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Finally! For $249 I have a permanent Nav and no longer have to plug/unplug my iPhone for CarPlay!

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:40 pm
by BoltEV
Background:

I wanted an installed Navigator in my Bolt EV, just like I had in my Chevy Volt, but it is just not offered.

Interestingly enough, I read on these forums much criticism of the concept of paying for this option by people who are not interested in the option of an internal Nav. An opinion rendered useless by their lack of interest in having an internal Nav.

Nevertheless, for two years now, I have encountered these problems:

• Getting in the car with my iPhone in my pocket and while driving wanting to use the Nav.

I then have to work my hand down through my pants pocket that is being held down by my seat belt, so that I can wiggle it out, then take my eyes off the road while I connect the USB cable. Of course, I could pull over and do this more safely, but typically this comes up when I am already driving on the freeway.

• Getting ready to go to sleep and remembering that my iPhone is still in the car and having to go retrieve it from my outdoor detached garage.

The fact of the matter is that I hailed the introduction of Bluetooth as the wireless revolution it was and has become.

I used to connect my iPod by an FM transmitter device from Griffin Technologies, which operated at less than full optimum performance, to be able to hear it through my vehicle's audio system.

Finally radios had an "AUX" jack, but still was clunky and did not support hands free cell usage.

Bluetooth took care of all these problems with the iPhone remaining in my pocket from entering the vehicle, driving and departing the vehicle.

The Bolt EV's insistence on "wired" Apple CarPlay and no internal Nav took all that away for the last two years!

Solution:

So now I just purchased a refurbished iPhone SE from Apple ($249 - 32Gb; or $299 - 128Gb), without a SIM and use it as a pure WiFi Device.

Setting it up with the same Apple ID as my primary iPhone, turning on Family Sharing, having both iPhones connect to the OnStar WiFi (or alternatively having the WiFi iPhone connected to the WiFi Personal Hotspot of my primary iPhone) now allows me get in and out of my Bolt EV, with my primary iPhone in my pocket at all times and:

• Receive and make telephone calls hands free

• Send and receive iMessages hands free

• Utilize my choice of map (Waze) for an always available Navigator

I am once again a Happy Camper! :)

The only downside that I can see is that I cannot use CarPlay to make or receive SMS texts that do not work through iMessage. However, I only use these types of texts about 5% of the time (1 out of 20), and if one of these text messages comes in while I am driving, I will hear its tone from my pocket. I will then know to go read and respond to it from my principal iPhone when it is safe.

Next, I am going to research how to jailbreak the iPhone SE so that I can use "car driver" on it which opens up most all of the Apps to Apple CarPlay.

In my case I want to use Plex to be able to view movies on the Bolt EV's display while I am parked. I will then be able to have installed the infotainment upgrade that removes that capability I now have utilizing a separately created flash drive, instead of just on my iPhone's library.

Re: Finally! For $249 I have a permanent Nav and no longer have to plug/unplug my iPhone for CarPlay!

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:42 am
by SeanNelson
BoltEV wrote:...Setting it up ... allows me get in and out of my Bolt EV, with my primary iPhone in my pocket at all times and:

• Receive and make telephone calls hands free

• Send and receive iMessages hands free

• Utilize my choice of map (Waze) for an always available Navigator

You didn't mention music, but being able to play my Spotify music in the car is another benefit I get from the Bolt's ability to use CarPlay and Android Auto. I'm also a frequent user of the Google Assistant to answer weather and other general questions - it lets us settle arguments instantly without anyone having to yank out their phones ;-).

These are precisely the kinds of reasons why many of us have no interest in a built-in navigation option. CarPlay and Android Auto have so many more features that it seems pointless to pay for something with far fewer options.

I use my primary phone with Android Auto. I've just gotten into the habit of always sliding it into its slot when I get into the car and retrieving it when I leave. I have a short 6" USB cable that's adopted a shape over time where the plug hangs right next to the phone's socket - it only takes me a couple of seconds to mount the phone and plug it in.

Re: Finally! For $249 I have a permanent Nav and no longer have to plug/unplug my iPhone for CarPlay!

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:37 am
by cwerdna
Yeah, oddly, the discontinued iPhone SE has shown up multiple times in the past month or two in the Apple clearance store: https://www.macrumors.com/2019/02/19/ip ... e-restock/.

I'm an iPhone guy and I have no issue w/two bullet points the OP mentioned.

I normally carry at least 2 phones (personal iPhone 8, work Android phone (Pixel 3)), usually 3 (3rd is some other iOS test device as I work on iOS software for a living). I've sometimes tried using the pocket/slot to charge my Pixel 3 and often end up leaving my car only to discover I left the phone in the pocket. Fortunately, I haven't walked very far when that happens.

Re: Finally! For $249 I have a permanent Nav and no longer have to plug/unplug my iPhone for CarPlay!

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:55 pm
by SparkE
So you bought a map option for less than Chevy would have offered it (if they offered it at the same price as the Volt nav), which can be carried with you into any car you want, with free map upgrades.

Re: Finally! For $249 I have a permanent Nav and no longer have to plug/unplug my iPhone for CarPlay!

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:31 pm
by BoltEV
SparkE wrote:So you bought a map option for less than Chevy would have offered it (if they offered it at the same price as the Volt nav), which can be carried with you into any car you want, with free map upgrades.

Any Nav in a Nav-less storm!! :lol:

The key was getting it to make/answer phone calls and iMessages from the same number/account as my primary phone.

Now I am never without a Nav when I commence driving - my criticism of the existing “no-Nav option offered by Chevy” situation.

Re: Finally! For $249 I have a permanent Nav and no longer have to plug/unplug my iPhone for CarPlay!

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:28 pm
by BoltEV
Not ready for prime time :(

After a few days the SE without a SIM stopped working in making phone calls cloned over to my other iPhone. It still receives calls and sends and receives text through Apple CarPlay.

I checked with Apple and they said they were surprised it actually sent calls those initial days. So I obtained a refund for now.

The answer should have been the iPod Touch, which they recommended and initially swapped for the SE.

However, at this time, only iPhones will work with Apple CarPlay, so I refunded that unit the same day (luckily I tried it out in the parking lot!).

I'll keep searching...