CarPlay Wireless CarPlay - Pioneer 4400 Thoughts?

Coffee50

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Original poster
Apr 23, 2015
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Does anyone currently use (or previously used) the Pioneer wireless aftermarket CarPlay unit?

If so, what are you thoughts or reviews?

Thinking of finally adding CarPlay & this unit offers wired & wireless options. Thanks!
 

HeadphoneAddict

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Sep 16, 2007
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I bought the Pioneer 8400NEX last August, and had it installed in my 2017 WRX with the Maestro RR adapter to allow continued use of Starlink, steering wheel controls, factory backup camera, and adds OBD-II gauges.

It's been fantastic so far, and it's nice that I don't always have to dig out my iPhone from my pocket or backpack. I have not tested battery drain while keeping the iPhone connected and unplugged, as I like to keep my iPhone on a magnetic Qi vent charger/stand. But I have no problem making calls wirelessly, using Siri to read my messages, controlling spotify and Tidal music, and finding my way with maps.

I only have a few gripes with Wireless CarPlay vs my previous 8200NEX using wired Carplay.

(1) With the 8400 only one of the two USB ports can be used with CarPlay and iPod Video, and the other USB port is only for using with Android Auto or a thumb drive. So, you can still have your iPhone connected with CarPlay and your iPod Video connected with USB, but you cannot connect two iPods or iPhones to a USB at the same time.

This means that when I'm driving with my son in the car who wants to play his music, and I don't want to disconnect from CarPlay to let him take over (then I can't use hands free calling and texting), then we have to dig out my iPod 5.5G from my center console, unplug it, connect a 30-pin to lightning adapter, and let him plug his 7+ into that.

It's easy to switch our iPhones as the source on Wireless Carplay, but when he's connected to CarPlay to play music and I get a phone call, the he has to pause the music, answer the call on my phone, and put my call on speaker. So, instead we dig out the iPod to swap the cable to his iPhone.

I sometimes use a 60GB 5.5G iPod via USB because when using a 128SD SD Card (in the slot behind the screen) or a thumb drive via USB, I have to rename ALL of the songs on the drive to have a song number in front of the song name, but I don't have to do this when using an iPod for music.

(2) Wireless CarPlay uses WiFi and it disconnects my iPhone from my home WiFi when I start the car in my garage. The problem is that if I am on a phone call using AT&T WiFi-Calling then I lose the call when I lose WiFi (We only have 1 bar LTE here at home, with iPhone 7, 6s, X, and Xs Max, so WiFi calling is a must).

(3) When I am using CarPlay with Apple Maps, and I want to change the music or need to dictate a text, my map screen goes away and the iPhone doesn't display the map either, as it also switches to whatever app is on the CarPlay screen. Likewise, if my passenger grabs my phone to open the browser or read an email to me, the map disappears from the CarPlay screen.

Apple should make the MAP app appear on the iPhone when the CarPlay screen is displaying the music or other screen. So for long trips, I have taken to using my spare iPhone X for maps on the dash vent, which is better than the built in Pioneer navigation, while using my primary Xs Max for everything else and CarPlay which I don't need to keep up on the dash vent at all.

(4) Occasional crashes - not as often as my 8200 though. Almost 1x a week out of 20-30 drives I will have the 8400 crash or the Maestro RR will say it's not connected, requiring me to shut down the car and wait 10 seconds. powering off the Pioneer doesn't seem to make a difference. It's more like only 3x a month.

(5) I don't think the 8400NEX with Wireless CarPlay plays nice when the iPhone is also paired via Bluetooth. It was causing issues with not being able to access CarPlay, and I had to unpair my iPhone from the BT. This has also happened in my Daughter's Jeep Compass with wired CarPlay built in, so...
 
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Coffee50

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Apr 23, 2015
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Thanks so much! Super helpful!

I'm curious about the battery drain as well, but I' assuming it would be the equivalent or similar to if I was using the actual phone for any of the functions (streaming apple music / using maps / phone). I can't see CarPlay draining more (and it could be possible less because the screen isn't using power??)

I think I'm going to just try it. I spoke to a rep at Best Buy & their 14 day return policy applies to car audio, so worst case I could return it.
 

HeadphoneAddict

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Sep 16, 2007
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Thanks so much! Super helpful!

I'm curious about the battery drain as well, but I' assuming it would be the equivalent or similar to if I was using the actual phone for any of the functions (streaming apple music / using maps / phone). I can't see CarPlay draining more (and it could be possible less because the screen isn't using power??)

