OK iPhone users. This post is for you!
Insane Audio's JL3001 now supports both wired and wireless Apple CarPlay in addition to all the other super awesome features of our product. That being said, however, there are a few nuances that you should be aware of. We have created this post to hopefully clear up any confusion.
Firstly, we should start by saying that we are not big fans of Apple CarPlay here at Insane Audio. In fact, later in this post we'll be talking about how to turn all this off if you'd like. The reason we aren't fans of CarPlay isn't because of the technology per se, but moreso because of just how restrictve the platform is. The following picture should put things in perspective..
Your Insane Audio JL3001 is FAR more powerful then Apple CarPlay and has the ability to run its own apps. We always recommend that customers take advantage of that to truly unlock the power of your Insane Audio head unit. To understand more about just how powerful this is, you can check out some of the writeups our team has put together right here on the Insane Audio Forum - https://insaneaudio.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=7
Now that we've gotten that off our chest, we certainly understand that some folks want to use CarPlay. There is something to be said about elegance in simplicity and while CarPlay may not support a whole lot of apps it is certainly nice to have something that just works plain and simple when you connect your iPhone. It's also handy to have becasue Apple will ONLY allow voice texting through the CarPlay interface so if you want to do any kinds of handsfree texting then you need to use CarPlay.
The easiest way to use Apple CarPlay is to simply plug your iPhone into the cable labeled CarPlay. This should be in your glovebox. Apple CarPlay needs a specific cable designated and we chose to provide our own cable because the OEM USB ports in the JL/JT don't provide fast enough data speeds for our liking. You have several other USB ports (including your OEM ports) that can be used for either charging a phone or connecting USB thumb drives with media but again, the only cable that works for CarPlay is the one labeled CarPlay.
If for some reason you don't have a cable labled CarPlay, then you may have one of our early JL3001's. Hit up our Insane Audio support staff and we'd be happy to send you a cable free of charge - email@example.com.
Note that you need to make sure Bluetooth is turned OFF on your iPhone when connected to wired Apple CarPlay. Think of it this way - you are either using CarPlay or you are not. If you are using CarPlay, then you are allowing your phone to control the head unit and will do everything from making calls to running apps on your phone. If you are connected to CarPlay and also conencted to Bluetooth then you are asking for problems because both your Insane Audio head unit and your phone (via CarPlay) will be fighting over who is allowed take control of calls.
Another thing we should point out is that we are aware of a bug in several versions of iOS where once you connect to CarPlay for the first time, it will drop off your Hotspot. So, if you are conencted to your hotspot and using our product (perhaps watching a YouTube video), then plug your iPhone into the CarPlay cable, CarPlay will take over but your hotspot will drop off. You can press the Home Button and exit out of CarPlay and your hotspot may eventually reconnect but you likely have to turn off your hotspot on your iPhone then back on. But the good news is that after it connects to your hotspot for the 2nd time and your phone is still connected to the CarPlay cable, then you should be able to toggle back and forth between CarPlay mode and Insane Audio's native interface with full connectivity. This is actually pretty sweet. To jump into CarPlay, simply launch the zLink app. To jump back to Insane Audio, just press the home button. But once you unplug and plug your phone back into that cable you will likely see your hotspot connection drop off again.
If you notice that your iPhones hotspot connection is being stubborn (it either won't connect, connections are dropping off or it doesn't even show up on your JL3001), the first thing you should do is try turning your iPhones hotspot off then back on. If that doesn't do the trick, you may need to reboot your JL3001 to ensure a fresh connection. Simply go to settings -> system -> reboot. We have noticed several instances where connecting and disconnecting CarPlay sometimes causes your phone's hotspot to no longer be visable. Our engineers are looking into this to see if there are any creative workarounds we can do on our end but we are somewhat restricted in what we can do given the CarPlay interface is essentially locked down. The challenge is that CarPlay basically wants to take control and not allow any other connections but we believe that our Insane Audio customers are the ones who should have control and should be able to switch to and from CarPlay whenever they want.
Insane Audio also supports Wireless CarPlay on our JL3001 but here too there are some nuances that you need to be aware of.
First and foremost, you'll need to have CarPlay turned on within your iPhone. By default, when your iPhone connects to Bluetooth then it will automatically switch over to wireless CarPlay. This may change in the future, though. Keep reading this post and you'll see why.
Behind the scenes, a few things are going on. Wireless CarPlay actually uses BOTH bluetooth and WiFi. So that means that you cannot use your iPhones hotspot at the same time as wireless CarPlay. iPhones curretnly don't have the ability to connect to a WiFi network and also broadcast a hotspot. At least not yet. So just know that once you connect to wireless CarPlay that your hotspot will be disconnected.
Note that on some (but not all) versions of iOS, you may also need to manually connect to a WiFi network in order for wireless CarPlay to work. This may also depend on your iPhone settings but if your iPhone doesn't connect right away, try connecting to a WiFi network named AndroidAP_3270 and that should do the trick.
What if I don't want to use Wireless CarPlay?
Now that we understand a bit more about wireless Apple CarPlay, some of you may wonder how do we connect to Bluetooth and NOT switch over to Apple CarPlay. In fact, although we do support wireless Apple CarPlay with Insane Audio's JL3001, this is what we recommend. Use Bluetooth. Use your hotspot. Download all kinds of apps. Go nuts. With no restrictions and access to literally million of apps this is by far the best option for power users.
So, the solution is fairly easy. First, turn off Bluetooth on your iPhone. Make sure nothing is plugged into the CarPlay cable. Open up the zLink app. Click on the settings button on the bottom left. Scroll down. Turn OFF "Connect automatically".
This is by far the best way to use our system. Now, you have effectively disabled wireless CarPlay and you can connect to Bluetooth or your hotspot whenever you want without any worries about your iPhone trying to take control. Should you wish to use CarPlay, no problem - just turn bluetooth off on your iPhone then plug it into the CarPlay cable. Easy peasy.
In fact - we are probably going to turn this feature off on all units we ship going forward just to keep things easy for our customers.
What if I don't want to use CarPlay at all?
This too is an option, but not really necessary if you've followed the above steps. But just for completeness, here is how to disable CarPlay on your iPhone --
iPhones running iOS 13:
Choose Screen Time
Choose Content & Privacy Restrictions
Enable restrictions and then choose Allowed Apps
iPhones running older versions of iOS :
Enable restrictions and enter a passcode
Toggle CarPlay option to Off
Once CarPlay is turned off on our iPhone, you can still connect via Bluetooth for handsfree calling. And of course, you can still connect to your iPhones hotspot and download all kinds of apps.
Some final thoughts
One last note when it comes to connectivity with your iPhone - we always recommend turning OFF your hotspot when not in use. The same goes for Bluetooth. Its just a good habit to get into to turn these things off when you aren't using them and turn them on whenever you'd like to. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, iPhones are notoriously buggy when it comes to connections timing out and when you turn your hotspot or Bluetooth on whenever you want to use it you will almost always ensure a fresh connection. Secondly, this will help your phones battery last a heck of a lot longer. Once you connect for the first time with your Insane Audio head unit, you should never need to do anything else on your Insane Audio head unit. If you ever experience issues connecting to your hotspot or Bluetooth, try turning them off then back on within your iPhone.
Another tip - if you want a consistent hotspot conenction, then we recommend turning off wireless CarPlay as detailed above and just charge your iPhone with something OTHER than the CarPlay port. That way your phone won't try to take over anything and will simply provide a hotspot and/or bluetooth for as long as you'd like.
We hope this post was helpful! Thanks for reading and we'll see 'ya on the trail!
InSaNe AuDio Support Staff
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