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X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #26  
Old 11-25-2011, 11:13 PM
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SamS SamS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottotruck View Post
So is there a connection via the cradle to the iPhone antenna to improve signal???
Nope. The Media cradle does not touch the iPhone 4/4S external antenna.

My theory is that this language was left in the product literature, because it was probably true in regards to the iPhone 3G/3GS.
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  #27  
Old 11-26-2011, 02:38 AM
TogMog TogMog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottotruck View Post
So is there a connection via the cradle to the iPhone antenna to improve signal???
Ottotruck, personally I do not know the answer to your question, but I do know how to try to find out if the 'fin' helps with the phone signal.
Not particularly scientific; but, as I have a 3GS & 4S phone and cradle, I will drive to a known poor signal area and try calling my 'Beemer Son'. By using each phone with and without the cradle should be at least interesting, if not quite a scientific test.
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  #28  
Old 11-26-2011, 11:59 AM
alokbhargava alokbhargava is offline
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I had read somewhere that metallic body of cars reduce the signal charge inside the car, whereas the external antenna gets the charge back to the designated area. This does not need a physical connection for cell phones. One can only visualize the effect in real poor signal areas. Good luck. This is different from the radio signals where you need a physical connections as the strength of radio signals is comparatively low.

Last edited by alokbhargava; 11-26-2011 at 12:02 PM.
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  #29  
Old 11-28-2011, 12:18 PM
TogMog TogMog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen E View Post
Just cause you "can't find it anywhere" doesn't mean it's fact....- it's part of smartphone integration - it uses the car antenna - taught at every BMWNA sales training meeting on apps that each dealer went thru in 2011.

and correct - MOG has nothing to do with the cradle - the media cradle has been used since apps started.

From the sales training bulletin given to all dealers in August 2011:

Full integration of BMW Apps
1. Full iPhone charging
2. Improved reception by using the car's external antenna
3. A fan to ensure normal operating temperature of the
iPhone, thus reducing the likelihood the phone will go
into "failsafe" mode (which prevents proper charging)
4. Video playback
- Must be a video clip uploaded via iTunes, not a video shot using the phone's video camera
5. PlugIn "iPod out" functionality
- Provides the look and feel of an iPod in the iDrive
display, with full iPod control via iDrive
o Allows for the use of Genius playlists, as well as the
creation of new Genius playlists within

and the actual doc from that training class:

Thank you for taking your time to post this detail; however, I note that your info (in common with all other available BMW publications) is missing one important fact - there is no audio playback from a cradled phone if the audio mini jack is incerted into the socket below the USB port. Hope this helps?
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  #30  
Old 11-28-2011, 02:20 PM
colson79 colson79 is offline
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I'm still on the fence about buying the snap-in adapter because I think it is way overpriced. (the adapter cost more that the iPhone 4) I am curious about the external antenna function though and I can't find anything on the web showing support for an external antenna but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. If someone has the adapter and is willing to test it for us, you can put the iPhone into field services mode to get the exact signal strength using the snap-in adapter and without. When in field services mode it with show the exact signal strength in DB. Here is a short article showing how to get it into Field services mode. http://gizmodo.com/5633290/test-your...mode-in-ios-41
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  #31  
Old 11-28-2011, 04:07 PM
TogMog TogMog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colson79 View Post
I'm still on the fence about buying the snap-in adapter because I think it is way overpriced. (the adapter cost more that the iPhone 4) I am curious about the external antenna function though and I can't find anything on the web showing support for an external antenna but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. If someone has the adapter and is willing to test it for us, you can put the iPhone into field services mode to get the exact signal strength using the snap-in adapter and without. When in field services mode it with show the exact signal strength in DB. Here is a short article showing how to get it into Field services mode. http://gizmodo.com/5633290/test-your...mode-in-ios-41
I for one can understand your concerns as my own feelings have been up and down like 'whores draws'. Having been through the mill with this challenge, now that the system is working correctly and understood by both myself and my dealer, I like my cradles very much indeed!
I have tried an iPhone 3GS & 4S, both in and out of their cradle,in a very poor signal area with positive results. Both phones sounded better from both ends when in the cradle. Not very scientific but that is the best I can do presently.
I will try the signal strength test too one of these fine days.
Hope this helps?
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  #32  
Old 11-28-2011, 05:42 PM
Goonga Goonga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colson79 View Post
I'm still on the fence about buying the snap-in adapter because I think it is way overpriced. (the adapter cost more that the iPhone 4) I am curious about the external antenna function though and I can't find anything on the web showing support for an external antenna but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. If someone has the adapter and is willing to test it for us, you can put the iPhone into field services mode to get the exact signal strength using the snap-in adapter and without. When in field services mode it with show the exact signal strength in DB. Here is a short article showing how to get it into Field services mode. http://gizmodo.com/5633290/test-your...mode-in-ios-41
Hey Colson, I have no problem testing this for you, cause you're a good guy. My only question is, once I put the phone into field test mode, how do I get it back to normal?
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  #33  
Old 11-28-2011, 06:14 PM
MetaX MetaX is offline
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The Gizmodo article says to exit field test mode just click the Home button (bottom of post)...
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  #34  
Old 11-28-2011, 07:41 PM
Goonga Goonga is offline
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thanks meta, i guess my brain was fried after a long day of work and i just missed that line.

