How to Delete Phone Contacts from Rental Car Bluetooth

How to Delete Phone Contacts from Rental Car Bluetooth

How important is it to delete phone contacts from rental car Bluetooth consoles? You need wipe all the contacts, call history, and even location data to preserve your privacy and the personal information of everyone in your phone contacts. In case you didn’t know it, when you connect a smartphone or other device via Bluetooth, the connected device may download your contact list and retain that information. I have a Bluetooth speaker that I connect to my laptop and phone. Obviously, the speaker does not use my contact list. But cars with Bluetooth connection do ask to access your contact list. Once you begin making calls, the car retains your call history and text messages. It also builds a list of favorites and stores all the places you stopped at if you are using the navigation system. Even if you are not using the onboard navigation, the system records the length of your trip in mile traveled and time.

Recently I rented a car and drove it on seven hours each way plus the short hops around town. I wanted to use my phone for calls, music, and texting. I order to make voice calls and have the car respond to text messages, my phone’s contact list must be uploaded to the car’s console. Since this is a rental car, I was concerned about privacy.

The car I rented was a 2018 Toyota Camry SE. It had the Toyota Ensure sound system. When I connected my Samsung via USB to keep it charged for the ride, the system prompted me to download the Toyota Entune app suite to my phone. Since it is not my car and I don’t have subscriptions or accounts with most of the apps listed on the Camry’s center console, I didn’t bother with the app suite. I simply connected via Bluetooth.

I saw that the car had been previously paired with another phone, someone named Keith. I could see all of Keith’s contacts because he did not delete his phone contact from the rental car. Although I could see the contacts, I could no dial or text them. (Yes, I tried to see what would happen). So, if I want to type in the phone number I could have. This is what I was afraid of. It’s not my car, and I didn’t know if I needed admin permission or something like that to destroy data.

Connecting my phone to the rental car via Bluetooth prompted me to upload my contact list. Usually I decline and just use the car for Spotify music. However, in this case, I was going to be driving in New York State where calls must be hands free. I also had a few business calls to make along the way and wanted to try out the Bluetooth ad sound system. So, I allowed to car to beam up my contact list.

I found out quickly that I could not have the car read and respond to SMS messages. I assume I needed that App suite for that. I could, however, receive and place calls for me as well as play music from Spotify. The calling worked great and the sound system was awesome, as I previously stated the texting was a fail. EZ Pass with a rental car was another fail, but that’s different blog post. While I used it, the car built a list of favorite contacts – the people I called the most. It also tracked all the segments of my trip basically recording every location I stopped at. It also had the names and phone numbers of my contacts along with call dates and times.

I wanted to be sure this private data was gone before I turned the rental car in to protect my privacy and that of my friends.

When the rental period was over I had to deal with the issue of deleting my contacts and making sure all my personal information was deleted from the car as well as the names and numbers of everyone in my contact list. It is actually very easy to delete all of your contacts, call history texts (If I had any), favorites list, and location data from a rental car.

Steps to delete the private data from a rental car or any car

– in this case it is a Toyota!

  1. First push the “menu” button to the left of the screen
  2. Next choose “settings” from the screen
  3. Scroll down and press “Delete Persona Data”

The system will warn you that this will delete ALL personal data. Choose yes. Keep in mind this deletes ALL personal data including call history, favorites, calls, text from ALL devices connected via Bluetooth. It is not possible to select only one device or user. This only deleted the private data from the rental car, NOT from your smartphone. That’s it!

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Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers