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edd_jedi

CarPlay & Android Auto Retrofit Installation and Review

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As mentioned in the other Android thread, I recently ordered one of the new units that only has CarPlay and Android Auto, without an Android OS. As it’s a different system, I thought it would be best to create a new thread.

 

I bought it from Andream, this is one of the units that replaces your screen, rather than using the original one. The benefits of this are a higher resolution display, and also touch capability. It cost around £240, with free delivery and no import tax. This makes it significantly cheaper than buying the Android unit plus a CarPlay adapter. It took 6 days to arrive, which I was happy with having heard stories about other suppliers claiming to be in the UK but still shipping from China!

 

When I opened the box, I was immediately impressed with the build quality. It’s heavy, the moulded plastic is a good match for the OEM unit, and the screen has a nice solid glass feel to it. I was expecting it to look and feel cheap, but it doesn’t. My only gripe is that no fitting or user instructions were included, Andream send you a link to a video which is good enough, but not very professional.

 

Before installing the unit, the first thing I did was fit an anti-glare screen protector, as I have seen videos of other Android units and the screens looked very reflective. I bought a matte ‘anti-glare’ tablet screen protector from eBay for £2, and cut it down to size. I put this on before fitting the unit as I thought it would be a nightmare to fit afterwards. It makes a huge difference, the screen now has a nice matte finish like the OEM one rather than looking like a mirror, I highly recommend this to anyone with an Android unit that is unhappy with the glare. 

 

Installation was pretty straight forward, it took me just under an hour. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos! I found it quite difficult to get the stereo trim off, it was really tight and I was worried it would break. The CCC ‘head unit’ doesn’t come fully out without putting the autobox in Drive (got to love how BMW make everything unneccassarily difficult.) You then have to remove the MOST cables from the original loom and move them to the same spot on the new one, I assume so you don’t lose your CD changer. Also there is not much room to thread the video cable up to where the screen sits, so it took me a while to find a suitable route. But it was easy enough to follow the ‘official’ Andream installation video. I intend to use mine wirelessly mostly, but it comes with a USB cable for wired CarPlay so I routed that to the glove box in case I ever want use it (eg a really long journey that would drain the phone battery.)

 

Once all plugged in, I turned it on to test it before putting everything back together, and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it booted up, taking just a few seconds while showing a nice ‘BMW Connected Drive’ splash screen, which I believe is stolen from CIC/NBT. At first it showed the old iDrive screen, like all these units the audio comes from AUX (which you need to have coded already) so I selected that. Then holding the menu button for 3 seconds took me to the initial setup screen where you can choose between CarPlay, Android Auto, or settings. I selected Wireless CarPlay, followed the onscreen instructions, then my phone prompted me to allow CarPlay, and it was connected. It was very straight forward, and because it basically mirrors your phone, it’s ready to use!

 

First impressions were really good, the screen looks great, especially with the screen protector on. I was worried about the sound level and quality but it’s not bad at all, a little quieter than the factory stereo but not as quiet as the original AUX in. I won’t go in to loads of detail about CarPlay because there is loads of info about it online and it’s almost the same on every system, but in summary I now have Google Maps and Waze for navigation, my music and podcasts from my phone with album art, DAB via the TuneIn app, I can make calls and send messages using Siri without having to take my eyes off the road, and should I ever need to use the iDrive software, a 3 second push of the menu button brings it back. I was also slightly worried that the screen would be too far away for the touchscreen to be any use, but it’s not too bad and I won’t need to use it much anyway.

 

The settings allow you to change things like volume, CCC type (6” or 8” screen), reverse camera etc. But I left everything as default, and haven’t needed to change anything yet.

 

There are a couple of issues I have noticed so far. Firstly, although I can control CarPlay with the iDrive controller and steering wheel volume buttons, the forward/back buttons do not work, despite the Andream website saying they should. I’ve tried playing with a few settings, but nothing has got them working. It’s not the end of the world though as the CarPlay ‘dashboard’ has large next/previous track buttons on the screen. Also I have noticed that when using it wirelessly, the music sometimes skips or stutters. I Googled this issue and lots of people are reporting it, it seems to be an issue with iOS 13 rather than the CarPlay unit. Hopefully a future software update will fix it, and it seems to do it less often with a wired connection. Finally on the dashboard you cannot set the map to Google Maps, it is Apple Maps, but apparently that’s Google’s fault for not enabling it, not Apple.