Anyways, I tested it. I put my phone in field test mode, and it read -70. Then, I put my phone in the cradle, and it still read -70. I then proceeded to make a phone call to see if that would change anything. Nope, after the phone call, it still read -70. (I'm pretty sure when I was actually calling the person, it switched over to the normal bars).

Perhaps -70 is the best signal possible? Or maybe it works better in a spot with poor coverage?

(This test used a Verizon iPhone 4S, and a 2012 X3 with dock and bmw apps)
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  #35  
Old 11-28-2011, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goonga View Post
thanks meta, i guess my brain was fried after a long day of work and i just missed that line.

Anyways, I tested it. I put my phone in field test mode, and it read -70. Then, I put my phone in the cradle, and it still read -70. I then proceeded to make a phone call to see if that would change anything. Nope, after the phone call, it still read -70. (I'm pretty sure when I was actually calling the person, it switched over to the normal bars).

Perhaps -70 is the best signal possible? Or maybe it works better in a spot with poor coverage?

(This test used a Verizon iPhone 4S, and a 2012 X3 with dock and bmw apps)
Nice job on the test. And confirms my theory from earlier. BMW just left old language in the spec sheet. Worse things have happened!
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  #36  
Old 11-28-2011, 10:03 PM
Luna-01 Luna-01 is offline
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smartphone antenna connections

Hi,

There is not a physical connection between the phone and the antenna--there is an inductive connection. The cradle contains an inductive pickup that couples your smart phone to the car's sharkfin. This is a direct route to the antenna designated "telephone 1 & 2 and does not relate to BMW assist cellular functions. The cradle holds the phone in a very specific position to align the smartphone antenna with the inductive pickup.

The advantage with the shark fin is that it is outside the car...a cell phone inside a metal car is severely compromised--that's why there are cell towers seemingly every two feet.

A lot of the confusion comes from no two cell phones being the same in layout or
functionality.

All this info is available on the BMW Tech Info web site, which requires a daily subscription for unlimited downloads. You can also find some info on the BMW coders site--look for the combox document. You can see this antenna setup in the diagrams.

so, yes there's a connection, but it is not physical

best

Luna-01
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  #37  
Old 11-28-2011, 11:31 PM
TogMog TogMog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna-01 View Post
Hi,

There is not a physical connection between the phone and the antenna--there is an inductive connection. The cradle contains an inductive pickup that couples your smart phone to the car's sharkfin. This is a direct route to the antenna designated "telephone 1 & 2 and does not relate to BMW assist cellular functions. The cradle holds the phone in a very specific position to align the smartphone antenna with the inductive pickup.

The advantage with the shark fin is that it is outside the car...a cell phone inside a metal car is severely compromised--that's why there are cell towers seemingly every two feet.

A lot of the confusion comes from no two cell phones being the same in layout or
functionality.

All this info is available on the BMW Tech Info web site, which requires a daily subscription for unlimited downloads. You can also find some info on the BMW coders site--look for the combox document. You can see this antenna setup in the diagrams.

so, yes there's a connection, but it is not physical

best

Luna-01
I am old enough to remember when one had to purchase an incar phone kit which had a two part aerial, one part was glued to the inside surface of the rear window and connected to the phone. The other part was glued to the outer surface of the glass and supported the aerial 'mast'. There was no physical contact between the two parts of the window mounted aerial.
In short, as stated above there is no need for an actual physical 'jack like' connection between phone and 'mast' cable.
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  #38  
Old 11-29-2011, 12:17 AM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h0mersimps0n View Post
Paid for BMW apps and am wholly disappointed. Doesn't include $260 snap in adapter that does nothing more than improve cell reception through shark fin (bfd)

Pandora not working because of ios5 and no sight of relief there

If I get txt message no way to see it if phone is buried in console and no way to talk to Siri from within the armrest either.

