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Two long-term IT techies, with a penchant for Microsoft's .NET Framework, air views on whatever topics take their fancy.

iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit

Well, that came as something of a surprise!

I finally got round to pensioning off my Nokia N70 last week and replacing it with an iPhone 3G. Now, I'm no disciple of all things Apple, but the iPhone appealed to me for a number of basic reasons; it does lots of things that I like, it does them mostly quite well and it looks nice.

There were two potential deal-breakers for me, though. The first was that I didn't want an iPhone unless it supported 3G; of course, Apple addressed that with the launch of the iPhone 3G. The second, I was much more sceptical about. It had to work with the Nokia 616 handsfree kit in my car. Now, it was reasonable for me to be sceptical. Firstly, the Nokia 616 doesn't seem to play very well with many of Nokia's own phones! It was only a couple of weeks ago that I managed to get the contacts from my N70 downloaded onto the 616. People who had tried the original iPhone with the 616 had had no success at all, from what I could find. Given that there was still plenty of (perfectly justified) moaning about the Bluetooth implementation on the iPhone 3G, I had no reason to believe that would be any different.

The only practical way for me to find out was to take the car to my local O2 shop and get one of the sales staff to try it. So I did. It took a while but eventually we managed to pair the phone and the car kit. However, it wouldn't download the contacts. Given that the iPhone doesn't support voice dialling, it meant that there was no way you could legally make a call while on the move, but receiving them was no problem at all. That was near enough for me, so I signed the paperwork and walked out with an 8GB model.

After some more faffing about later on, I was shocked to find that when I paired my own phone to the 616, it downloaded the contacts quite successfully.

It would be nice if voice dialling was supported, but other than that, it's working great.

So, I've had a week of fun with my new toy and I'm very, very impressed. I can't wait to see what Apple do with the next version!

EDIT: I upgraded to the 3GS in July 2009 and I'm pleased to report that it also works just fine.

EDIT: So far, not so much luck with the iPhone 4. See the comment, below, from June 27th 2010 for more details.

EDIT: iOS 4.1 doesn't fix the problem with the iPhone 4. To avoid clutter, I've split the iPhone 4 content into another post here.

Posted Jul 29 2008, 05:33 PM by Steve Morgan


Kukipapa wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Wed, Aug 13 2008 19:23

What about the original iPhone?

Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Wed, Aug 13 2008 22:36

I'm sorry, but I can't say one way or the other with the original iPhone.

Certainly, all the previous reports I ame across suggested that it would not. However, maybe if it's upgraded with the version 2.0 firmware, it will work?

My experience with the Nokia 616 and the iPhone 3G are based purely on practical experimentation. I don't have access to an original iPhone, so I can't check for you.

The Nokia 616 is getting on a bit, now, and while it's well featured, I don't think I'd recommend it as a new purchase. If you're looking for a new car kit to use with an iPhone, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, you have (or want) a Nokia 616, why not go the whole hog and upgrade to an iPhone 3G? ;-)

Giles wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Fri, Sep 12 2008 7:48

I've managed to pair my iPhone 3G with the Nokia 616 but I get a general error on the 616 when trying to download contacts. Did you do anything special to get this to work? Do I need to upgrade my 616's firmware?

My iPhone gets it's contacts from Exchange so I don't know if this makes a difference?

Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Fri, Sep 12 2008 9:24

Hi Giles,

The first time I tried it, outside the O2 shop, I had the same problem.

I didn't do anything particularly special to get it to work, though I did delete the existing pairing from the 616.

Re-downloading the contacts has worked consistently, since.

I wouldn't expect the fact that your contacts originated in Exchange to make any difference, though I suppose it's always possible that there is some extra data that is tripping up the 616. Can you delete your contacts, create one manually as a test, then re-sync your contacts afterwards?

As far as I know, it's not possible to update the firmware in the 616 yourself, though it may be possible to have it done through a Nokia Service Centre. However, the latest firmware version that I've come across (in my, admittedly, limited travels) was from 2006.

Let me know how you get on, so I can keep this thread relevant.

Giles wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Sat, Sep 13 2008 11:44

I tried it again and it worked! Works perfectly - obviously just needed a good old fashioned reboot.

Thanks for your article about this - it was good to know it was possible so I didnt spend hours labouring in vain!

Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Sat, Sep 13 2008 14:20

Hey, that's good news, indeed.

It's good to know it's been validated by somebody else.

Thanks for letting me know, Giles.

kanak wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Fri, Mar 6 2009 16:20

Hi Steve,

Wonder if this blog is still active.You Seem to know a bit about the 616 whcih I am thinking of having installed. Can you tell me about it?


Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Thu, Mar 19 2009 10:50

Hi Kanak,

Well, I wouldn't claim to be anything of an expert. What do you want to know?

The 616 is good, but it's a pretty old piece of kit. I bought it nearly two years ago to compliment my Nokia N70 and it was getting a little long in the tooth then. It wasn't fully functional with the N70, despite Nokia's claims on their website, due to software imcompatibilities. I was just lucky that it works well with the iPhone 3G.

While it works for me, I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a new purchase these days. Nokia evidently aren't actively developing it and who's to say it will work with the next phone you buy?

John wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Mon, Jun 15 2009 12:36

Can anyone help me, I have had my 616 for quite a while now and was going to sell the car and keep this for my new one but guess what I still have the car.Any can i use this with my blackberry storm for I do not want to go out and get this fitted if it will not work. Thanks in advance John

Martin wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Fri, Jun 26 2009 21:29

My 616 (bought in October 2005, software versions dated May 2005) will pair with my Blackberry Bold in either Handsfree or SIM Access Profile -- the latter with a bit of persuasion. That's the good news. The bad news is that in either mode the Bluetooth connection gets dropped after maybe 30 seconds, and it won't re-establish. I found out today that there is more recent firmware for the 616 so if I can get that installed without shelling out too much I'll give it another try. I'm not too bothered because my Nokia E51 has always played nicely and the Blackberry's the work phone.

