Q: Apple swapped out my previous iPhone 5s to a new iPhone 5s and now I cannot sync my contacts from my iPhone to my vehicle (Mercedes-Benz 2014 E-Class). The contacts are still there in my new iPhone, but now they’re not available in the vehicle. Mercedes-Benz customer support says contacts can’t be transferred from an iPhone 5s to my Benz, but I know that’s bogus because my contacts were originally transferred from the previous iPhone. Is it true that syncing from an iPhone 5s to a Benz is impossible?
A: Well, as you say, you could do it before, so it definitely doesn’t sound like it’s impossible, although Mercedes-Benz may not “officially” support this configuration, or they may not understand exactly what you’re looking for. The most likely problem you’re experiencing is that you simply need to re-pair your new iPhone 5s to your vehicle — that is, go through the standard Bluetooth pairing process again. Even though the replacement iPhone was likely restored from your old backup, it has a different hardware ID for Bluetooth purposes, and your vehicle will therefore see it as a different device, even if it still appears to be paired. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for deleting your Bluetooth phone pairing from the in-car system, and do the same in your Bluetooth section in your iOS Settings app. Once that’s cleared on both ends, re-initiate the procedure to repair both devices as if they were new.
Once paired, you should also go into Settings, Bluetooth on your iPhone and tap the “i” symbol beside the entry that represents your Mercedes-Benz. This should bring up a list of advanced options that allow you to control contact synchronization with your vehicle. Ensure that “Sync Contacts” is enabled, and that checkmarks appear beside the categories and groups of contacts that you want to sync. If this option is turned off, your vehicle won’t be able to “see” any contacts on your iPhone and the sync will naturally fail. Some vehicles will notify you of this situation, while others will just fail silently as if the iPhone doesn’t support contact sync at all.