So, for those also thinking idrive/connected drive integration is lacking and having better access to phone is needed- where you mounting your phone and with what?

I'm going to try the griffin cupholder mount with a tucked black extension iPhone cable. Will post back if I think it's working...

Thoughts?
Hmmm dont have that problem with my Alpine H/U. Plays Sirius/XM, Pandora, controls from steering wheel work great, I can see all the cover art and text in the 2 inch screen.

People bashed me when I originally did this 4 years ago but I dont have to run to the dealer for updates everytime my droid is updated either.

Maybe not as elegantly interfaced with console, but always does what I ask and more.

One of the reasons I bash BMW for their electronics. Always several years behind when it comes to audio and interface.

Hope you get it fixed.
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  #39  
Old 11-29-2011, 08:05 AM
colson79 colson79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goonga View Post
thanks meta, i guess my brain was fried after a long day of work and i just missed that line.

Anyways, I tested it. I put my phone in field test mode, and it read -70. Then, I put my phone in the cradle, and it still read -70. I then proceeded to make a phone call to see if that would change anything. Nope, after the phone call, it still read -70. (I'm pretty sure when I was actually calling the person, it switched over to the normal bars).

Perhaps -70 is the best signal possible? Or maybe it works better in a spot with poor coverage?

(This test used a Verizon iPhone 4S, and a 2012 X3 with dock and bmw apps)
Interesting. -70 is not the best signal possible. I have seen this test done with another external antenna cradle and the signal improved from -70 to -55.
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  #40  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:28 AM
Chalky White Chalky White is offline
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So my x3 just rolled off the line on December 2. I pick it up in South Carolina on 1/13. I didn't order the cradle b/c the dealer said that using the apple cable gets me the same results. After reading this post, I am not so sure.

My car will have BMW apps on it. What do I lose by not having the cradle? If you all say I need to get the cradle, can I install it myself?
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  #41  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:29 AM
Glen E Glen E is offline
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try reading the posts above....
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  #42  
Old 12-04-2011, 12:30 PM
colson79 colson79 is offline
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The cradle will get you a different interface for the iPhone and it will allow video play back from an iPhone. Everything else will work without it.
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  #43  
Old 12-04-2011, 02:34 PM
Chalky White Chalky White is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colson79 View Post
The cradle will get you a different interface for the iPhone and it will allow video play back from an iPhone. Everything else will work without it.
thank you. i think i will get one, then, because I hear that the iphone interface on the idrive is worth it. i just hope it's compatible with iphone 5!
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  #44  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:28 PM
Goonga Goonga is offline
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hamajicky, unfortunately the iphone 5 will most likely not fit in the cradle designed for the 4. there's always a chance, but the 5 will probably have a new form factor.
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  #45  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:49 PM
Chalky White Chalky White is offline
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Originally Posted by Goonga View Post
hamajicky, unfortunately the iphone 5 will most likely not fit in the cradle designed for the 4. there's always a chance, but the 5 will probably have a new form factor.
so maybe I will wait a little bit and buy the new cradle after I get the iphone 5
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  #46  
Old 12-12-2011, 08:27 PM
apw2607 apw2607 is offline
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Originally Posted by hamajicky View Post
thank you. i think i will get one, then, because I hear that the iphone interface on the idrive is worth it. i just hope it's compatible with iphone 5!
It's not. Plugin is a complete waste of time and was poorly implemented within the context of the rest of idrive.

You will use it once and then revert back to the standard interface (which you would get with the regular cable)
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  #47  
Old 12-12-2011, 08:32 PM
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SamS SamS is offline
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Originally Posted by apw2607 View Post
It's not. Plugin is a complete waste of time and was poorly implemented within the context of the rest of idrive.

You will use it once and then revert back to the standard interface (which you would get with the regular cable)
I don't find the regular interface for browsing iTunes intuitive at all. It is more steps to browse through albums, and seems clunkier than the cradle interface.
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  #48  
Old 12-13-2011, 08:31 AM
ottotruck ottotruck is offline
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If I recall correctly- the cradle gives you access to external antenna "shark fin" for better reception, which you will not get w/o i.e., regular cable attachment. I have not tested this but if anyone has please let us know.
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  #49  
Old 12-13-2011, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ottotruck View Post
If I recall correctly- the cradle gives you access to external antenna "shark fin" for better reception, which you will not get w/o i.e., regular cable attachment. I have not tested this but if anyone has please let us know.
See post #34.
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  #50  
Old 12-13-2011, 08:40 AM
ottotruck ottotruck is offline
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Thanks SamS. I guess I should have clarified. Has anyone tested it where reception is bad?
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