Pioneer Apple Carplay in my S3

Rock Carver

Registered User
After a bit of an installation saga, finally my new Pioneer SPH-DA120 is in place and working. Well sort off.

I thought I'd share the experience just in case anyone else is thinking about fitting one of these mech-less Head Units in an A3/S3 8P.

First off, the sound quality is a vast improvement over the Concert II+ it replaced. Despite the pain I've gone through, it is worth it just for that. The downside is that Audiopilot is still engaged on the Bose amp. So my next task is definitely to disable that.

Talking about Bose, why they make it so difficult to fit aftermarket head units to the amplified Bose system is a mystery to me. Other than rip it out completely, which I personally didn't want to do, the best you can hope for is a pretty good fudge. The new head unit has been in and out a number of times whilst the Bose white noise issue is addressed. There is still a very slight amount of white noise in the background but, it is very slight and with the engine on, it masks it completely.

Carplay works well but, has a few quirks that don't come out in the apple promo video! When you enable "Hey Siri" on your iPhone it can be activated in your car and it does mostly recognise your command. However, just saying "Hey Siri" once is not enough. When you get the first ping and the screen says "What can I help you with today", you have to say "Hey Siri" Again and then it lets you say what it is you want. Phone, Text, Maps etc... However, failing the voice command, if you just keep your finger on the Home Button to activate Siri, it works perfectly.

I have to say, when it works, it does work well and having text messages ping up and have them read to you by Siri is a nice feature. The maps function is still only as good as Apple maps, and all iPhone users know how rubbish that can be but, tell Siri to take you home and it/he activates your maps and engages the sat nav.

Yes, you can play video from your iPhone via an expensive Apple DV/HDMI Lightning connector but, and this is a major flaw in my opinion, you can only have your phone connected to one or the other as both Carplay and Video wont work through the same connection. You either have to disconnect the DV connector and just use a lightning connector for Carplay or add the DV/HDMI for video playback and have no Carplay functionality. Madness or what!!!!

Another major flaw is that AppRadio is not compliant with IOS 8. So, if you have an iPhone 6, this function wont work at all. If you have an iPhone 5/5C or 5S with IOS 7, apparently it will. You could say why would you want it if Carplay works but, given that there are loads of apps for AppRadio, it would be nice if it actually worked and you could choose which one you wanted to use. I suspect this will be fixed by Pioneer in the future but, I wont be holding my breath given their customer service.

Music from your phone via Carplay works well and gives you a great view of your library and track and artist info. One thing that isn't so good in my opinion is that your artwork is only displayed faintly in the background. You can change from Carplay to iPod mode and then the album artwork is displayed but, a bit odd that this isn't the case within Carplay.

It's also worth pointing out that the only MFSW features you will get are Volume, Track Skip, and Station Skip on Radio.

If anyone else has one of these fitted and hasn't got the issues I have, then feel free to correct me and tell me how you did it.. :)

Lastly, a special thanks to Leshkin for helping me out with the right part numbers.:icon thumright::icon thumright::icon thumright:. The crowd I used fitted all the wrong parts despite me telling them!!!!! They did finally sort it but, it could have been a much easier experience and cheaper!!!!

SPH.JPG
 

leshkin

Hold my beer...
VCDS Map User
Glad you got it mostly sorted mate! The unit looks very nice indeed.

What harness cables did you end up using in the end?
 

Rock Carver

Registered User
That looks cool mind if I ask how much it was mate?is it just a case of plug and play?
The unit is around £350, but you need a few cables that are custom made. These will set you back around £160 plus fitting. A fitter will charge roughly £50 an hour and It would take around 2-3 hours to fit. The cables make it relatively plug and play but, if you have a Bose system you need to make sure you connect the amp in order that it fires up when you turn the key. A decent fitter would be able to sort that out though.

The Parts are:
Connects2 CTSAD006.2 - Audi A3, A4, A6, TT Steering Wheel Stalk Control Adaptor - Patch Lead: Pioneer
Connects2 CT27AA87 - Universal Twin Fakra to DIN Antenna Adaptor
Connects2 CT23AU02A - Audi A3 Double Din Fascia Panel Adaptor
 

Wickedweasal

Registered User
Very tempted with this it looks great. Thanks for the write up, looking at pioneers website they have lots of issues with ios8 hopefully they will get fixed soon.

Personally I prefer using waze to Apple maps has never let me down yet.
 

jordann

Registered User
I'm impressed with your write up, it's a good read whilst waiting for the dreaded 9 o'**** to start with a hot chocolate in hand. The unit itself looks really smart and looks like it's been fitted well. I've got a Pioneer AppRadio myself and the cage was slightly bigger than my standard unit so we had to crack out the dremel, along with having to 'modify' the fascia, but it's in now and until Christmas is over thats the way it's going to stay.
 

iyrix

Registered User
Great right up! Thanks.

Got a couple of questions, what is the bluetooth hands free like?
Can you do a demo of the maps?