I think I'm going to just try it. I spoke to a rep at Best Buy & their 14 day return policy applies to car audio, so worst case I could return it.
I only worry about using the GPS on battery, and everything else isn't a huge drain like GPS. But if I didn't want to waste battery on GPS then I can always use the built-in GPS on the Pioneer 8400 instead, while my phone stays in my pocket.
 

Chargerdan

macrumors member
May 24, 2011
78
10
I installed the 4400 2 weeks ago on my truck and so far it's been great. Not having to take the phone out of my pocket makes those short trips a lot better. For longer trips I put it in a dash dock and plug it into a charger. The only way to tell the difference is that the battery icon shows up on the screen when the phone isn't charging and using it's battery.

I used to use a Bluetooth adapter thru the AUX input on my old stereo and for the most part it worked out well. I had to manually establish the connection and some times I wouldn't do it. This became an issue when a message came in or a call came my way. I was good at ignoring and waiting to address those later. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't listen to the OTA radio while using/getting map directions because it was a separate input.

I had used CarPlay in rental cars and I liked it. But I didn't like having to use the cord all of the time especially since I didn't leave a cord in there. I know this isn't an issue with my own automobile but not having to connect a cable has been surprisingly freeing. I see that the signal is disrupted for a quick second every now and then. I assume it's from interference of the wifi connection between the deck and the phone. Aside from that I can't tell a difference between wired and wireless operation.

I can't recommend wireless CarPlay and the 4400 enough. Just note you'll be spoiled going forward.
 
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HeadphoneAddict

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Sep 16, 2007
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I installed the 4400 2 weeks ago on my truck and so far it's been great. Not having to take the phone out of my pocket makes those short trips a lot better. For longer trips I put it in a dash dock and plug it into a charger. The only to tell the difference is that the battery icon shows up on the screen when the phone isn't charging and using it's battery.

I used to use a Bluetooth adapter thru the AUX input on my old stereo and for the most part it worked out well. I had to manually establish the connection and some times I wouldn't do it. This became an issue when a message came in or a call came my way. I was good at ignoring and waiting to address those later. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't listen to the OTA radio while using getting map directions because it was a separate input.

I had used CarPlay in rental cars and I liked it. But I didn't like having to use the cord all of the time especially since I didn't leave a cord in there. I know this isn't an issue with my own automobile but not having to connect a cable has been surprisingly freeing. I see that the signal is disrupted for a quick second every now and then. I assume it's from interference of the wifi connection between the deck and the phone. Aside from that I can't tell a difference between wired and wireless operation.

I can't recommend wireless CarPlay and the 4400 enough. Just note you'll be spoiled going forward.
CarPlay is great, even if not wireless, but yeah, it's nice for short trips to leave the phone in your pocket or backpack and have wireless CarPlay. It sounds a lot better than BT as well, as good as wired when listening to music.

I do dislike that when it's using a peer to peer network it disconnects my phone from other WiFi, because then my Barnes and Noble nook eBook reader loses the iPhone's WiFi hotspot as well. If I'm reading a book as passenger in the car, my nook doesn't update my last read page until I disconnect the iPhone from CarPlay.

In my wife's 2013 Subaru we still use a BT adapter to aux input, as she refuses to let me install my son's old Pioneer 4201NEX in her car (he got my old 8200 as an upgrade when I got the 8400). She doesn't like it when my Pioneer occasionally crashes a couple of times a month, since it only seems to happen when she's in my car (jinx). Those rare crashes only happen soon after we start the car and drive off - it's never in the middle of a long trip, more like an occasional startup issue. So, I'll keep pressing to install the 4201 until she gives in.

We recently took an 1100 mile round trip to Billings MT and back in her car so we could pull our daughter's U-haul trailer, and her car BT adapter worked okay, except it ALWAYS requires me to press a button on the adapter to connect to the phone after starting up the car.

When using my iPhone for map directions via BT we just stick to the SiriusXM app, or Spotify or Tidal, or listen to Audible books instead of listening to OTA radio. For those that are still doing things via BT connections, I know there are a few apps that can even play streaming online versions of many OTA radio stations thru the iPhone.
 

seezar

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2018
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I’ve had the 4400 installed since last August. It’s been fantastic. It was my first exposure to CarPlay and glad I went with a unit that supports wireless. I just get in and drive. Additional battery drain hasn’t been an issue for me.
 
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archer75

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Jan 26, 2005
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I just recently installed the pioneer 8400 along with the idatalink harness and maestro. Works great! I've only ever plugged my phone in to it to test but have used wireless since. Battery drain is really minor. It's just using wifi and the biggest drain, the screen, is off.
Install was pretty easy. The built in nav of the 8400 is actually quite good and has some waze like features. But I have also used apple maps, google maps and waze to navigate around town and it all works fine.
For long road trips i'd plug the phone in.
 

