM Cars for Safer Driving

    Posted on February 8th, 2011 Edward A. Brutscher 2 comments
    Girl on phone while driving

    Hands-free for Safer Driving

    One of the most pressing public safety issues today is the danger of talking on a cell phone while driving.  Fortunately, many car manufacturers are aware of this issue and now offer bluetooth hands-free calling on their newer model cars or trucks.  This feature allows you to make calls at the press of a button through your car’s radio or stereo system.  Making calls this way keeps your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.  While it doesn’t prevent all accidents, it can reduce them.

    I have previously paired my iPhone 3gs with my 2010 Chevrolet Malibu to allow for hands-free calling.  I simply turned on the bluetooth function on my iPhone and then pressed the hands-free calling button.  The hands-free system recognized my iPhone and gave me a code to enter on my iPhone, which I did.  It was a relatively painless process.

    However, my 3gs recently broke a speaker and since I was eligible for an upgrade, I went ahead and purchased an iPhone 4.  I didn’t think anything about it until I got in the car and realized that my iPhone 4 wasn’t paired with my hands-free system.  I tried to go through the same steps I did to pair my 3gs, but my GM system couldn’t or wouldn’t recognize my new phone.  After some effort I was finally able to pair my new iPhone 4 with my GM bluetooth hands-free calling system.  Here are some important points and steps to take to pair your new iPhone 4 with your GM bluetooth hands-free calling system.

    First, understand that you should restore your new iPhone 4 on iTunes before pairing it, otherwise, after you restore your information on iTunes, your GM vehicle will think its a new phone and you’ll have to pair it all over again.  Another unfortunate mistake I made.

    Second, the pairing process will not work while your driving, so don’t try to to pair your new iPhone unless your parked.

    Third, you must delete your old phone or request to add another phone to your system.  Since my old phone didn’t work anymore, I simply deleted it.  But if your wife uses your car, or vice versa, you might need to add the phone as a secondary and not delete the first phone.  I did not have to do this so it may require different steps, so check your manual, if this doesn’t work.

    I took the following steps to delete my old phone and pair my new iPhone 4 with my 2010 Chevrolet Malibu.

    1.  Press your handsfree calling button.  When the system says “ready”, say “bluetooth”.  At the next prompt say “delete.”

    2.  The system will ask you which phone you wish to delete.  Mine was “Ed’s iPhone”.  I told it to delete that phone.  It confirmed the delete and then deleted the phone from the system.

    3.  The system will next prompt back to “ready”.  Next say “bluetooth”.

    4.  The system will then ask for the next prompt.  Say “pair”.  The system will now search for any bluetooth enabled devices.  Make sure your device is enabled.  You should see your new iPhone recognize “General Motors” and attempt a connection.

    5.  At the same time the GM system will give you a four digit code.  On the iPhone, you’ll see a box asking for the code.  Put in the four digit code and the iPhone should show as “connected”.

    6.  Once connected the system will ask you to name your new device.  I renamed mine “Ed’s iPhone” just like before, but you can give your phone any name you like.  The system should confirm your choice.

    7.  Once your new device name is confirmed, exit your hands-free calling system and your phone will now be paired each time you enter your car.  This will allow you to make and receive calls through your hands-free calling system for safer driving.

    Understand that any stored information tags, including names and numbers, will not be deleted by removing your old phone from its “pair” with the hands-free calling system.  My contacts and phone numbers were still stored, and I’ve since used my iPhone 4 just like my old 3gs.

    These instructions allowed me to pair my new iPhone 4 with my 2010 Chevy Malibu.  Please review your particular vehicle’s manual to determine if your GM vehicle supports hands-free calling and the new iPhone 4 before attempting to pair.  If you GM vehicle supported 3gs, it should support the newer iPhone version.

    I have done my best to recount the steps I took to pair my new iPhone 4 with my GM car.  The specific words used and the particular steps taken may vary depending on your GM make and model.  This is merely meant to be a guide, and if you’re unsuccessful in pairing your iPhone 4 with your GM vehicle, make sure to check your manual or contact your local GM dealer if you think there may be a problem.  GM also has a website that shows compatible phones for its system at

    If your vehicle does not have a hands-free system, you might think about getting a bluetooth headset or other stand alone bluetooth hands-free system.  This will allow you to make calls while keeping your eyes and hands on the important task of driving.  Remember, the safest way to drive is to avoid all distractions, including using your cell phone, whether you have a hands-free system or not.


    2 responses to “Hands-Free Pairing of iPhone 4 with GM Cars for Safer Driving” RSS icon

    • I’m curious if the iPhone was through AT&T or Verizon, as I’ve heard there are issues with getting the iPhone 4 to fully work with GM’s bluetooth system as the iPhone needs an iOS update of some sorts.

    • The iPhone in this story was through AT&T. I can’t imagine that Bluetooth through Verizon iPhone could be different. But, that would be up to GM whether or not it was supported.

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