Thanks
Graham
 

Ash187

Registered User
VCDS Map User
Gold Supporter
Although i don't yet have an apple carplay version of the pioneer units i do have the one before that has the app radio but there are a couple things which doesn't sound right...
the install shouldn't take over an hour... its pretty much plug and play with a couple of wires to connect to grounding points.
I have Bose in mine from factory and when i switched to the pioneer i have never had any issues with 'white noise'. this could be possibly due to the stereo i have as i didn't go for any of the DA models since they are the lower end ones.
Also my MFSW allows me to change tracks, volume, mute the stereo and answer and hang up bluetooth calls. I used to have the option to switch sources until my first Connects2 box burnt out and then i lost that on the replacement box. funny enough you have the updated connects2 steering wheel adapter so it should also work to answer calls... when your phone rings try pressing the right side button with the speech logo on it and see if the call is answered.

one thing i wish they would add is the airplay video thing in the apple tv... that would be such a perfect feature to have video running on the screen
 

iyrix

Registered User
I'm just interested on how good the hands free kits is, and the maps.. :)
 

Ash187

Registered User
VCDS Map User
Gold Supporter
I have ordered my new AVH X8600BT so when it turns up i will install it and let you guys know how it performs in comparison to the lower end version. it should overcome the app radio/car play issue as it has 2 usb sockets on the back of it.
 

leshkin

Hold my beer...
VCDS Map User
Ah yes, that's the one I bought too :)

Very good unit, although does suffer from a very occasional random reboot even after the latest firmware was installed. I might raise a support case for that if it bothers me.
 

Rock Carver

Registered User
Update:

I thought i'd just give a bit of an update on how this has been a week or so in.

The bluetooth phone setup works well if you don't want to use Carplay (Carplay disconnects bluetooth, as obviously your phone is connected via a lightning cable so doesn't need it). The advantage of Carplay over Bluetooth is that all your contacts are live as soon as you connect your phone. However, if you just want o use Hands free without connecting up your iPhone, this also works really well. No issues that I've come across.

Apple maps works well as did the Nav app I used in Appradio.

I've managed to get Appradio working but, for me, Carplay works better for what I need it to do. There are some good Appradio apps but, it's a bit of a pain having to disconnect your phone, reconnect to the DV adapter, switch off all the Carplay functions and change the AV outputs in your HU settings. If you have an iPhone, Carplay is the way to go.

Thanks to Ash187 for pointing out that you can answer calls in Carplay through the MFSW by pressing the speech logo button.

Other than that, there is still a number of software glitches that come up from time to time. The most recent one is the home button on Carplay repositioned itself in the middle of the screen which made it impossible to use. The solution requires re-booting your phone. In fact, re-booting your phone seems to resolve most of the issues including the "hey siri" glitch so there is still much work for Apple to do.

By far and away the biggest gripe I have (one that is fixable thankfully) is that Audiopilot is still engaged. Even with the EQ controls and Sub controls, Audiopilot still interferes massively, especially at quieter volumes.

In summary:
Am I glad I did it? - Yes.
Is it better than the Audi Concert? - Much better.
Is it worth the money? - Yes, and it's probably cheaper than fitting a RNS-e
Is Carplay any good? - For Phone and Music it's great.
Is Siri any good? - Yes but, it's intermittent at best, and you have to be in a good reception area.
Can you pop the Concert back in when you come to sell? - Yes, very easily and no one would ever know you had a different HU in.

Hope this helps.:)
 

Ironborn

English...not so good
VCDS Map User
To me It looks like a cheap eBay special tablet stuck to your central console, but hey you know the rest...
 

BennyG_UK

Top Gear
VCDS Map User
Does it integrate with FIS and show you track information and satnav arrows etc? This always seems to get missed with aftermarket units
 

Ash187

Registered User
VCDS Map User
Gold Supporter
I got my x8600bt today and inside the box there was a small weird looking cable that connected into the back of the unit... looked it up in the manual and it shows to be a vehicle bus connector... this got me thinking its possibly a canbus connector so i called my friend up who told me that it will be able to show up info on the DIS but the rest of the kit that the wire plugs into has not yet been released by Pioneer yet and when it does it will be around £180 to buy!
i guess i will just wait and see when it releases
 

leshkin

Hold my beer...
VCDS Map User
I have a feeling that this would not only give you DIS integration, but additional OBD info from the car like speed, mpg, aircon etc. This is part of the Mirrorlink spec for OEMs I think.
 

BennyG_UK

Top Gear
VCDS Map User
Jesus 180quid? BUT if it can show a boost gauge on the head unit its a win lol
 

Mark Cody

Registered User
Update:

I thought i'd just give a bit of an update on how this has been a week or so in.

The bluetooth phone setup works well if you don't want to use Carplay (Carplay disconnects bluetooth, as obviously your phone is connected via a lightning cable so doesn't need it). The advantage of Carplay over Bluetooth is that all your contacts are live as soon as you connect your phone. However, if you just want o use Hands free without connecting up your iPhone, this also works really well. No issues that I've come across.

Apple maps works well as did the Nav app I used in Appradio.

I've managed to get Appradio working but, for me, Carplay works better for what I need it to do. There are some good Appradio apps but, it's a bit of a pain having to disconnect your phone, reconnect to the DV adapter, switch off all the Carplay functions and change the AV outputs in your HU settings. If you have an iPhone, Carplay is the way to go.

Thanks to Ash187 for pointing out that you can answer calls in Carplay through the MFSW by pressing the speech logo button.

Other than that, there is still a number of software glitches that come up from time to time. The most recent one is the home button on Carplay repositioned itself in the middle of the screen which made it impossible to use. The solution requires re-booting your phone. In fact, re-booting your phone seems to resolve most of the issues including the "hey siri" glitch so there is still much work for Apple to do.

By far and away the biggest gripe I have (one that is fixable thankfully) is that Audiopilot is still engaged. Even with the EQ controls and Sub controls, Audiopilot still interferes massively, especially at quieter volumes.

In summary:
Am I glad I did it? - Yes.
Is it better than the Audi Concert? - Much better.
Is it worth the money? - Yes, and it's probably cheaper than fitting a RNS-e
Is Carplay any good? - For Phone and Music it's great.
Is Siri any good? - Yes but, it's intermittent at best, and you have to be in a good reception area.
Can you pop the Concert back in when you come to sell? - Yes, very easily and no one would ever know you had a different HU in.

Hope this helps.:)

Great summary. I am just on the brink of buying these for my A3 convertible and have some questions;

Does carplay use much data? The maps in particular worry me that they will eat the data.
What happens if you have poor phone/data signal using carplay?
Does the screen suffer from glare as it seems quite shiny?
Where did you locate the USB/lightning cable? I cent decide where the best place to put the phone is.
Any watch outs I need to consider?
How is the FM radio of the unit?

I've see these advertised in Halfords for £350. I'd assume they can get the correct fittings/cables for installing. If not, I am looking for somewhere in North London to supply and fit.

Many thanks
Mark
 

Ash187

Registered User
VCDS Map User
Gold Supporter
HI Mark,

I can fit the unit for you if you wanted it done i am based just outside of London by Dartford and can come to you.

as for the answers to your questions...

Although i have a carplay compatible unit i have disabled the functionality as it interferes with the way i like to use the system.

i have an iPod that stays in the car with all my music on it, when i plug in my iPhone to charge it picks up the carplay and automatically switches to the iPhone and tries to play music from the phone. i don't really store music on the phone so it doesn't serve my purpose.
I also have a paid version of Tomtom on my iPhone with full traffic updates which can't be displayed on the headhunt with carplay so another reason i don't use it.

on the matter of Data i can't say how the phone uses it due to the fact that i have loads of data on my contract (20GB) and as i had said that i use tomtom not apple maps.

when the phone drops signal carplay does suffer, i experienced this when i was testing carplay with the 'siri eyes free' feature... when i had poor reception i had to wait 2 minutes to get a response which is a long time when watching the silly loading icon.

The headunits have a nice matte finish, not as glossy as you think so it does look nice.

you choose where you would like the USB cable to be, you could have it in the glove box, or by the ashtray or if you had a long cable it can even be in the armrest. i have located a USB port under the armrest on my US centre console.

The FM radio honestly isn't the best... i have found that the signal drops a bit after installing the headunit, but there are loads of options for that after... you could install a DAB unit if you really wanted radio.

Hope that helps you
 

Mark Cody

Registered User
HI Mark,

I can fit the unit for you if you wanted it done i am based just outside of London by Dartford and can come to you.

as for the answers to your questions...

Although i have a carplay compatible unit i have disabled the functionality as it interferes with the way i like to use the system.

i have an iPod that stays in the car with all my music on it, when i plug in my iPhone to charge it picks up the carplay and automatically switches to the iPhone and tries to play music from the phone. i don't really store music on the phone so it doesn't serve my purpose.
I also have a paid version of Tomtom on my iPhone with full traffic updates which can't be displayed on the headhunt with carplay so another reason i don't use it.

on the matter of Data i can't say how the phone uses it due to the fact that i have loads of data on my contract (20GB) and as i had said that i use tomtom not apple maps.

when the phone drops signal carplay does suffer, i experienced this when i was testing carplay with the 'siri eyes free' feature... when i had poor reception i had to wait 2 minutes to get a response which is a long time when watching the silly loading icon.

The headunits have a nice matte finish, not as glossy as you think so it does look nice.

you choose where you would like the USB cable to be, you could have it in the glove box, or by the ashtray or if you had a long cable it can even be in the armrest. i have located a USB port under the armrest on my US centre console.

The FM radio honestly isn't the best... i have found that the signal drops a bit after installing the headunit, but there are loads of options for that after... you could install a DAB unit if you really wanted radio.

Hope that helps you
Thanks for the feedback. Could you give me an idea of what it would cost to fit with the necessary cables etc? You can PM me if easier.

I suppose the phone doesn't need to be on show if CarPlay works as it should so I can easily put inside the armrest or out of the way. I am in Enfield so only 30mins from you.

Thanks
Mark
 
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