Whether you go with the Subaru Forester or the Outback, you may still encounter an issue when attempting to set up your Bluetooth in the vehicle, as this problem extends to models such as the Ascent, Impreza, Forester, Outback, Legacy, and the WRX.
Not only could you experience problems when setting up the Bluetooth but you may also have issues maintaining a functional Bluetooth connection.
Why Is My Subaru Bluetooth Not Working?
1. Issue with Subaru Starlink
As you may know, your Subaru comes with a Starlink multimedia system, which not only offers call options, and text messaging options, but it also offers the standard hands-free Bluetooth technology.
Now, both the Starlink multimedia system and the Bluetooth connection come standard in all Subaru models including the Forester, Legacy, Impreza, Ascent, and the WRX.
Since you will have to use the Starlink infotainment system to connect your device via Bluetooth to your Subaru’s speakers and infotainment system, this also presents an opportunity for technical issues.
So, while your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system is quite helpful, it could also be responsible for the issue you are currently experiencing with Bluetooth.
Your Starlink multimedia system in your Subaru could possibly need to be updated or it might simply require a reset. With this in mind, let us get to some fixes for such a troubling situation.
Fix – Perform a Master Reset of the Subaru Starlink
As previously depicted, the Starlink multimedia system in your Subaru Legacy, Forester, Ascent, or WRX is genuinely an excellent infotainment system; however, it is still a piece of technology. Therefore, like any other computer system, it can have errors, glitches, and malfunctions.
What’s more, is that the computer system that runs the Starlink multimedia system in your Subaru can also become essentially confused, especially if you tend to change up which devices connect to the Bluetooth features.
Consider when you are using your laptop and you encounter an issue that requires you to restart the computer, the same effect can be done with the Starlink multimedia system in your Subaru.
Sometimes simply resetting (or rebooting) the infotainment system is enough and you can easily do this on your Subaru’s Starlink system.
The first thing you will want to do is make sure your Subaru is powered on not completely started, then you can press and hold the Power button for up to 15 seconds on the Starlink multimedia infotainment system.
After you have done this, the Starlink system will be reset and this should clear up the Bluetooth problem.
Fix 2 – Update Subaru Starlink
Not only is it a good practice to both restart and update your devices but the same logic can be applied to your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system.
Similarly to any device such as your smartphone, laptop, or even tablet, these devices need to be kept up-to-date with the most recently released software and even hardware updates.
Your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system is no different in this regard, as the system may need to be updated for all of the functions to work properly.
With that said, it is always a good idea to make sure that your center display system is updated, as these updates are essential.
On your Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system, go to “Settings,” then you can go to “General,” and finally, select the “Check for Updates” option.
This is where you will find any updates available for your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system. If there are any updates available, you can download them by Connecting your Subaru’s infotainment system to the internet on a Wi-Fi network.
Once the “pop up” prompt shows up on your phone, you can select the “Download Now.”
After the download is complete, you can select “Install Now” and make sure your Subaru is on during this entire process.
Fix 3 – Getting in Touch with Subaru
If after trying both of the previous fixes for your Bluetooth issue in your Subaru and the problem is still not resolved, then you should at least consider getting in touch with Subaru.
This only makes sense since they would know the best way to troubleshoot the situation, as they are quite familiar with both the vehicle and its Starlink infotainment system. You can reach Subaru Customer Service at (800)-782-2783.
By calling Subaru’s customer service, you should be able to find answers to your Bluetooth issues in the capable hands of their specialist.
2. The Device is Not Connected Properly
It is possible that the reason why you are having problems with your Bluetooth in your Subaru is that your device is not properly connected to the infotainment system.
It is all too easy to not put too much thought into such casual actions.
You will want to make sure that you have indeed established the Bluetooth connection properly to your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system.
Fix – “Forget” Subaru Starlink As A Device and Connect Device Properly
Similar to what you do when you might have restarted your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system, which is essentially disconnecting a connection and then re-establishing the connection. You can do the same for the Bluetooth signal on your Subaru.
In this process, you are simply removing your device from the “Connected Devices” under Bluetooth for your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system, then re-establishing the connection.
You will want to make sure that the Bluetooth is enabled on your mobile device, then you can start at the home screen of your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system.
Select the “Setup” option, then go to and tap on the “Bluetooth” option and here you should see a list of devices that have been connected via Bluetooth in your Subaru.
Select the device that you are attempting to connect and use, then you should see an option to “Forget” the device. Tap on the “Forget This Device” option and the device will be removed from both the Bluetooth connection and the list of connected devices.
Now that you have had the Starlink multimedia system “forget” your device, then you can return to the home screen and repeat the steps. Go to the “Setup” option and then proceed to the “Bluetooth” and select it.
From the Bluetooth setup options menu, you will want to select the “Add” option, then you can select your device and this will pair your device once again with your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system.
Fix 2 – Check the Security and Auto Accept Prompt On Your Device
Now, we went through “forgetting” (disconnecting) your device from your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system and then re-establishing the Bluetooth connection; however, it is also important to note that there will be a security and auto accept prompt that will appear on your device when you connect it to the infotainment system.
You will want to make sure that you have accepted both of these prompts so that the Starlink multimedia system has permission to connect your device via Bluetooth connection.
