Tuesday, 1 February 2011
Bluetooth issues in iOS 4.2
Sony MEX BT-3800U, shown above), and after using an iPod Touch (2nd generation, running iOS 4.2.1) plugged to our previous car audio, I decided it was a good time to switch to Bluetooh stereo transmission from the iPod Touch. In theory the system was perfect, and we would get rid of wires.
The reality was less rose than expected. The pairing of the Sony car audio to the iPod Touch worked fine, and after a few seconds I was happily listening to my music. Furthermore, I had no problem whatsoever to make such pairing, unlike many other users have reported in the net.
However, I quickly noticed two main issues; I was able to solve one of them, but not the other.
The first issue was related to the audio stream: immediately after leaving the parking of the guy who installed the system, and while driving in the streets of my town, I realized the audio stream was stopped many times, or suffering skips and overall sounding rather bad. Yet, during the next days, I noticed also that the audio stream worked fine if you were driving out of the town.
After digging a bit, I learned that the Bluetooth transmission operates in the same wavelenght spectrum of the wifi networks, and this causes interferences in some cases. So I thought that, maybe, inactivating the wifi connection in the iPod Touch could help to avoid audio issues in town.
Bingo: since I inactivated wifi in the iPod Touch, the Bluetooth audio stream works flawlessly, no matter if you are driving within a city or far from it. The only bad aspect of this solution is that, once you come home and need to use wifi in the iPod Touch, you need to manually activate it again.
Now the second issue: The pairing of the car audio/iPod Touch does work, but when you switch off the system, it does not automatically pair again, as it should.
For instance, you switch on your car, then you manually connect the iPod Touch to your car audio, then start driving. All goes fine. Then, if you stop the car (say, to make a quick shopping) and switch it off, the car audio is unplugged too. Then, if you come back to the car and switch it on again, the audio from your iPhone does not automatically stream again: you need to go to the iPod Touch General menu, select Bluetooth, and then connect again to the car audio. And this happens over and over, after everytime you switch off the car audio.
In theory, the Bluetooth protocol means that the iPod Touch should automatically connect to the car audio, as soon as it is switched on. And in fact, looking at the iPod Touch Bluetooh screen, it seems it is trying to connect. But the fact is that it won't work until you manually press in the Bluetooth device selection menu and choose the car audio device.
This is quite inconvenient and I guess it is a bug in the Bluetooh implementation made in iOS 4.2, which is the software running in my iPod Touch. Furthermore, I've read in different websites that this will be the last iOS update supporting iPod Touch from the second generation (as mine), so it is unsure whether this bug will be ever solved for users of this device.
Hopefully the many user complaints about Bluetooth-related issues related to iOS 4.2 will prompt Apple to spend proper attention and solve these problems.