Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Entertainment/Gaming/Gadgets

Manage Your Vehicle Using OnStar and the OnStar RemoteLink iPhone App

  • Print
  • + Share This
One thing that sets apart all GM vehicles from a technological standpoint is the incorporation of OnStar. Thanks to the OnStar RemoteLink app for the iPhone, GM vehicle owners can now keep tabs on their car, start it, and unlock its doors remotely from virtually anywhere. In this article, Jason R. Rich explains how the iPhone greatly expands the functionality of OnStar in any GM vehicle.
Like this article? We recommend

All General Motors vehicles, including Buicks, Chevrolets, Cadillacs, and GMCs, automatically come with OnStar. The service is activated in all new cars for between 6 and 12 months for free, and then a monthly fee applies thereafter to keep OnStar activated. Since the release of GM’s 1996 model year vehicles, OnStar has been a pioneer in providing emergency services, crash detection, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, and live concierge-like services to drivers.

To speak with a live OnStar representative, a driver or passenger simply needs to press the OnStar button built into the GM vehicle. It’s then possible to ask for directions or receive other types of assistance. If the vehicle is involved in an accident, an OnStar representative immediately contacts the driver to determine what services are needed and then summons local emergency services as needed.

As part of its effort to create “connected cars,” GM has introduced the OnStar RemoteLink app, which is free with an active OnStar account. This easy-to-use app provides vehicle owners with remote access to their own car(s) from virtually anywhere, even if you travel abroad, but your car is parked at home in your driveway or at the airport.

Using the iPhone’s Internet connectivity, a secure wireless connection to a vehicle can be established, allowing the vehicle’s owner to remotely start the ignition, lock or unlock the vehicle’s doors, honk the horn and/or flash the lights, plus view real-time vehicle diagnostic information (which includes monitoring the gas gauge, oil, tire pressure, and odometer, as shown in Figure 1).

Figure 1 Check your vehicle's gas tank, oil, and odometer from a single screen of the OnStar RemoteLink app on your iPhone

One of the other extremely useful features of the OnStar RemoteLink app is that it links to other apps within your iPhone, including Contacts. Thus, if you’re planning a drive, you can look up any destination address or point of interest on the iPhone and then wirelessly send it to your vehicle’s in-car navigation system. So, when you turn on your vehicle, your destination is preloaded, with no additional data entry required.

The OnStar RemoteLink app also makes contacting an OnStar representative or your local dealership via telephone just a screen tap away. Thus, the same live concierge-like services available from within the vehicle are also now available through your iPhone via the app.

OnStar also offers a Bluetooth-enabled, hands-free calling feature for the iPhone. This allows calls to be initiated from the iPhone or from the vehicle’s in-dash infotainment system, and for the microphone and speakers built into the car itself to be used during a call. An optional OnStar feature allows vehicle owners to prepurchase airtime minutes and utilize the OnStar system to initiate hands-free calls without a smartphone.

Most or all OnStar RemoteLink app features work with 2010 or later model year Buicks, Chevrolets, Cadillacs, and GMC trucks that have OnStar activated. The remote ignition starter, for example, requires a vehicle to have an optional, factory installed and enabled remote starter.

If you already have an active OnStar account for your vehicle, simply download and install the OnStar RemoteLink app from the App Store. When you launch the app for the first time, enter your existing OnStar username and password or your OnStar account number and ZIP code. A connection between your vehicle and iPhone will be established, and connection details will remain saved within your phone. If you own multiple GM cars, the app can manage up to four separate vehicles simultaneously, and each can have its own nickname for easy reference.

When the link between the iPhone and vehicle (through OnStar) has been established, all the app’s functionality, in terms of managing the vehicle, is done by tapping on one of the menu icons displayed along the bottom of the app’s screen. These buttons include Dashboard, Remote, Nav, Assist, and More.

Tap the Dashboard button to access vehicle diagnostics, such as the car’s tire pressure. This information displays graphically on the iPhone’s screen (see Figure 2). To remotely lock or unlock the car’s doors, or turn on the ignition, tap the Remote button, and then tap the Lock, Unlock, Remote Start, Cancel Start, Horn & Lights, or Stop Horn & Light button (see Figure 3).

Figure 2 From your iPhone, you can check your vehicle's tire pressure remotely

Figure 3 Lock or unlock your vehicle's doors, turn on or off the ignition, or sound the horn and flash the headlights remotely from the OnStar RemoteLink app

When the Remote Start feature is activated, the vehicle’s doors will lock and the car will idol for 10 minutes before shutting off automatically, unless the driver enters the vehicle or retaps the Remote Start button on the iPhone.

Depending on which GM vehicle make and model the OnStar RemoteLink app is used with, how the app integrates with the in-car navigation system varies. However, from the iPhone, you can look up points of interest or addresses by tapping on the Nav button and then entering what you’re looking for into the Bing search field (see Figure 4). You can also import an address from the Contacts app and then have the app wirelessly forward this information from the iPhone directly to the vehicle’s built-in infotainment system.

Figure 4 Look up an address or point of interest from the Bing search field within the OnStar RemoteLink app, and then wirelessly send it to your vehicle's navigation system

Upon tapping on the app’s Assist button, an OnStar Advisor can be reached 24-hours-per-day, 365-days-per year. You can also contact OnStar Roadside Assistance with a single on-screen tap or contact your preferred local GM dealership.

Managing the app and pairing a vehicle with OnStar to the app are among the options available by tapping the More button. This screen also displays your Vehicle Identification Number, the nickname you’ve assigned to your car, and your OnStar account number.

The OnStar service is available throughout almost the entire United States and Canada. After the initial trial period with a new car purchase, OnStar has a monthly fee based on which services you want access to. OnStar can also be activated with the purchase of a used GM vehicle.

For 2006 or later model year cars, the monthly OnStar fee starts at $18.95 per month for the Safe & Sound plan, which includes automatic crash response, emergency services, hands-free calling, unlimited use of the RemoteLink app, stolen vehicle assistance, roadside assistance, remote services, and vehicle diagnostics. For $28.90 per month, turn-by-turn navigation is also included. Money-saving annual contracts for between 1 and 3 years are available.

GM’s goal to create “connected cars” has become a reality, and with each model year, new technological advancements are introduced that include innovative ways for drivers to interact with their vehicles, at times using their iPhone and the Internet connectivity it provides.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020