3. Possible Cell Phone Malfunction (Glitch or Bug)
While it is possible that there is an issue with the Starlink multimedia system in your Subaru, it is also possible and rather likely that there is a problem with your smartphone that is preventing the Bluetooth connection.
Luckily, there are valid methods that can fix this issue. Read on to explore these possible solutions further.
Fix – Try Switching Off Your Device
A good rule of thumb when you are encountering issues with your device is to turn the device off and back on.
This method very well may help in this situation and it is a good habit to turn off devices from time to time and then turn them back on. This is essentially a soft reset for your device but can also make a world of difference.
Luckily, this method is also quite simple, as all you will need to do is turn the device you are attempting to connect to “Off.”
After you have turned your device off, then you can turn it back on and then reconnect it to your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system via Bluetooth and this should clear up the problem.
Fix 2 – Force Restart Device
Similarly to a soft reset for your device, where you are simply turning the device off and back on, you can also attempt a force restart.
A force restart is quite similar to a regular restart, except with a force restart you are cutting the power abruptly and immediately while also ensuring that all connections and running apps are closed completely.
How to Force Restart iPhone
Step 1. Press the volume up button, then immediately let go.
Step 2. Press the volume down button, then immediately let go.
Step 3. Long-press the side button.
Release the side button once you see the Apple logo.
How to Force Restart Android
Hold the volume down and power keys pressed together for longer than seven seconds. Your Android phone will be forced to restart as a result.
Fix 3 – Update Your Device
As previously mentioned, it is always a good idea to keep your devices up-to-date with the latest updates and this very well could be what is causing trouble when you are attempting to use the Bluetooth feature in your Subaru.
Updates are essential to keep your smartphone working properly and to also make sure that all of its features are caught up with the most recent software and hardware updates for the device.
You can find these important updates in your devices’ respective app stores, except for iPhones and iPads.
Fix 4 – Reset Network Settings
It is possible that your device might simply need to have its network settings reset. When you reset your network settings, previously used networks and VPN settings that were not installed via a configuration profile or mobile device management (MDM) are erased when you reset network settings.
You are disconnected from whatever networks you are currently on when Wi-Fi is turned off and then back on. The settings for Wi-Fi and Ask to Join Networks are still enabled.
If you are using your iPhone, then you can reset your network settings by Tap Settings > General > Transfer or Reset [Device] > Reset > Reset Network Settings if you’re using iOS or iPadOS 15 or later. Tap Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings if you’re running iOS or iPadOS version 14 or earlier.
If you are using your Android, then you can reset your network settings by:
Step 1. Swipe up from the home screen to reveal the menu.
Step 2. Select Settings.
Step 3. Then select General Management.
Step 4. Select Reset network settings.
Select Reset settings.
Step 5. Click Reset. You might need to reconfigure some settings, like Wi-Fi, when you reset the network settings on your Samsung phone.
Fix 5 – Factory Reset
Now, as a last resort when experiencing technical difficulties with your device, you can perform a factory reset, which will reset all of the settings back to how they were when the device was first purchased and activated.
If you are using your iPhone, then select Transfer or Reset iPhone under General in Settings. A
fter you have done this your iPhone will be reset to the device’s original factory settings and this could clear up the Bluetooth problem in your Subaru.
You can also restore your Android device back to its original factory settings by following these simple steps:
Step 1. Select Settings.
Step 2. Reset by tapping General & Backup.
Step 3. Tap Reset factory data.
Step 4. Tap Device Reset.
Step 5. Select Delete all.
After this, your Android device will be reset to its original factory settings and this should resolve the Bluetooth connection issue you are experiencing in your Subaru.
4. Issue with Song or App You’re Playing From
Now, devices such as your smartphone and your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system cannot always take all of the blame for technical problems, as the issue could also be with the song or app you are using while also connected to the infotainment system in your Subaru.
Fix – Play Another Song
It is feasible that the Bluetooth problem is due to the song you are attempting to play. This especially applies if you download your songs from other sites, as some copies of songs will simply not play. Try just changing the song.
Fix 2 – Use Another App Like Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud
Similarly to songs, some apps like YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music sometimes will simply not play on certain systems and Bluetooth setups. With this in mind, if you are using one of these apps for music or audio, then simply try a different app and this very well might resolve the situation.
5. The Bluetooth Volume on the Phone May Be Low
As important as volume can be for audio sharing such as Bluetooth, it can also be overlooked and forgotten. It is feasible that the volume on the device you are using is either low or muted.
Fix – Increase the Volume on Both Subaru Starlink and Your Phone
Sometimes when you are having difficulties with the Bluetooth in your Subaru, the answer can be as simple as turning the volume up. You should try turning up the volume for both the Starlink multimedia system in your Subaru and the volume on your smartphone.
6. Song is Not Playing
It is possible that for any reason, the song that you are attempting to play via Bluetooth on your Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system may not play.
Fix – Play the Song From Your Device
Sure, the sound quality may not be the same as the speaker system you have in your Subaru, but if the song will not play via Bluetooth, then you can try playing the song directly from your device. It may not sound as good but at least you will be able to share the tune.
Subaru’s are genuinely fantastic vehicles. With that said, the Starlink infotainment system in Subaru’s may leave something to be desired. Luckily, with this guide, you should have no problem narrowing down the root of the problem and getting your Bluetooth functioning properly once again.