Harman Audio / Infotainment: Troubleshooting Bluetooth Functionality Concerns – 2017-2019 Subaru

NUMBER: 15-230-18R
DATE: 08/21/18
REVISED: 09/05/18

APPLICABILITY: 2017-2019MY Impreza
2018-19MY Crosstrek
2018-19MY Legacy and Outback
2019MY WRX and WRX STI
2019MY Ascent
2018-19MY BRZ
SUBJECT: Harman Audio / Infotainment: Troubleshooting Bluetooth Functionality Concerns



This bulletin provides troubleshooting steps to follow when diagnosing customer concerns involving Bluetooth (BT) functionality.  Please start by completing the Harman Investigation Guide Questionnaire as it gathers important details which will help with diagnosis and will be required should the condition not be resolved by this troubleshooting.  While completing the questionnaire, follow the question flow based on the customer concern.   Answer each related question noting the results to each in detail while performing the diagnostics.  Review the entire bulletin before beginning in order to understand the flow for the listed concern.  If the concern you have is not listed, check the Service Manual “Infotainment (Diagnostics) – Diagnostics with Phenomena” section as a starting point.



REMINDER:  Customer satisfaction and retention starts with performing quality repairs.

1) Always confirm the condition as reported by the customer.

2) Visit the Subaru Technology page on the Subaru.com website to verify smart phone compatibility.

(https://www.subaru.com/engineering/ technology.html)

smart phone compatibility

As shown in the image above, the iPhone 8 may have an issue with Phonebook Download (single contact) and SMS send functions (not shown).  When the customer reports a condition involving those features, STOP as there is no further Head Unit (HU) troubleshooting required.  The issue is linked directly to their smart phone’s compatibility.  There are some cases where a particular smart phone’s compatibility has not been fully or at all tested.

For those smart phones, BT functionality operation could be unreliable.  These cases are not an indication of a Head Unit (HU) malfunction.  See the example shown in the image below.

BT functionality operation

3) It is also recommended to verify the customer’s phone setup is not causing BT related issues.

a. For any kind of car connection issue, it is important to make sure that the “Do Not Disturb” feature is turned OFF.  Some customers have not been able to shut off the “Do Not Disturb” feature while connected to their vehicles.  By default, this setting is set to manual and must be activated before enabled.

TIP:  It may be easier to disconnect and remove all Bluetooth device settings before upgrading the device then, start over from scratch.  This may save significant time in troubleshooting.

b. Can the condition be duplicated? If so, please provide the steps necessary to reproduce and if possible, a video showing the steps and concern.  It is important to know if the BT connection is not made at start up or if the connection is lost at some other point during operation.

i. If the BT connection drops during operation, confirm the device is in the paired device list located under Settings > Phone. See image below.

paired device list

ii. Verify the head unit is still listed as a paired device on the phone.

iii. If the device is not listed, try to manually reconnect through the phone settings menu: Settings > Phone > Select the paired phone and select Connect.

select Connect

iv. If the condition is still present, try confirming it with a similar model phone (capture phone model and OS version).

v. Follow the Service Manual basic diagnostic procedure forBLUETOOTH CONNECTION CANNOT BE ESTABLISHED”.

4) This section addresses concerns with Bluetooth Phonebook or SMS synchronization as referenced in 2) above.

a. Confirm the phonebook / SMS access request was granted when phone was paired to the HU. When the pairing procedure is performed and the device is connected, the phone may prompt the user to accept access for phonebook.  The HU will prompt to initiate phonebook download.  Accept this pop up by pressing “Download”.


b. Phone behavior may differ between models and OS versions and between Android phones (i) and Apple iPhones (ii):

i. Android phone

1. Android phone will prompt user on the phone for phonebook access as shown to the right.

phonebook access

2. Also, in the case of Android phones, a second pop-up will appear requesting access to SMS messages.

second pop-up

ii. Apple iPhone:

1. The iPhone will download the phonebook after pressing “Download” on HU if the Sync Contacts option is enabled. NOTE: Some versions of iOS will prompt the user for phonebook access as shown to the right.

Sync Contacts option

2. For iPhones, after pairing is complete, access must be enabled on the phone for SMS. To do this, go to Settings > Bluetooth > Select the paired HU labeled “Subaru BT” and make sure both Sync Contacts and Show Notifications are enabled.

Sync Contacts and Show Notifications are enabled

3. Once enabled, the iPhone must be disconnected then reconnected for the changes to apply for SMS download ONLY. See section 5a “How to Pair an Apple Device”.

c. If the device is already paired and connected, confirm the Phonebook Download option is enabled. To do this go to Settings > Phone, select the paired phone and enable Phonebook Download as shown below.

Phonebook Download option

NOTE:  The device may still require performing Steps a. and b. above after enabling Phonebook Download on the HU.

