Quick tip for older Subarus

How to enable Bluetooth auto-connect

I have a new-to-me 2013 Subaru Forester, base model, no frills. The radio is fine, but with one bothersome issue – every time I start the car I need to manually connect (not pair, just select and connect) my iPhone. I finally figured out the issue, and it’s an odd one. It turns out this old radio has two competing Bluetooth systems. The first, and how I had my phone paired initially, is accessed by the on-screen menu and radio buttons. The second is accessed through voice control, using the steering wheel voice button. Neither system is aware of the other’s Bluetooth connections.

It turns out that a previous owner’s phone was still in the voice-activated system, and had priority. Once I navigated the voice system to delete that phone pairing, and paired my phone through the same voice interface, auto-connect started working.