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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 08-02-2014, 07:27 AM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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Location: Lone Tree, Colorado
 
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Mein Auto: 2014 550xi
BMW connect/apps--worth it or no?

I just turned in my 2011 550xi for a 2014 550xi, and I'm loving it so far. The LCI has some really nice updates compared to my '11. But one thing I was really looking forward to seems to not be that great.

Do you guys utilize the BMW connect iPhone app, or is it even worth downloading? (Note I haven't tried it myself yet). If you read the App Store reviews you'd think it's the worst thing ever, and it will run over you dog after spitting in your face.

Even my delivery rep indirectly suggested to not bother with it!

So what's the verdict? Any good or not?

BTW I know it's free to download, but I hear the setup process is part of the headache so I'm just trying to figure out if it's even worth going through that.

Thanks!
Todd

Oh and no new car thread can go without a pic..
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2014, 07:41 AM
weinschela weinschela is offline
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Mein Auto: 2014 535ix 2008 E61
I use the BMW Connect App for Internet Radio as one of my favorite stations is FM and fades badly when I'm out of my local area so I connect via Internet. You can also use some streaming music services (Pandora, Rhapsody, Amazon Music for example). You need to have the app running to access the services.

I did not find it hard to set up. I connect via a snap-in in the center console. I like having the phone there as I am not tempted to look at it. I use Siri to read email and/or texts, etc.

There is another app called BMW Remote for remote unlocking, sending maps, etc. That one is trickier to set up.

My advice is download the BMW Connect app and play around with it. It's free so not a big deal.
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2014, 07:53 AM
guyver626 guyver626 is offline
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It's free so the only thing you would be wasting is your time lol. I love the BMW remote app as that's all I use to enter locations for the gps.

As far as the other app. Your smart phone would do a much better and faster job then the BMW app ever would.




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  #4  
Old 08-02-2014, 12:41 PM
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WillInDenver WillInDenver is offline
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Location: Denver
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Mein Auto: 2013 535i XDrive M-Sport
The app is free, but outfitting your BMW with the "BMW Apps" option costs a few hundred dollars. I don't think it's worth it. Here's why:
  • BMW Apps only works if the phone is hard connected to the car (not with Bluetooth).
  • To use BMW Apps, you have to plug in the phone, run the app on the phone, navigate to a different menu in iDrive, find and run your app - then go. It's too many steps.
  • I can't hard connect my phone to my car, because the iPhone behaves strangely with a few of the apps I want to use for music. It insists on playing music locally stored on the phone, and overrides whatever other app I have running after just a second or two, starts playing whatever is on the phone instead.
  • I'm a heavy Spotify guy, and BMW Apps doesn't support Spotify.
  • Who the hell needs to check Facebook on iDrive?

You can connect your phone via bluetooth and use the phone to control whatever app you want. BMW Apps just isn't quite slick enough yet. Save your money, I sez.
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2013 535i xDrive M-Sport | 2005 545i Sport (Retired and Missed) | 2001 X5 3.0 Sport (Retired)

Last edited by WillInDenver; 08-02-2014 at 12:42 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2014, 03:57 PM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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Location: Lone Tree, Colorado
 
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Thanks Will. Fellow Denver resident (well, Lone Tree).

I used my Bluetooth audio almost exclusively in my '11 for streaming audio as well as podcasts, etc. I'm also not fond of the snap-in adapter since it doesn't work well with iPhone cases as I recall. Just ran the charger wire from the rear center console socket up beside the driver seat, and laid it into the gap between the driver side console trim and the front edge of the storage door in the arm rest. Fits perfectly and holds the phone in place on the center console right behind the shifter.

One thing I've noticed is that on the '11 the entertainment data worked well even with streaming like slacker, spotify etc. But on the '14 it just shows the first song then never updates after that. Bummer.
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2014, 04:46 PM
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WillInDenver WillInDenver is offline
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Location: Denver
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddwest View Post
Thanks Will. Fellow Denver resident (well, Lone Tree).

I used my Bluetooth audio almost exclusively in my '11 for streaming audio as well as podcasts, etc. I'm also not fond of the snap-in adapter since it doesn't work well with iPhone cases as I recall. Just ran the charger wire from the rear center console socket up beside the driver seat, and laid it into the gap between the driver side console trim and the front edge of the storage door in the arm rest. Fits perfectly and holds the phone in place on the center console right behind the shifter.

One thing I've noticed is that on the '11 the entertainment data worked well even with streaming like slacker, spotify etc. But on the '14 it just shows the first song then never updates after that. Bummer.

Castle Pines here. We're close!

I have great news. I used to have that same metadata updating problem you describe. Last week I downloaded and installed the latest iDrive software from the BMW website, and now it works perfectly. It bugged me to no end before.


