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Tuesday, 01 October 2019 13:14

BMW Enhanced Bluetooth Explained

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BMW Enhanced Bluetooth BMW Enhanced Bluetooth

Did you know that the first vehicle with Bluetooth was released in 2000? (No, it wasn’t BMW, just a Chrysler). And 18 years later this technology is still one of the most important means of bringing your phone’s features into your favorite car.

In BMWs there are two types of features you can get depending on the package or on the vehicle configurations you choose: 1) Basic BMW Bluetooth & 2) Enhanced Bluetooth (EBT).

Please keep in mind that the EBT features strongly depend on your model, your phone and even the network operator. Some cars equipped with Basic Bluetooth may have more options than they're supposed to have, and some BMWs having Enhanced Bluetooth may be limited to a smaller number of features than generally assigned to this functionality. In order to know for sure what you will get with the EBT Bluetooth audio upgrade, check the BMW Bluetooth compatibility page (for US customers; international customers should use BMW's ConnectedDrive compatibility page). Remember that this list is always subject to change; each BMW Bluetooth software update can add new features, and updating your phone's operating system can import what you can do in your car.

Now let’s see what’s the fuss around EBT is all about.

What Does BMW Enhanced Bluetooth Do?

Adding Enhanced Bluetooth to your vehicle unlocks a number of advanced Bluetooth features not found in the basic BMW Bluetooth package, including album art, music streaming and USB connectivity.

Feature

Basic Bluetooth

Enhanced Bluetooth

Hands-free calling

✔️

✔️

Access to the phone’s contact book

✔️

✔️

Pairing two phones

✔️

Music streaming

✔️

Playing music from a phone through a USB port

❌ (not possible without a BMW Y-connector cable)

✔️

Album art covers

✔️

Office (reading/sending SMS, calendar, tasks, notes)

✔️

How to Connect Your Phone To Your BMW - Bluetooth Pairing

To pair your car and phone:

  1. Start your BMW as normal.
  2. Within two minutes of starting your car, go to the Bluetooth menu of your phone and search for nearby devices.
  3. When you see a device starting with "BMW", select it.
  4. When prompted, enter your BMW Bluetooth pairing code, the same code on your phone and iDrive.
  5. Check your iDrive menu to confirm pairing was successful.

What Happens When Your Pair Two Phones with Bluetooth?

When you connect two phones to your iDrive via Bluetooth, it means, for example, that one of them can be used for streaming music, and another one for making calls which is pretty convenient. But please remember that if two devices are simultaneously connected as telephones, both of them can receive calls, but only one can make them.

BMW Bluetooth Audio Streaming

If you BMW is equipped with the CIC / ENTRY iDrive system, you will only be able to skip to the previous or next song. The NBT & NBT Evo head units provide the possibility to browse the playlist and choose any song to play.

USB Activation

Unlocking Enhanced Bluetooth in your BMW also lets you play digital audio straight from your phone through the USB port. Streaming music over USB offers better sound quality than Bluetooth and AUX, so is a great choice for audiophiles.

It doesn’t mean that without EBT, the USB port doesn’t work. With the Basic Bluetooth and S6FLA option, it is possible to play music via USB, but only from a USB stick with MP3 files, and not from your phone.

Enhanced Bluetooth vs CarPlay

Since its launch in BMWs in 2017, adding Apple CarPlay to your BMW has offered a compelling alternative to Enhanced Bluetooth. Both let you connect your phone to your BMW and access music, messages and more. Which is better depends on how you want to use your phone.

The most obvious difference is that, as an Apple product, CarPlay is only an option for iPhone users. Anybody with a Samsung or other Android phone won't be able to use it, and BMW is yet to introduce an alternative in Android Auto (though an Android Auto retrofit can help). Though the list of BMW Bluetooth compatible phones doesn't include every device, it does span both iOS and Android ecosystems.

Another important distinction is that, while EBT offers the option of Bluetooth pairing two phones simultaneously, CarPlay requires a connection to only one device.

Where Apple CarPlay really pulls ahead is in the variety of apps available. CarPlay also lets you use Google Maps or Waze for navigation, something which isn't supported through Enhanced Bluetooth. Those Enhanced Bluetooth gives limited access to your messages, CarPlay allows using a wide range of messaging services, with more apps being added all the time.

The decision may come down to how you want to access your music. BMW's Bluetooth audio streaming and USB connectivity offers a flexible way to listen to any music you have available on your device or a USB drive, while everything in CarPlay has to go through CarPlay-compatible app. It's a great fit for online streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, but it could mean missing out on some songs.

Software Activation or Hardware Upgrade? That is the question!

So, if you finally decided that your BMW needs all the EBT functions, they can be added in one of two ways:

  1. By installing a Combox retrofit
  2. Via USB/cable coding activation

How to determine what your car requires? The easiest way will be to write an email to [email protected] with your VIN and our specialists will tell you for sure. If you want to make your own small investigation, here is the info that will help you.

Model & Head unit

Type of activation

BMW 5-Series E60/E61 & 6-Series E63/E64 + CIC

Combox retrofit

BMW 3-Series E90/E91/E92/E93 before 09/10 + CIC

Combox retrofit

BMW 3-Series E90/E91/E92/E93 after 09/10 + CIC

Cable coding activation

BMW F-Series + CIC /ENTRY*/CHAMP2

Cable coding activation

BMW F-Series + ENTRYNAV/ENTRYNAVEVO

Cable coding activation

BMW F-Series + NBT/NBT Evo

USB/cable coding activation

* BMWs with the ENTRY iDrive system can sometimes require the Combox retrofit or even an additional head unit swap.

How to Code Enhanced Bluetooth BMW

Activating Enhanced Bluetooth through coding is easy, fast and secure. It requires no physical changes to your vehicle, and you'll have Enhanced Bluetooth activated in less than an hour without even leaving home. Find out more about BimmerTech's USB and cable coding process for BMWs.

In case you want to know whether your BMW is compatible with USB or cable coding activation, type in your VIN here and the website will give you the answer. You can even add more iDrive coding options to your order and have several new features activated at the same time.

BMW Bluetooth not working - How do you repair it?

The Bluetooth connection between your phone and car may occasionally stop working, particularly after a software update. Often, this is because your vehicle has deactivated certain features. To check all features are still active:

  1. Go to your iDrive's Communication menu.
  2. Select Manage mobile devices.
  3. Scroll to your mobile device and confirm that all options are checked.

If this doesn't work, try disconnecting and reconnecting your phone and vehicle. Do this first in your BMW, by navigating to the Manage mobile devices menu and selecting Delete device. Then open your phone's Bluetooth menu and select the option to forget your vehicle. You can then pair your phone and car again.

Some Myths Busted

Enhanced Bluetooth doesn’t add features to your car that it isn’t supposed to add.

Many people on the forums may state that unlocking EBT you also get BMW Assist feature, which is not true. This functionality depends on the telematics module. It also doesn’t add a wireless charging module or BMW apps which are completely different products.

Read 18720 times Last modified on Wednesday, 30 October 2019 16:32
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