How to Use In-car GPS for Hands-free Mobile Phone Calling

Studies show that using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is a dangerous distraction. It’s illegal in 14 U.S. states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Many more U.S. states have some type of restriction on hand-held cell phone use while driving. Switching to a hands-free system that eliminates phone handling and manual dialing dramatically reduces distractions. A lot of in-car GPS receivers offer wireless connectivity to mobile phones, including microphones and speakers, and touchscreen display to control the phone.

Here’s how to use your in-car GPS to go hands-free, a process that shouldn't take more than 30 minutes to set up!

Determine If Your Mobile Phone Supports Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity

Bluetooth is a wireless network standard designed to permit connectivity between consumer devices, in this case your in-car GPS and your mobile phone. If you are unsure whether your phone supports Bluetooth, consult your phone manual or check the phone maker’s website. Also, see the links at the bottom of this page for phone compatibility resources. Most phones do not have Bluetooth turned on as the default setting (to save battery power), so check your manual to determine how to turn on Bluetooth.

Determine Whether Your In-car GPS Supports Bluetooth and Mobile Phone Hands-free, or Find and Purchase a Compatible In-car GPS Receiver

TomTom and Garmin, for example, offer a number of in-car GPS models that support Bluetooth hands-free phone connections.

See the links at the bottom of this page to quickly find models with this capability and their compatibility with specific phone models.

Pair Your Phone and In-car GPS

Now that you have a compatible in-car GPS receiver and phone, all you need to do is pair them and learn how to use the GPS phone interface.

Your phone manual and GPS manual will include specific instructions for pairing, but it generally involves:

  • Turning on both devices and bringing them within 10 feet of each other (make sure your phone Bluetooth is enabled).
  • Adding the phone as a permitted Bluetooth device and entering a provided PIN number.

Using Your In-car GPS for Hands-free Calling

In-car GPS phone hands-free features often include (via the touchscreen): manual dialing, phone directory dialing, voice dial, if your phone supports it (a great feature combined with hands-free), view messages, and more. Enjoy your hands-free calling!

Tips:

  • Sometimes a Bluetooth-enabled phone will work with an in-car GPS receiver even if the phone is not listed in the GPS compatibility list.
  • Visit our in-car GPS product review section for road test ratings of the latest GPS devices.