iPhone 3.0 and BMW iDrive, it’s all still working

As many of you may know, historically Apple updates have had a tendency to break BMW iDrive communicating with iPhones to sync contacts and make/receive calls.

Apple’s latest update, iPhone 3.0, is launched today (17th June 2009) and I thought I’d let you all know that I’ve had iPhone 3.0 up and running on my iPhone a little early. I’m happy to report that over the last 7 days the iPhone has been working flawlessly with my BMW iDrive, all contacts have been syncing and calls received and made without any issues.

So rest assured you can update your iPhone software to iPhone 3.0 and continue to drive safely with your iPhone fully connected to your iDrive.

47 Replies to “iPhone 3.0 and BMW iDrive, it’s all still working”

  1. Just so everyone knows – my 2010 328 x drive had the same problem with my iPhone 3G phone. It only displayed LAST NAME, FIRST NAME and I could not get it to display FIRST NAME, LAST NAME so that the voice activation would work.

    I took the car in for service to replace the iDrive dial that was de-laminating. This required a SOFTWARE upgrade (covered by warranty). PRESTO – MAGIC…….

    The software upgrade now includes an option for listing your contacts (no matter how many you have) – as FIRST NAME followed by LAST NAME. My local BMW service center had NO IDEA what I was talking about. I just got lucky. Upgrade your iDRIVE software and your problem will be fixed.

    PS: I have the iPhone docking station but that made no difference. It was all about the BMW iDrive Software upgrade!!!

  2. I have a2010 328i with ipod capability. I plug in the 3G iPhone and the address book appears to snych but my phone ends up loosing its 1900 addres entries in the process. I reloaded the iphone address book and it happened a 2nd time as well. I expect it will continue to happen. I am on OS 3.0 at this time on the iPhone

  3. Hi there

    Wonder if anyone can help – not clear from this forum which is best option and I’m a beginner.

    Have a 2010 idrive and want to download all my songs from my iphone 16gb (latest version)

    I know I can use bluetooth to connect and pair….and download my contacts…..but whats the best way to download and save all my tunes to the idrive?

    Do I need a lead to plug into my iphone and the bmw idrive input socket and if so, can anyone send me a link of the correct one to buy?

    many thanks

    p.s. can you download video clips to idrive??

  4. Hi

    I have s/w 3.1.3 and can sucessfully pair my iphone 3G to my BMW 2005 e90.

    I have been able to pair my iphone with many earlier s/w versions, but lately not all of my contacts are being displayed as caller id’s on the idrive screen.

    Can’t understand why some names appear and other don’t even though they are in my contacts list and shown on the iphone itself during an incoming call.

    Any ideas???



    1. @Jak – I have the same thing happen on very random occassions. Let say I call Ben from the iDrive by either selecting his name in the A-Z list or iDrive voice dial, either way the point is his name and number ARE in the iDrive and stay displayed on the screen during the call. If 5 minutes later on the same journey Ben calls me back, the iDrive doesn’t tell me the identity of the incoming call it just shows ********** so you end up fumbling to find the phone to look on the iPhone itself at who’s calling.

      I’ve not found any logic to it, I thought it could be if two people, say Ben and Amy who live together, have the same number under each name for their home phone. When a call comes in from that number the iDrive doesn’t know which number to display. I have tested this and it’s not the case because incoming calls from a mobile number only associated with one person sometimes show as *******.

      I thought maybe I had too many contacts syncing to the iDrive (it also used to take several minutes to resync all entries when first setting off on a journey but not always) so now I’ve gone into the new option in the Bluetooth setting to pick which contacts you want to sync and selected my “favourites” only.


      Scoopz (admin)

  5. I got an iPhone 3GS today, and I have paired with my BT kit in 2008 320D, but my address book does not display on car interface. Do contacts need to be on SIM card to display??

  6. At first it seemed to work when I tried this yesterday with 3GS & 2006 525xi. All entries were synched and I could dial using the iDrive. Then when I got into the car this morning all addresses were gone from my iDrive. Also, when I tried voice-dialing yesterday (phonebook was synched) the iDrive told me the phonebook was empty although all entries were there.

    Thanx anyway! I am impressed by the ingenuity you guys have!

  7. Neil, I have exactly the same problem. Apple told me yesterday to reprogram my iPhone to see if that would help…but I haven’t had a chance yet. My BMW is a 328i convertible.

  8. I have a problem with my iphone 3g and the quality of sound the recipient hears, they complain they can hardly hear me. It has now been into BMW twice and they claim its the phone not the system as its a new phone. All other parts work well sync contacts perfect, no issues with version 3 either. The car is a 520d. Any advice would be appreciated.