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  #7  
Old 08-02-2014, 05:01 PM
ImolaRedM ImolaRedM is offline
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I use the BMW Remote App all the time. Very worth it, IMO. My wife uses BMW Connect (I have no use for it myself).

The great feature that BMW Remote used to have and I hope returns is the ability to unlock the car from the app. It would have saved my wife lots of time when she locked her keys in the back of her E70.
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2014, 05:12 PM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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Location: Lone Tree, Colorado
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillInDenver View Post
Castle Pines here. We're close!

I have great news. I used to have that same metadata updating problem you describe. Last week I downloaded and installed the latest iDrive software from the BMW website, and now it works perfectly. It bugged me to no end before.


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Hey that's awesome news! You'd think a 2 day old car would be up to date but I really hope that's the issue. I will have to figure out how to determine the version on the car now.
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2014, 08:27 AM
kyle.itchi kyle.itchi is offline
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I frequently use the BMW Remote App primarily for the feature of sending addresses to my GPS. I prefer using my cars navigation system over my phones navigation but I am able to find locations and address faster on my phone. After finding the address I want, I just send it from my phone to my cars GPS. Once in my car, I open my iDrive messages and start navigation to my destination. Just my 2 cents.

The car location display, remote unlock, remote horn and remote headlight flash are a cool feature too.
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  #10  
Old 08-04-2014, 08:49 AM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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I updates the idrive software over the weekend but that didn't fix the entertainment details not updating problem. It still sticks on the first title forever. The "time bar" across the bottom works though. I tried it with spotify and slacker. Both worked perfectly on the first song with the details and album art but then stayed that way. I have the latest iOS and app versions. Bummer.
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  #11  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:06 AM
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WillInDenver WillInDenver is offline
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Location: Denver
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddwest View Post
I updates the idrive software over the weekend but that didn't fix the entertainment details not updating problem. It still sticks on the first title forever. The "time bar" across the bottom works though. I tried it with spotify and slacker. Both worked perfectly on the first song with the details and album art but then stayed that way. I have the latest iOS and app versions. Bummer.
Hmm. Are you going in through bluetooth or a cable?
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  #12  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:08 AM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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Location: Lone Tree, Colorado
 
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Bluetooth. Trying to avoid the USB cable if possible.
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  #13  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:13 AM
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WillInDenver WillInDenver is offline
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OK. I was hoping you would say cable, because I was having the same issue that way.

Just to make sure - the file I just used to update mine was UPD05021.bin - same or different for you?
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  #14  
Old 08-04-2014, 05:02 PM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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Pretty sure that was the one. It was the most recent, at the top of the list. My Multimedia controller was already up to date, but the Bluetooth (Txx.xxx) was updated.

The podcast player works well and always updates titles and pictures. Music apps never seem to. I will have to see if I manually choose songs if it makes any difference rather than letting it play through a list because that definitely doesn't work.

I'm also having trouble whenever changing the app on the phone. It will sometimes disconnect the bluetooth, but usually it just fails to play any audio out of the new app. The app appears to be playing on the phone but no sound comes out of the speakers.

The Bluetooth on my '11 was SO much better I'm sad to say. It worked flawlessly.
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  #15  
Old 08-10-2014, 12:36 PM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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So I tried using the USB cable today to see if things worked better. If anything it was worse! Still had the same problem with no metadata updating after the first track, but it was showing all kinds of other weird behavior like changing the audio app source by itself (switching between Podcasts, Pandora, Spotify and the on-phone music). If I try to pause something, the car decides that no, it really wanted to listen to that and restarts it after about 2-3 seconds. Again and again.

So I tried the BMW connect apps with Pandora, but the fact that you can't switch out of the app without losing the connection makes it worthless to me. I like to have Waze running and switching back to it causes the audio playback to cease. Then it took 20 minutes of turning things off and on to get it to even play ANY audio from the phone.

The relatively minor issues with Bluetooth are looking more acceptable at this point. It's just a shame about the random quirks it has though. I definitely didn't have this problem with my '11.

So now my question is this: Do people that stream via Bluetooth have anything happening like what I described or does it work pretty much perfectly? I'm thinking of having the dealer check into it if it is "unique" to my car.

Thanks!
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  #16  
Old 08-10-2014, 01:00 PM
hcd_bmw hcd_bmw is offline
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Location: MD
 
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Mein Auto: '14 BMW 535i M-Sport
Can someone please verify the exact app on iTunes? Is it BMW Connected or My BMW Remote you guys are talking about?
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  #17  
Old 08-10-2014, 01:02 PM
toddwest toddwest is offline
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Location: Lone Tree, Colorado
 
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BMW connected allows you to interact with the iDrive in the car with audio etc.

BMW Remote is (supposed) to allow things like car location, climate control, flash lights etc...but some features have been broken or locked.
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