5) This section will help to assure Android and Apple phones are properly paired.

a. How to pair an Apple device:

i. Go to Settings on the vehicle infotainment icon screen.

Go to Settings

ii. Select “Phone”

iii. Select “Add Device”

Add Device

iv. This screen will be displayed when pairing mode is in progress. Make note of the “Device Name:” (Subaru BT).

Device Name

v. On the iOS/Apple device, go to settings. Location on home screen will vary.

vi. Select “Bluetooth

Select “Bluetooth”

vi. Select “Subaru BT” or whatever the device name is from step iv.

Select “Subaru BT” or whatever the device name is from step iv


viii. Select “Pair”

ix. Select Allow to “Allow Contacts and Favorites to Sync?”

Select Allow


x. On the vehicle screen, select “Download” phonebook contacts.

select “Download”

xi. On the iOS/Apple device, the vehicle’s Bluetooth should now be listed under Bluetooth settings. Select the blue “i” next to the device name (Subaru BT).

xii. Confirm “Show Notifications” and “Sync Contacts” are enabled.

Confirm “Show Notifications” and “Sync Contacts” are enabled

xiii. At this point, the iOS/Apple device is paired. The vehicle may need to be restarted to fully complete the pairing process so messaging and other features work

xiv. If smartphones are not connecting with the HU via Bluetooth, try it again after removing all the connection history from the phone.  This may help the smartphone and HU “find each other” easier when performing the Bluetooth connection process.

b. How to pair Android Device:

i. Go to Settings on the vehicle infotainment icon screen.

Go to Settings

ii. Go to the “Phone” page

iii. Select “Add Device”

Add Device

iv. This screen will be displayed when pairing mode is in progress. Make note of the “Device Name:” (Subaru BT).

“Device Name:” (Subaru BT)

v. On the Android device, go to Settings. This step will vary by Android device. Settings can always be found under Apps. On newer Android devices, Apps is opened by swiping UP from the bottom of the screen.

vi. Select “Connected devices” or “connections”.

Select “Connected devices” or “connections”

vii. Select “Bluetooth

viii. At this step, either select “Pair new device” or, the phone will already begin showing nearby devices to add.

ix. Select “Subaru BT” or whatever the device name is from step 4.

Select “Subaru BT” or whatever the device name is from step 4

x. Select “PAIR” and ensure “Allow access to your contacts and call history” are enabled (checked).

xi. Select “YES” to the Message access request” pop up.

Select “YES” to the Message access request” pop up

xii. On the vehicle screen, select “Download” phonebook contacts.

select “Download” phonebook contacts

xiii. At this point, the Android phone should be paired and ready to use.

xiv. If smartphones are not connecting with the HU via Bluetooth, try it again after removing all the connection history from the phone.  This may help the smartphone and HU to “find each other” easier when performing the Bluetooth connection process.

6) This section addresses concerns with BT call handling.

a. Capture the steps required to reproduce the concern. If possible, record a video showing the steps and the condition.  Please note the model, OS version, and service carrier of the customer’s phone.

b. For concerns regarding holding calls and / or swapping calls (call waiting), please note CDMA networks do not support this functionality. Some phones may have the ability to perform these actions internally but in general, CDMA carriers (such as Sprint or Verizon) do not support these features.

c. For concerns related to the audio quality, verify microphone operation. See figure below for Line Diag display of Microphone check.

Line Diag display

d. Follow the Service Manual basic diagnostic procedure for SOUND DOES NOT COME OUT FROM THE SPEAKER. See image below for Line Diag display of Audio Check.

Line Diag display

e. If the concern persists, swap a known good HU into the problem vehicle. If component swap addressed concern, request exchange for the suspect component.

IMPORTANT CAUTION: Always disconnect the Telematics Data Communication Module (DCM) BEFORE any swapping of head units. DCMs must NEVER be swapped or the customer’s services will not function and DCM replacement may be required to resolve.

7) If the above diagnostics and procedures do not resolve the customer’s concern with Bluetooth functionality, complete a fresh Harman Investigation Guide Questionnaire documenting the customer’s concern and the results of each diagnostic step in this bulletin. If possible, capture a video of the condition then contact the SOA Techline to review the next steps.  Techline will request you send the completed questionnaire, step-by-step bulletin test results and any videos of the condition.



For vehicles within the Basic New Car Limited Warranty period or covered by an active Subaru Added Security Gold plan, this repair may be submitted using the following claim information:

Labor Description Labor Operation # Labor



  • SOA strongly discourages the printing and/or local storage of service information as previously released information and electronic publications may be updated at any time.
  • Always check for any open recalls or campaigns anytime a vehicle is in for servicing.
  • Always refer to STIS for the latest service information before performing any repairs.

NUMBER: 15-230-18R
REVISED: 09/05/18



Download (PDF, 2.13MB)

NUMBER: 15-230-18
DATE: 08/21/18



Download (PDF, 2.13MB)


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