  9. I’d like to throw my 2 cents in on the phone book order of display. I have had several 3 and 5 series all with Navigation and iDrive and the phones and phone book order has been displayed correctly as I have chosen in my phone which is first name, last name. I just got an ’09 328 with the new hard drive navigation system and while my iPhone pairs up correctly, the phone book will not display the names in first name, last name order. This has really driven me crazy because it makes the voice command system totally unusable when it comes to the phone and dialing by name. It is currently with the dealer for 3 weeks while I am out of town and they are trying to find a solution. They have had the district rep, the regional service rep and multitudes of service techs working on it. I got a phone update today to tell me that it is a problem with this system (well duh!) and they “hope to have a solution soon.” Well they also told me the same thing about the charging capability (or should I say non-charging capability) of my $400 iPod adaptor. They hope to have an adaptor “soon” to solve the charging problem. I use my phone a lot while on the road and to have to manually look for a phone number on the screen because I don’t know someone’s last name can be challenging and potentially unsafe (with over 500 contacts). If this is the “new and improved” iDrive and navigation system, give me the old one back that worked just fine!

    Please let me know if anyone has had better luck with the first name, last name display issue.

    1. @Gary – Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed explanation of the issues you are having with the newer iDrive systems displaying the address book in the incorrect Last Name, First Name order. Hopefully BMW or Apple will acknowledge this issue and one of the two will create a fix in the next software update, so please keep us posted.

      Regarding the problem with the iPhone not charging off the BMW iPod adapter, this is a bit of a touchy subject with Apple. There are basically 2 pairs of pins in the dock connector that can be used to charge the older iPods, one pair was used when charging with a firewire cable and the other pair used when charging with a USB cable. Apple planned to phase out the firewire charging pins after the iPhone 2G, they’d been giving 3rd party manufactures such as Bose, Altec Lansing, BMW, etc several years warning about this change over but they all seemed to ignore it. Sure enough when the iPhone 3G (and newer iPods) were released there was outrage (even by me) as people found their new shiny iPhone/iPod wouldn’t charge on Bose SoundDocks, BMW iPod cables and many many more. What really annoyed me was that my Apple, yes Apple, HiFi that I bought not long before the iPhone 3G came out doesn’t even charge my iPhone 3G/3GS. So even Apple ignored their own warnings about the change over with the charging pins!

      Sorry I’m starting to waffle, long story short, the boffins at Griffin (and a few other places) had the same thought as me “it’s only some pins that need relocating in the dock connector” and brought out a little adapter that will allow you to continue using your older iPod accessories with the new iPhones and iPods and reclaim that all important charging feature.

      I’ve not tried one with a BMW iPod adapter but considering it’s just swapping over some charging pins and the rest of the pins are just routing as normal I see no reason why it shouldn’t work. No doubt BMW are still scratching their head about this one and will *eventually* bring out a identical adapter with a BMW logo on it and perhaps offer free of charge to people who bought the iPod adapter but you might as well just buy and try the Griffin one now.


  10. P.S. Was a bit early here (Canada) when original post submitted. Meant to add :
    Thanks Scoopz – I had found here the solution to the previous issue (i.e. 2000 contacts) and now this fix – great work!

  11. Only a few contacts would appear in iDrive after updating to 3.0.1. After deleting as suggested above the original 2000 contact file, unpairing and re-pairing all contacts returned.

  12. Hey Guys,

    How do you change the screen name on the Idrive system. Like your screen name for your phone is ScoopzIphone, mine says LocalHost?? How do I change that? Is it through, itunes, the Iphone or the idrive.
    I have an 07 530i with Nav. and an Iphone 3G


    1. @Allan – The screen name shown on the iDrive is simply the name you give the phone in iTunes when you first set it up as a new device. iTune’s normally prompts you to call it Allan’s iPhone or whatever it pulls your name from the operating system as. At one point I suspected that the apostrophe in the name may have been causing sync problems but I couldn’t confirm this. There is no way to change the name other than connecting your phone back up to iTunes and in the left hand panel right click on the phone and choose rename (might not be exact process but something similar).

      You will also probably have to unpair and repair the iPhone, I changed the name and when it reconnected it was still showing the old name, I believe it uses the unique bluetooth address to identify the phones so the iDrive won’t bother looking to see if there is a new name if it’s already got a phone with the same unique bluetooth address connected.

      I’m not sure where localhost has come from as your name but I do remember I had that showing up at one point. I suspect it might be if the iPhone has been given no name?

      Unpair your phone from the car, connect to iTunes and change iPhone name (try without apostrophes just in case) and then go out and repair with the car and see what happens.

      Good luck

      Scoopz (Admin)

  13. I had the same issue as Keith with V3.0 only syncing with a handful of contacts. Deleted the original 2000 contact file and everything works. Presume Apple musy have fixed something.

