The car is a Subaru WRX 2012 with the base radio.

It did reconnect automatically for the last two years until I changed phones, deleted the old phone profile, then paired the new phone. It does work correctly when phone is selected, but when I restart the car I have to manually select the phone's profile in the car's bluetooth menu. In the past the phone would always connect and music would play within a few seconds of restarting the car, and I didn't have to do anything manually.

I have tried other phones to troubleshoot and still have same problem: the phone will pair, and everything will work, but after restarting the car it won't switch to the phone automatically and I have to manually select the phone in the car menu.

I want the old behavior back where the car "sees" the phone and switches to it right away when I start the car, continuing a phone call in-car or play music over the speakers seamlessly.

  • Since the only thing that changed is the phone, is it possible the phone is the problem? Do you know that this phone should connect as the old phone did? Is it possible to add the old phone as a new phone and see if it exhibits the old or new behavior?
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 15:38
  • Old phone not available. Different (Android) phone still not correcting issue.
    – geoO
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 3:56
  • 3
    See my answer below. What happened was that the dealer did the pairing when I bought the car, and I didn't see that he used the hands-free system and not the radio button controls. It's the method of pairing that creates the different behavior.
    – geoO
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


OK, a month later I figured it out!

Here's what finally worked:

  1. Delete all duplicate audio devices in the Bluetooth menu
  2. Pair the phone using the hands-free system via the steering wheel "off hook" button

This seems arbitrary but it solved my problem. See the owner's manual page 5-38 for the exact procedure.

If you start pairing using the the radio controls you are pairing as Bluetooth Audio (page 5-33) and the car treats this differently. Puzzling.

I have the base radio so I can't speak for the up-level radio that includes navigation, but it's something to try.

Googling using different terms to reflect what I now already know I found this link which contains a lot of people with similar problems and it also explains very well:


  • 3
    thank you for taking the time to put this out here for others. i am having the same issue. my first setup the dealer did the hands free and the phone worked perfectly until i got a new phone. then the method used was thru the radio. that has failed. i will use this to fix my problem.
    – user11422
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 15:38
  • 1
    Thanks for posting the follow up. I'm not having this problem but I appreciate knowing there's a quick fix if this does ever happen to me.
    – user12894
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 12:10
  • 1
    I just did this, and it worked. Delete any existing Bluetooth devices through the radio menu. Press the OFF hook button on the steering wheel. Use the radio buttons or voice control to continue. SETUP / PHONE SETUP / PAIR PHONE / RECORD NAME. Say the owner's name (at least 2 syllables, so you may need to say the name twice or add a last or middle name). CONFIRM. Go into your phone's bluetooth menu, select CAR MULTIMEDIA, and enter the passkey (1234 in my case). Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 16:48
  • You may also want to see page 310-311 here: joomag.com/magazine/… Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 16:49
  • 1
    2013 Impreza with CM621UB radio here... this worked perfectly -- thanks! Curious side note is that the radio remembered a bunch of ancient long-deleted phones when working through the steering wheel interface; those phones weren't visible through the radio interface. Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 18:42

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