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Car clinic: How can I get my Apple iPhone 5S to talk to my BMW 5-series?

After swapping my iPhone 4 for the latest 5S model I am no longer able to make hands-free calls in my 2010 BMW 535i SE. Is there a way to restore this feature?


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Your car clinic expert

LADY DRIVER
Emma Smith is a journalist specialising in consumer issues and is a regular Driving contributor

Q. After swapping my iPhone 4 for the latest 5S model I am no longer able to make hands-free calls in my 2010 BMW 535i SE. Is there a way to restore this feature?
JR, Cardiff

A. You need an update for your car’s communication software to get it to work with the version of Bluetooth used by the iPhone 5S. We spoke to BMW, which told us that the 5S is currently unsupported and it had no information on when an update would become available.

To get updates out to owners in a timely fashion car makers are reliant on phone manufacturers providing them with the specifications of new handsets before they go on sale. Apple is very sensitive about information leaking out before a new product launches and often waits until a handset is on sale before sharing technical data with commercial partners.

An update is available for the previous model, the iPhone 5, and other BMW owners have found that installing it allows the 5S to be recognised by the car. The process is straightforward: go to bmw.co.uk, select the Owners tab, then go to Mobile Devices and Software update. Enter your car’s seven-digit VIN — vehicle identification number — and a list of applicable updates will be displayed. Download the one you need to a memory stick, transfer the stick to the USB port of the car’s audio system, open the Settings and select Software Update for the process to begin. ES