  14. I solved my issue. (see 7/19 above) I deleted the 2000 contacts that solved the original issue and all my contacts now appear in the BMW. Maybe Apple fixed the original issue.

    Dean. I do not know what else to tell you other than read the BMW manual. I did not have issues connecting the 3G to my car.

  15. Scoopz. I have the BMW 645 2005 with Nav system with a iphone 3G with the 3.0 upgrade.

    Ever since the upgrade to the new 3.0 software, only 3 of my contacts will load from the iphone to the BMW address book.

    I had the issue under the 2.0 where I had to add the 2000 contacts and you helped solved that issue.

    I see above where Matt gave on 6/22 a set of steps to try and correct the new issue. I created the new list and when I exported the csv file back into the new contact list, almost all my phone numbers new missing. Matt sd to manually input the missing data in the new list.

    I have approx 500 contacts and this would take forever.

    Any new info on how to get my contacts back on the BMW address book. (I already tried to remove the apostrophe and that did not work)

  16. HELP!!! I really want the iDrive in my 2009 335i to display my iPhone 3GS contacts by FIRST NAME and I can’t get it to work. This is driving me batty. Is there a way to fix this??

  17. 3 series, iphone 3.0;

    Idrive does not recognisze iphone’s ipod function when connected via USB. Any solution known?

    Tel function via bluetooth works ok.

  18. err..BTW,

    One thing to note, while the address book inverts the FIRST NAME / LAST NAME, the soft touch buttons (user assignable, 1 to 8), correctly list the name as FN / LN just like your phone.

    Weird that the iDrive Address book doesn’t.

    Hope this gives clues.

  19. BTW,

    Just confirming that upgrading my iPhone 3G 16GB (proper unit, factory unlocked, non hacked, etc), to v3.0, properly still works with my BMW 530i 2007.

    However, the problem with the stupid LAST NAME / FIRST NAME still is there.

    Anyone figured how to have this correctly displayed on the iDrive screen? My phone is of course listing FIRST NAME / LAST NAME correctly, but the iDrive is inverted.

  20. “”what I really want is to send music from my iPhone over bluetooth to the BMW car stereo system. is anyone working on this? I see Toyotas can do it. but I drive a 2006 530xi wagon. I don’t drive a Toyota.””

    Actually, I was thinking about the same thing. Although our BT in BMWs does not support A2DP, if you have an BMW iPod connector (in yoru glove box_, you might just be able to do this, by using this product from iSkin:


    Then just use your iPhone to pair up to that iSkin device. The interesting thing is, I believe due to the use of BT profile, you MIGHT be able to connect to this and your BMW BT handsfree at the same time. It won’t connect both at the same time, but it should stop your music when a call comes in, and then after you drop the call, resume pairing with the iSkin.

    I can’t confirm, as I am still awaiting for my unit. If anyone (or anyone you know) has this product, and a bmw with BT and iPod interface, perhaps you can try it out and update all of us a this forum?

    Crossing my fingers!!

  21. I have a different problem with my ’03 model X5. My iPhone will pair and it will transfer the phone book no problem, even with an apostrophe in the name.

    However, since the upgrade from 2.2.1 to 3.0 the bluetooth connection drops every 7 seconds for a period of 7 seconds. Effectively I have 7 seconds of full functionality and then 7 seconds where the screen in the X5 says “Activate Phone”.

    When incoming calls are detected the system immediately snaps into life and I can make outgoing calls during the 7 second window when the phone and car are talking.

    Anyone else have a similar issue?

  22. I have same problem as Howard – a 328i 2009 BMW and my iPhone works but I cannot play music through my iPod interface. Worked fine until I upgraded to 3.0.

    Are there any fixes or tips?


  23. Hi Neil.

    Nice to see you’re ‘keeping your eye on the ball’- no problems with v3.0 for me either. 😉

    I’ve bought a 13″ Macbook Pro to replace my old Macbook, which should be here today, so I’ve got a smile on my face. 🙂

    Hope you’re keeping well BTW.

    Viv (E90Post.com)

  24. I updated my iphone and the phone works perfectly with my 2009 335 with idrive; however, it will no longer recognize or even play my music. What should I do?

  25. To everyone with iPhone+iDrive contact listing problems, I believe your issue can be one of 2 things:

    1- Make sure the you iPhone name does not have ‘s like Jack’ s phone, those symbol are no transferable

    2- If that did not fix it follow the following steps

    -Exported the contact list from outlook to a DOS comma separated CVS file

    -Under outlook contact I created another contact list named test-contact.

    -I restored the exported CVS file under test-contact.

    -I have noticed that the test-contact list is missing some of the records ( some names and some phones). And that how I figured out that the missing records are the corrupted records.

    -I compared the contact list with the test-contact list and manually added the missing records in the test-contact list.

    -Through iTunes I only synced my iPhone to the test-contact list and made sure only the test-contact listed is synced to the iPhone.

    -I deleted the pair on the iPhone and iDrive then repaired them again. And wow I saw my contact list in the iDrive and there was no drops out in audio.

  26. Does anyone know if the follwoing was fixed?
    With the Iphone 2.2.1 version of software it synched my address and etc. almost perfectly but, it ignores the comma(,) for pauses so I cannot send extensions. Also, only one of my contacts that have the same main work number get in. So if many contacts work at the same place and have the same number Johns Smith (555)555-5555,,,555 and Jane Doe(555)555-555,,,666 One of John or Jane will make it into the list. Not both.

  27. Hi,
    I have a problem with the way contacts are synced in my iDrive. I have an iPhone 3G (3.0 FW) and a all new BMW E92 M3 with the full Navigation system. Once I pair the iPhone with the iDrive all contacs are synced but the iDrive will sort it by Last Name/First Name although in the iPhone I have all options set to First Name/Last Name. I do not find any option in the iDrive to change this to First Name/Last Name. Can someone help me?

  28. OS 3.0 has not solved the problem for non-idrive users, in my 2004 Z4 the addressbook is not synchronizing despite placing the 2000 and removing &s from names of contacts. Removing the apostroph from the iphone name seems to have improved contact failures though.
    If anyone knows the trick how to synchronize the addressbook in a non-idrive Z4 I would be glad to hear!
    Jos Barendregt, The Netherlands.

  29. I have an iPhone 3g 16GB with OS 3.0 and a 2006 BMW 730d, since upgrading to OS 3.0 i cannot see any contacts in my iDrive, dissapointed doesn’t come close to describing it. I wonder if some genius would write and App to link the iPhone phone and contacts with the BMW iDrive perfectly, surely this can now be done with developers being granted access to the Bluetooth chip?

  30. @Jim E – Welcome back! Hmm I’m not sure why 75% of your contacts are missing from the iDrive. When you restored the phone did it keep the same name “Jim’s iPhone” for example? Try restoring once more but after the restore change the iPhone name in iTunes to just iPhone or JEiPhone etc and then unpair and repair with the iDrive. The iDrive does seem to cache contacts for a while so it may be confused since the device has the same unique bluetooth mac address so it IS the same phone it’s used to with the same name but perhaps 3.0 changes the addresses syncing somehow? Having said that, I didn’t change the name of my iPhone and it worked ok.

    I’ve just noticed today though that even though all my contacts are sync’d with the iDrive, when I receive an incoming call it shows ***** on the iDrive screen rather than the name. It’s done this twice so far and both times the name has definitely been in the iDrive and if the person calls back a second time it shows their name correctly. This happened with my 3G running 3.0 and my new 3GS.

    Looks like 3.0 may be a little buggy then, watch this space….

    Scoopz (Admin)

  31. Scoopz

    Last time we exchanged info was your great 2000 + contacts to get Iphone talking to I drive in M6. ( remember donation to Children in Need) Now updated software to 3.0 and lost 75% of contacts from I drive !! tried removing device, restoring phone etc but to no avail…any thoughts ?
    Also finding battery life far worse ..

    Cheers Jim

  32. @eisenb11 – I sneakily got my paws on a 32GB white iPhone 3GS today and you’ll be pleased to hear it too works perfectly with the iDrive regards bluetooth phone functionality.

    Scoopz (Admin)

  33. @Tod – Just to answer the question about music over bluetooth, unfortunately the current iDrive system does NOT allow this. In order to play music over bluetooth you need a car bluetooth system that supports A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) which very few car manufacturers support at present. A2DP is not a new concept, there are many bluetooth speakers you can buy that support it, my friend’s just had media hubs installed in all his hotel rooms that support it too but the car manufacturers seem to be dragging their feet a little.

    The fact that Apple enabled A2DP on with 3.0 update shows that it’s not just a hardware limit and if BMW’s bluetooth module was advanced enough they could perhaps enable A2DP with an iDrive update but don’t hold your breath.

    I’ve not got DAB (UK equivalent of Sirius) or even got the iPod connection in my M5 so I stick with good old fashioned 6CD changer and an MP3 CD in the dash. So long as the iPhone does the “phone” bit well that’s enough for me whilst it gets some fresh juice from the snap-in adapter.

    Scoopz (Admin)

  34. Thanks scoopz, this is the first place I went to check to make sure everything would work ok 🙂

    My 3GS is supposed to arrive tomorrow, so I’ll assume that that should be happy with BMW BT too.

  35. what I really want is to send music from my iPhone over bluetooth to the BMW car stereo system. is anyone working on this? I see Toyotas can do it. but I drive a 2006 530xi wagon. I don’t drive a Toyota.

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