Coffee50

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Original poster
Apr 23, 2015
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I just recently installed the pioneer 8400 along with the idatalink harness and maestro. Works great! I've only ever plugged my phone in to it to test but have used wireless since. Battery drain is really minor. It's just using wifi and the biggest drain, the screen, is off.
Install was pretty easy. The built in nav of the 8400 is actually quite good and has some waze like features. But I have also used apple maps, google maps and waze to navigate around town and it all works fine.
For long road trips i'd plug the phone in.
Good to hear! As I researching I discovered that plug in IS an option, so I'd be using that on longer trips as well.
 

HeadphoneAddict

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Sep 16, 2007
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Good to hear! As I researching I discovered that plug in IS an option, so I'd be using that on longer trips as well.
The part that bugs me is that with two USB ports in my 8400, only one of them is compatible with Apple iPod or CarPlay. The other USB is only compatible with android auto or a thumb drive, but won’t work with an iPod or an iPhone.

So when I leave my 64 GB modded iPod video in my center console 24/7 and plugged into the “apple” compatible USB with a 30-pin connector cable, the only thing we can do with the other USB that’s in front of my shift lever is to charge things or power my dash cam.

If I want to leave my iPhone connected to wireless CarPlay (for naps and calls) while at the same time listening to my passenger’s iPhone music, I either have to unplug my iPod video and use a lightning cable adapter to plug in their iPhone, or I have to connect their phone with Bluetooth audio.

We had to drill a new hole for the Pioneer’s USB port at the bottom of my Subaru center console, since the old USB adapter cables for the 8200NEX to work in a subaru is not compatible. So it’s not easy at all to change the cable itself without emptying the whole storage area. Thankfull I bought a couple of 30-pin to lightning adapter when apple discontinued them, so I don’t have to unplug cables.

I leave the iPod plugged in all the time because the 8400 interface works better with it than it does with an plain SD card plugged into the head unit, because on an SD card you have to rename all your songs on the SD card to have the song number in order to get the songs to play in the right order.
 

HeadphoneAddict

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2007
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The new CarPlay with the more recent iOS 13 versions will leave the map on the car screen when the phone user navigates to another app.

Also it appears that most of my crashes were coming from touching the car head unit screen or buttons, or using the steering wheel controls, before everything has finished booting up, i.e. wait till after it’s done displaying the usual safety warning screens to pay attention while driving, and then displaying the final screen to use on the Pioneer head unit after the phone connects to CarPlay.
 

Ntombi

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Jul 1, 2008
3,362
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Bostonian exiled in SoCal
I just got the 4500 in my car this week, and I love it! I didn’t need the DVD/CD player or the detachab, but this model was the best reviewed of the sub-$800 wireless CarPlay options.

I had an “iPod connector” running to my Corolla’s stock radio for ten years! I got it back when 30-pin connectors were standard, so I had to use an adapter for that too! It still worked, so I definitely got my money’s worth, but it was time for an upgrade. I went with wireless CarPlay especially because of my experience with the 30-pin/lightning switchover. I know iPhones are not going to have lightning for much longer, so I wanted to figure-proof my unit as much as possible.

In this unit, I love that the screen is adjustable, to account for glare. It boots up much faster than I feared. Basically, by the time my seatbelt is on and I’m in gear, it’s up and running

One weird thing is that the USB port only works with an OEM lightning cable. The guy at the shop said that when they first started installing this model, they went through three different units before they figured it out. They thought they were all defective! I had two different Apple certified lightning cables in my car, one belkin, one Amazon, neither of which had ever given me a problem, and neither one registered at all when hooked up. The guy brought out an OEM cable, and bam! I’m mostly using it wirelessly, but of course there are times I’ll want to be wired up, so I’ll have to scrounge up an OEM cable.

I set up everything except my custom splash screen; maybe I’ll get to that by this weekend.

Here’s the glow up.

385CC49D-393B-4C98-A3D2-012714C8D233.jpeg 12964E90-587E-47F5-B157-03B912DFE991.jpeg
 
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Chacocliff

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2014
417
235
I'm getting the 4500 installed on Sunday. I have had the Pioneer BT450 in my car for the last 5 years, so I am excited about finally getting an upgrade with Carplay.
 

V_Man

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2019
143
166
I want CarPlay so bad. But my current head unit it is only 1 year old. 😅
 

V_Man

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2019
143
166
It was cheap and did what I wanted it too. My other one broke suddenly and I needed a quick replacement