Apple rolled out iOS 6 yesterday, and along with a less-than-stellar mapping solution the update may have introduced problems in another area: Bluetooth audio streaming. Numerous customers are complaining across several Apple support forum threads that after upgrading to the new operating system they are no longer able to control audio playback from their Bluetooth-enabled car stereo units. According to the comments audio streaming itself works fine, but the only way to control playback is to resort back to the phone itself — hardly an ideal option when driving down the highway.
The ability to stream artist, track, and album information also appears to have vanished for some users with the update, with both problems being reported across car stereos from multiple manufacturers. Apple has steadily increased the support for various Bluetooth profiles with each iteration of iOS, so it seems likely the problem is caused by a bug in the update rather than being the result of an intentional decision by Cupertino. Still, that's no doubt little comfort for iPhone owners that now find themselves with less functionality in the car than they did just 24 hours ago. We've reached out to Apple for comment on the complaints, and will update you with any further developments.
Update: We've tested iOS 6 with a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and found that the wireless control features still work as expected in that instance. While some users may experience the problems described above, it's clearly not affecting everyone. Unfortunately, unless you have multiple phones on hand, the only way to check your particular audio device may be to update to iOS 6 and cross your fingers.