 

Overall I’m really happy with it and would highly recommend to anyone with an iPhone (I’m sure it works well with Android Auto as well, but I don’t have a phone to test to with.) It’s exactly what I wanted at a price I’m happy with, and makes the car feel ten years newer. Hopefully future software updates on both the unit and iOS sort out the few niggles I mentioned above. Here are some photos that show some of the apps and main screens, plus hopefully you can see how the screen protector gives it a matte finish rather than being reflective.

 

IMG_0385.thumb.jpeg.6afd00c575b56a9103e7cbcaae9e3033.jpeg

 

IMG_0384.thumb.jpeg.2710aa74af297889e98e121d5e75091a.jpeg

 

IMG_0379.thumb.jpeg.9876363361a7e58e877cb787187544f3.jpeg

 

IMG_0380.thumb.jpeg.fc55b841ec47e725929d819fb34f42bf.jpeg

 

IMG_0382.thumb.jpeg.db81350fccf37cbc305f8d9f00826385.jpeg

Edited by edd_jedi

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A few links that might be useful to anyone interested in buying one...

 

The unit itself from Andream: https://www.android-car-dvd.de/products/8-8-wireless-apple-carplay-android-auto-head-unit-multimedia-for-bmw-series3-5-e60-e61-e63-e64-m5-e90-e91-e92-e93-m3?_pos=1&_sid=563236e18&_ss=r

 

Anti-glare screen protectors that fit with a little cutting: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/391299925944

 

Andream's installation and user guide video: 

 

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Seriously impressed.

 

If my old faithful E60 wasn't so old, and me over 4 times older again I would be ordering now!  Trouble is I am still trying to figure out how the two empty bean cans connected to a length of string works!!!

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A couple of updates, firstly Google Maps have just activated dashboard compatibility in the latest update. That means you can now use Google Maps as your 'default' mapping app on the dashboard (split screen.) This is the one feature I really wanted, so am happy it came so quickly :)

 

Also I've noticed a nice little 'side effect' of using Google Maps, before while Apple Maps was running on either the full screen or dashboard, as above in my review any music playing would occasionally stutter. I thought it was an iOS or CarPlay bug, but I've just done an hour long drive using Google Maps (both fully open and on the dashboard) and there wasn't a single stutter. Perhaps just a coincidence and I'll have to monitor it, but maybe the bug was with Apple Maps after all, a side effect of turning off voice navigation maybe? I'll be really pleased if that is sorted.

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Do you still retain use of steering wheel controls and the iDrive controller?

 

I’ve considered this but my e60 has the newer iDrive with multi buttons so not sure how it would work

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The steering wheel volume and accept call (activates Siri) work, skip forward/back track do not. Hopefully they sort that in a future update, surely if they can make the call button work it can't be impossible. I only have the single button iDrive controller, but yes that works to scroll and click on things. Take a look at the video I posted above for a demo

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Did you have to install an aux cable or did your car already have aux setup? 

 

Great write up and always good to read peoples experiences whether good or bad so cheers for that.

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I fitted AUX myself when I first bought the car as it didn't have it from the factory. But you don't need to install the physical cable for this to work, just do the coding to enable AUX in the inputs menu.

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Ok, that was going to be my next question Edd :-) out of interest where did you get the aux cable to connect to the CCC unit?

 

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These are currently on offer for just £210:

 

https://www.android-car-dvd.de/products/8-8-wireless-apple-carplay-android-auto-head-unit-multimedia-for-bmw-series3-5-e60-e61-e63-e64-m5-e90-e91-e92-e93-m3?_pos=1&_sid=563236e18&_ss=r

 

It really is an absolute bargain, I am really happy with mine, it makes it feel like a new car.

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Hi edd_jedi,

 

Thanks for the post, very informative. 

 

How do I check if my car has Auxillary. I have an audio-in jack between the front seat armrest, below the air vents, could that mean that I have the connection for AUX that comes with the stereo? and is the connection on the stereo itself or do I stll need the cable?

