Apple Car Play

I’m the type of person that really enjoys adopting new technology. When I get into any sort of ecosystem I really strive for automation and getting everything to work really well together. About 3 years ago now (against everything I thought I stood for). I bought in to the apple ecosystem. It all started with a Macbook Pro. After moving the Mac to be my main dev machine, it only made sense to buy in to Apple phones, tablets, watch, etc. It simplifies my day to day and is definitely worth it.

The latest addition to my Apple family is Car Play. I recently bought a 2016 Mazda6, Mazda announced shortly after I bought it that car play would be released for the Mazda6. It would come standard on the 2018 model but be upgradable from the 2016 Model. After hearing this I was super excited. This meant that I could ditch the so/so built in Mazda voice control and use Siri, I could ditch Mazda Maps for Apple or Google Maps, and I could have a more native experience for playing music in my car.

After it came out, I gave my local Mazda dealership a call to schedule an appointment for upgrade. They quoted me $200 for the part and $200 for installation. After thinking about it I wasn’t sure that $400 would be worth the upgrade. I ended up thinking on it for a few weeks and sure enough, someone posted on reddit with part numbers and instructions to install this. The upgrade was a new usb hub to install in place of the old one. this new hub provides a 2.1A usb that you use to connect your phone for car play support.

I ended up ordering the parts on ebay for a grand total of $130. I also ended up ordering some plastic pry tools for car trim so that I could be sure not to wreck the plastic in my car. Already, I’m way happier than paying Mazda $400 to install this. Not only do I have the opportunity to save some cash, I also gain the experience of doing the install myself.

First step in the install was to upgrade the firmware for the Mazda Connect system. This was a pretty simple process. I had to download a few files and put them on a flash drive, plug the drive into my car, and run the files through a diagnostic menu. Everything went pretty slick. This step took about 40m. After updating the firmware it was time to install the new part. I simply had to pry the plastic off from the connect screen to the center console, then run a new cable from the head unit to the usb hub, then replace the old usb hub with a new one. After this was all done, the plastic trim just needed to be replaced.

Everything worked great and I was able to complete the install in about 1.5h. Now I can yell at Siri to handle things like navigation and playing music. The moral of the story here is that it’s not that scary to work on your own stuff. Whether it be electronics, cars, or any other item around your house. Just take your time and do your research. Not only can you save some money, but you can also learn a great deal about how things work.

Short post here, but wanted to write something really quick. I’m hoping to get to a normal schedule of blogging soon.