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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am shopping for a minivan and interested in the 8 passenger sienna. Unfortunately Toyota does not have the option to add the rear entertainment with the 8 passenger XLE so I am stuck trying to figure out a solution for our kids that are 3 and under and can't yet navigate an iPad independently. Our 5 year old also gets car sick looking down at his tablet. Our current odyssey has an overhead display and that works well.

One of the solutions I am considering is getting a portable monitor that I mount to the back of the head rest which I would connect to an ipad in the front. The ipad will be connected to the car wifi hotspot and will stream content to the portable monitor in the back. My question is how to handle the audio. If I connect the ipad to the car bluetooth, can I simultaneously connect a separate phone and use apple car play?
 

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CarPlay requires a wired connection in the Sienna, and doesn't work wirelessly, so I see no issue or conflict using bluetooth specifically for casting to your screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
CarPlay requires a wired connection in the Sienna, and doesn't work wirelessly, so I see no issue or conflict using bluetooth specifically for casting to your screen.

The Bluetooth wouldn’t be for casting to the screen, the iPad will be hard wired to the screen but I would like to connect the iPad to the car speakers using Bluetooth.

If my phone is wired for apple car play and the iPad is connected to the speakers via Bluetooth, how will the infotainment know which audio source to use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You would think it is that simple, but from reading about different cars that is not always the case. Some cars, do not allow you to use wired Apple CarPlay while having a different Bluetooth source connected. Once you click on the Apple CarPlay interface, the audio will be routed from the Phone connected via Apple CarPlay and not through the Bluetooth device. I would be interested to know if someone has specifically tried this in a sienna.
 

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You would think it is that simple, but from reading about different cars that is not always the case. Some cars, do not allow you to use wired Apple CarPlay while having a different Bluetooth source connected. Once you click on the Apple CarPlay interface, the audio will be routed from the Phone connected via Apple CarPlay and not through the Bluetooth device. I would be interested to know if someone has specifically tried this in a sienna.
Just yesterday I had my phone hardwired through CarPlay and my wife wanted to take over the music, but when we went to the source page, “Bluetooth” was greyed out, as in not a selectable option. When I disconnected the cable to my phone, it immediately became selectable. I have not tried the reverse order — connect Bluetooth device for audio first, then connecting via usb cable for CarPlay second. I will give that a try later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just yesterday I had my phone hardwired through CarPlay and my wife wanted to take over the music, but when we went to the source page, “Bluetooth” was greyed out, as in not a selectable option. When I disconnected the cable to my phone, it immediately became selectable. I have not tried the reverse order — connect Bluetooth device for audio first, then connecting via usb cable for CarPlay second. I will give that a try later.
Thank you.

I’m curious how the build in rear entertainment handles audio. If connected to it via hdmi , does the sound get passsed through the speakers even if apple car play is turned on ?
 

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Thank you.

I’m curious how the build in rear entertainment handles audio. If connected to it via hdmi , does the sound get passsed through the speakers even if apple car play is turned on ?
You may choose “Rear Audio” as a source input on the head unit, just like Bluetooth, usb, etc. In practice this means if you have the rear entertainment playing over the speakers in the van you cannot also play music with your phone through the speakers. You have to choose one or the other, and you can’t split the sound either (rear entertainment on rear speakers, CarPlay on front). There are audio jacks in the third row that we have used to power a small usb power speaker, or you can use headphones of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So if you have the rear entertainment package , you can select “rear audio” while you have apple car play turned on?
 

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I am shopping for a minivan and interested in the 8 passenger sienna. Unfortunately Toyota does not have the option to add the rear entertainment with the 8 passenger XLE so I am stuck trying to figure out a solution for our kids that are 3 and under and can't yet navigate an iPad independently. Our 5 year old also gets car sick looking down at his tablet. Our current odyssey has an overhead display and that works well.

One of the solutions I am considering is getting a portable monitor that I mount to the back of the head rest which I would connect to an ipad in the front. The ipad will be connected to the car wifi hotspot and will stream content to the portable monitor in the back. My question is how to handle the audio. If I connect the ipad to the car bluetooth, can I simultaneously connect a separate phone and use apple car play?
A little different angle.

How long do you plan to keep the car? Also, do you have to have 8P for all your future use? Or would 7P work after some time?

The reason I ask this is that kids are going to be growing quick. If you don't need 8P version after 3 years, but plan to keep the car for 10+ years, may be inconvenience yourselves a little bit now with 7P+RES vs. 8P+ NO RES after?

Btw, I got a couple of cheapy IPad holders that go on the back of head rests. There are hundreds of designs and possibilities. I had picked up a couple of Brokestone ones from Ross for about 7 bucks each.


P.s. The 8P can turn in to 7P, but it leaves bout 5-6 Inch tall floating base between two middle seats. Some may consider it as a tripping hazard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A little different angle.

How long do you plan to keep the car? Also, do you have to have 8P for all your future use? Or would 7P work after some time?

The reason I ask this is that kids are going to be growing quick. If you don't need 8P version after 3 years, but plan to keep the car for 10+ years, may be inconvenience yourselves a little bit now with 7P+RES vs. 8P+ NO RES after?

Btw, I got a couple of cheapy IPad holders that go on the back of head rests. There are hundreds of designs and possibilities. I had picked up a couple of Brokestone ones from Ross for about 7 bucks each.


P.s. The 8P can turn in to 7P, but it leaves bout 5-6 Inch tall floating base between two middle seats. Some may consider it as a tripping hazard.

