Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Toyota Entune

One of the toys that came with my new Toyota was a software suite called Entune. This is a suite of apps (Bing, Pandora, Open Table, fuel prices, sports, and traffic) that are accessed through the dash console from your smartphone. Very cool, or so I thought. I've had my car since June and haven't been able to get the apps to work.

At the dealership, when I went to pick up the car, the salesman went through the process of pairing my iPhone via Bluetooth to the car so I can make and receive hands-free calls and use the navigation system.

Now I don't need to order movie tickets from the car or make reservations at a restaurant, but it would be nice to tune to music I like to hear when I'm out of range of my favorite radio stations. I downloaded the app to my iPhone and followed all of the instructions. Every time, I'd receive an error message that the phone had no Internet connection. Frustrating, but not really needed especially the cost of another service or worry about eating up the phone's data plan. The car is a dream to drive. The hands-free phone is convenient, and the onboard navigation is helpful without having to drag out another electronic device.

Then Toyota announced Entune would be free. Free? Sign me up and again, the same error message. An online search found that lots of others were having the same problem connecting to the apps. And the consensus from the bulletin boards was Entune sucked. I read the FAQs and followed instructions and had to agree Entune was an epic fail.

I contacted Toyota and detailed all the steps I had taken. A day or two later (kudos to Toyota for their quick response), I received this: The issue sound like you may not be using a USB cord to connect. We have provided the following pairing instructions to assist you;

What? A USB cord? What the Hell? There was nothing in the manuals that said a USB connection had to be made. It said Bluetooth. That means wireless. Back out to the car with the USB cord and the instructions I was able to get my Pandora stations to play through the dashboard console. 

So Entune is not quite the epic fail I thought. Nice to be able to listen to Do-Wop Oldies or Gregorian Chant when I'm out of range of the usual radio station. Toyota, you need to make it clear that the Entune service doesn't connect via Bluetooth, but the USB cord is needed.


  1. More reason to keep my good ole ’98 pre-gadget Explorer! :D

  2. Whew, sounds way to complicated for me.