Car Care: Get your car in tune with your phone
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Car Care with AA Motoring
We love our cars, and we love our phones. In fact, 70 per cent of New Zealanders now have a smartphone, according to a recent report.
So why does it sometimes seem so hard to get your music playlists synced with the stereo, before you set off on the road?
Let’s see if we can make it simpler by looking at three of the most common ways you can link up your mobile with your motor.
First we’ll tackle Bluetooth. By transferring data, including music files, from your phone to your car’s entertainment system remotely, you don’t run the risk of loose connections or distracting cables getting in the way when you’re driving.
Bluetooth is most commonly found in your smartphone’s settings, so make sure both it and the car ignition is switched on, with the stereo working. Once Bluetooth is switched on, scroll and select the vehicle’s Bluetooth profile on your phone — it’s often named after the vehicle make and model.
You may then be prompted to enter the same four digit pin on both the car’s system and your mobile — this is the final stage of the pairing process.
Your car’s display should then show your smartphone’s “name” which you need to select. If your music is playing on your smartphone, it should then transfer to your speakers straight away but with some models, you’ll need to go in to the car’s actual audio system and select “external devices” or “Bluetooth”, or something similar.
If you have an iPhone 5 (or later) and a car with a stereo that supports Apple’s CarPlay, just use your mobile’s USB cable. Plug in your iPhone to the CarPlay USB port, sometimes labelled with a CarPlay icon or a smartphone icon. If the CarPlay Home screen doesn’t appear, you can also select the CarPlay logo on your car’s display. Your vehicle ignition will need to be switched on and, once connected, you can start listening to all your favourite music.
For those with an Android running 5.0 software (Lollipop) or higher, there’s Android Auto, which boasts similar features to CarPlay. It’s also accessed via the USB port and, once plugged in you’ll need to select “accept” to turn on notifications which allows you to see your music on your car’s display. If you’ve got a voice control button on your steering wheel, it makes the usability of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay even easier.
One final option, and perhaps the easiest to set up, is to connect the cellphone’s headphone jack and the stereo’s auxiliary input. You’ll need a double ended male, 3.5mm audio cable and once you find the aux setting corresponding to the connector you are using — usually marked as aux or aux1 — you’re good to go. Check your volume is up on your device as this will affect the sound on your entertainment system.
Depending on whether you have a basic stereo or a top-of-the-line one, there are different options to choose from and sometimes people just aren’t aware of some of the functions available. Do you sometimes find yourself on the road, listening to a crackly radio as you have dropped the signal? Maybe you don’t have to be. If you’ve exhausted your CD collection, the answer may have been sitting in your pocket the whole time.