We intend to keep for a long time, we have 4 kids and our oldest is 7 yo so we plan to be in a minivan for a long time. The 8 passenger is a long term need since with 7 passengers we can't take our whole family + one set of grandparents. I think in 3-4 years we will outgrow the need for rear entertainment system as all the kids will have their own devices, but for the time being a RES option that we can at least turn on and off from the front seat is a must for those times when the kids are melting down and need a distraction. The problem with the back seat headrest mounts is you have to be in the back seat to control them and the kids need headphones to hear.

Unfortunately there aren't even Siennas on the dealer lots for me to try out apple car play + a second audio input.
 

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We intend to keep for a long time, we have 4 kids and our oldest is 7 yo so we plan to be in a minivan for a long time. The 8 passenger is a long term need since with 7 passengers we can't take our whole family + one set of grandparents. I think in 3-4 years we will outgrow the need for rear entertainment system as all the kids will have their own devices, but for the time being a RES option that we can at least turn on and off from the front seat is a must for those times when the kids are melting down and need a distraction. The problem with the back seat headrest mounts is you have to be in the back seat to control them and the kids need headphones to hear.

Unfortunately there aren't even Siennas on the dealer lots for me to try out apple car play + a second audio input.
Got it. You do need 8P!

I will try out and let you know about Apple Car Play + Bluetooth from another device. I have an android so I need to wait for my wife or daughter to let me borrow their IPhones.

FWIW, our 5 year old sometimes gets her IPad Movie going, and than hangs it on the back of the headrest herself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you!

Can your 5 year old reach the iPad on the head rest when she is seated and with her seat belt on?
 

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Long story short, you can have Apple CarPlay OR Bluetooth, but NOT BOTH at the same time. It's same for Andorid Auto too. I think someone mentioned it above already??

This is what I did.
I got the Car Play going first, and than went to Audio Menu to Connect a Bluetooth. The Bluetooth option was greyed out.

Next, I did the Bluetooth first, and than did the CarPlay. As soon as the CarPlay came on, Bluetooth got disconnected. The infotainment screen quickly fleshed a message saying so.

While at it, you can have Rear RES connected separately if the car came with it. There are some caveats with RES Audio thru car when a phone is connected to the front at the same time. IIRC, it pauses or disconnects RES even if you pick the phone thru Phone Speakers.

I imagine that depends on where they’ve slid the super long slide 2nd row seat
+1.

On top of above, let's just say that sometimes, our kids take momentary liberties that go against prescribed best practices ;). However, we make sure that it doesn't turn in to a habit or perpetual expectation.

Also, I recall seeing several different kinds of headrest stands, a few of them come with extensible and/or articulating arms.
Here's an example.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks so much for taking the time to test it out, I appreciate it. As far I can tell the car does not have an auxiliary input either. The other option is to connect a separate Bluetooth speaker just for the iPad but that’s a lot of separate pieces that will inevitably frustrate the wife, particularly since our current 14 odyssey has a simple to use rear entertainment with DVD player. I was really hoping the sienna would work out for us since we love everything else about the car but I think the 22 odyssey might be a better fit overall as it has 8 passengers and a traditional rear entertainment with Blu-ray player .
 

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let's just say that sometimes, our kids take momentary liberties that go against prescribed best practices
A wink is as good as a nod to a blind man, know what I mean?

Not to carry us further off-topic, but just today my youngest kid decided after picking their sibling up from school that they had to pee really bad so I had them go in the portable potty we tote around in the 3rd seat rear area… and they did so while the van was moving and as I pulled out of the school and on to the street. No seatbelts were involved and no animals were harmed. Shhh… I won’t tell if you won’t. 8)
 

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Thanks so much for taking the time to test it out, I appreciate it. As far I can tell the car does not have an auxiliary input either. The other option is to connect a separate Bluetooth speaker just for the iPad but that’s a lot of separate pieces that will inevitably frustrate the wife, particularly since our current 14 odyssey has a simple to use rear entertainment with DVD player. I was really hoping the sienna would work out for us since we love everything else about the car but I think the 22 odyssey might be a better fit overall as it has 8 passengers and a traditional rear entertainment with Blu-ray player .
I totally respect your thoughts, and understand where you're going with it.

I am curious as what it is about CarPlay that you have to have that it is at the top of your criteria? To be honest, I haven't sampled it a whole lot, may be 10-15 minutes. However, I would much rather have the phone for easier, quicker interface. May be a bigger Max phone, or a medium IPad can come close enough to built-in Sienna infotainment while kids hear Bluetooth Sound?

As you said, you're going to need individual IPads sooner than later.. So may be a little inconvenience now (no CarPlay), might be off-set many times over at the gas station for the remaining 10+ years of life of the van;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I totally respect your thoughts, and understand where you're going with it.

I am curious as what it is about CarPlay that you have to have that it is at the top of your criteria? To be honest, I haven't sampled it a whole lot, may be 10-15 minutes. However, I would much rather have the phone for easier, quicker interface. May be a bigger Max phone, or a medium IPad can come close enough to built-in Sienna infotainment while kids hear Bluetooth Sound?

As you said, you're going to need individual IPads sooner than later.. So may be a little inconvenience now (no CarPlay), might be off-set many times over at the gas station for the remaining 10+ years of life of the van;)
Yeah that is definitely a consideration, ultimately it will be up to the wife on how much she is willing to sacrafice to make the sienna work. The fuel savings add up to a significant amount if we keep the car long term as we intend to.
 
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