The other snag with the Bold, and I guess the Storm will be the same, is that it will only download the SIM contacts to the 616 (assuming you get a connection for long enough!)

I found that the iPhone 3GS would pair nicely with the 616 in Handsfree mode, and also download all the contacts. The progress bar didn't work, but it went back to the menu afterwards and all the contacts were there. I'm not a fan of the Handsfree mode on the 616 (no network name or strength, for instance) ... SAP is much nicer. I gather other car kits do a better job with Handsfree mode.

Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Fri, Jun 26 2009 22:22

Thanks very much for the extra info, Martin!

I presume you're going to have to take your 616 to a Nokia Service Centre to have the firmware upgraded. Would you mind keeping us updated if and when you do?

Thanks for the info on the 3GS. That'll be particularly useful when I get around to changing mine, soon.

Martin wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Tue, Jul 7 2009 18:07

Sorry for not noticing your reply earlier, Steve!

Yes, if I ever get around to getting the 616 firmware upgraded I'll let you know what the effects are. (I wonder if it makes Handsfree mode any better, though I doubt it.)

I ended up taking the 3GS back ... it was nice, but it didn't quite do it for me. The E51 is going to soldier on for a little while longer!

Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Sun, Jun 27 2010 22:26

A further update...

I've now upgraded to the iPhone 4 and while it's functional with the Nokia 616, I'm back to not being able to download contacts.

If I start the download process, the Bluetooth connection with the phone is immediately dropped (the Bluetooth icon goes 'dim' on the phone) and the 616 reports 'Downloading contacts is not supported' before restarting and re-establishing the Bluetooth connection.

I'll persevere, as I'd rather not replace the car kit, but I'm not especially optimistic at this point. Disappointing that the upgrade seems to have been a retrograde step in terms of Bluetooth compatibility with this kit.

As soon as I have anything further to report, I'll update it here.

Kanak wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Sun, Jul 4 2010 9:24

Hi Steve,

Well, thanks for all the info on your blog. Last year I bought the 616 but before I bought it I was scouring the web forinfo and came across your site. I put a question upand you kindly answered. However, I did not check back as I thpought the site was down and couldnot access it. Imagine, this am I was having exactly the same problem as you having followed your footsteps in buying an iphone 4. Can't get contacts,not voice control.I'm pulling my hair out. I need hands free for work. I am on call(medical) and can't afford to have dropouts on the road.The 616 has been good tome when I finnaly got a E51 that would talk toit on a more regular basis than any other SAP phone I tried (and I've been through them). I am now thinking about a sim card insertion inot the 616 and call diverting from my iphone. What a bummer that's gonna be having to keep switching the divert on and off! My alternative may well be Bury 9060 which I had fitted and removed within 2 weeks because of the old problem with bluetooth and Faraday effect inside the car. Surely someone somewhere can think of a better solution than all this hassle. Any thoughts or suggestions? Kanak

PS keep the updates going,I'll be watching with tenter hooks

Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Thu, Jul 15 2010 22:30

Hi Kanak,

Thanks for your comment.

Your comment about lack of voice control is interesting, because that's working just fine for me. The only issue I have remains the downloading of contacts.

I see that Bluetooth issues seem to be surfacing regarding the iOS4, so maybe Apple will take note and resolve the problem shortly.

Linda Nolan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Thu, Oct 21 2010 8:50


Re: trying to get the iPhone 4 to work with Nokia 616 car kit

I too have had huge problems trying to download contacts with my new iPhone 4. If I start the download process the unit tries to download the contacts and then the 616 reports 'Downloading contacts is not supported'. I do not lose contact but it is so annoying to not be able to use your contacts whilst driving. It makes using the phone to make a call almost impossible from a safety point of view.

Any advice?

Janos wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Wed, Feb 16 2011 14:53

Hi Steve,

My problem isn`t completely relevant to your blog, but it seems you had a lot of issues with nokia 616 kit as well.

I just bought the Blackberry Torch after reading a lot about smartphones and remote SAP. It pairs with the kit and incoming, outgoing calls are perfect with rSAP, but only dowloads contacts from SIM card.

When trying to download phone memory contacts after starting the download bar error message :  'Downloading contacts is not supported'

Do you have any experience with Blackberry?

thanks, Janos

Carlo wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Wed, Mar 23 2011 5:34

I've just paired my new IPhone 4 with Nokia 616 Car kit and it works without any problems! Just one thing - I can't manage download contacts from phone.

CD wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Sat, Sep 24 2011 21:29

Found this blog after a quick search. The previous owner of my car had the Nokia 616 installed, great little piece of kit, which worked very well with my Nokia phone. First few pairing attempts with my iPhone 3GS failed or had limited functionality, i.e no contacts, couldn't hear the caller etc, tried removing all previous pairings but to no avail.

    Next step happened purely by coincidence: I just decided to try everything and the following worked:

1. Pair iPhone as user 1

2. make sure all your contacts are on the sim-card

2: put sim-card in as basic a phone as possible ( i used a nokia 6300)

3: Pair 616 with this phone as user 2 and download contacts when prompted.

4. Put sim-card back in iPhone.

5. Put basic phone back in cubbard  :)

6: Job done, full contacts browsing available.

Steve Morgan wrote re: iPhone 3G works with Nokia 616 car kit
on Sat, Sep 24 2011 23:15

Great suggestion, CD!

I'll see if I can dig out my micro-SIM adapter and see if I can make it work with my iPhone 4.

Steve Morgan 2008. All rights reserved.
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