 

Sorry about all the questions :)

 

 

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I definitely have that option within Idrive, I use it to play audio wireless directly from my phone via a Bluetooth receiver which is connected to the Audio jack at the lower part of the armrest. I guess I can get rid of the receiver once I install the Andriod Auto unit right?

 

Do I need any additional Aux cables/Adaptor or will it just connect?

 

Thanks again!

 

 

 

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Hey Edd, I finally received it and it has just been installed today

 

It works pretty well for the most part and all Audio definitely comes out of the unit as you described for a 5 series.

 

I have a couple of minor issues: 

  • The factory screen is oversized, I hear that I can change this in the factory settings. Do you know the code?
  • Audio only works when the factory settings are set to AUX IN, which is fine but once I switch back to Andriod Auto the car switches the audio channel back to FM almost always. I'm planning on testing it with my old Bluetooth receiver plugged into the aux-in port to see if that helps as I don't think this was a problem before. Any other ideas would be most appreciated.

Thanks again for recommending this, it feels like a brand new car, very chuffed indeed!

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, babzillan said:

Hey Edd, I finally received it and it has just been installed today

 

It works pretty well for the most part and all Audio definitely comes out of the unit as you described for a 5 series.

 

I have a couple of minor issues: 

  • The factory screen is oversized, I hear that I can change this in the factory settings. Do you know the code?
  • Audio only works when the factory settings are set to AUX IN, which is fine but once I switch back to Andriod Auto the car switches the audio channel back to FM almost always. I'm planning on testing it with my old Bluetooth receiver plugged into the aux-in port to see if that helps as I don't think this was a problem before. Any other ideas would be most appreciated.

Thanks again for recommending this, it feels like a brand new car, very chuffed indeed!

 

 

 

 

Glad you like it! Both very easy fixes, to fix the stretched screen you need to go to Settings > Factory Settings (code 1368) > Model Selection, and change it to CCC_E60 6.5" screen. To stop it automatically switching to radio, go to Settings > Factory Settings > ARM Setup and change AUX mode to Manual. 

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3 hours ago, edd_jedi said:

 

Glad you like it! Both very easy fixes, to fix the stretched screen you need to go to Settings > Factory Settings (code 1368) > Model Selection, and change it to CCC_E60 6.5" screen. To stop it automatically switching to radio, go to Settings > Factory Settings > ARM Setup and change AUX mode to Manual. 

 

Thank you so much Edd. You are a god!!

 

Just applied those settings and it worked perfectly, Just one last thing, when I adjust the brightness in the display settings it gets brighter for a second and then reverts back to the dimmer screen, almost like its got some kind of light sensor feature enabled. Is there a fix for that?

Edited by babzillan

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1 hour ago, edd_jedi said:

Do you have your headlights on? There is a setting that dims the display when your headlights turn on (System Settings > Backlight I think)

Ahhh, I was wondering about that setting when I was going through it. I didn't want to make any changes that I didn't fully understand. 

 

Thanks Again!! 

 

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6 hours ago, iReaper1157 said:

Really tempted to do this. I can’t see the full android unit being any more beneficial. 

 

Now that I've had it for a few months, CarPlay makes so much more sense than having a separate system. When I get in the car I can continue listening to the same track I had on my headphones, navigate to the place I already searched for before leaving the house, continue with the Audiobook I was listening to last night, and so on. Already, the idea of having to get in the car and enter where I need to go in the navigation, or find something to listen to, seems like a chore. Phones do almost everything you need to these days, so CarPlay is a brilliant in car system.

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4 minutes ago, edd_jedi said:

 

Now that I've had it for a few months, CarPlay makes so much more sense than having a separate system. When I get in the car I can continue listening to the same track I had on my headphones, navigate to the place I already searched for before leaving the house, continue with the Audiobook I was listening to last night, and so on. Already, the idea of having to get in the car and enter where I need to go in the navigation, or find something to listen to, seems like a chore. Phones do almost everything you need to these days, so CarPlay is a brilliant in car system.

I’m sold! 
once I finish paying off XHP that’ll be my next purchase. 
 

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