True, but in that case just connect to the USB port under the armrest. You charge the phone without connecting to the head unit. For me the advantages of CarPlay override the loss of using the Kia voice control.
Only upper trims have a USB port in armrest. Mine doesn't. But that is an easier way to go if you are not streaming I suppose. If you are streaming music et cetera by plugging into USB, you would have to turn CarPlay off.
Off the top of my head, navigation control, phone control (over Bluetooth), radio control, and I think HVAC control. There might be more. I've occasionally used it to make phone calls when I haven't connected the phone, although I generally make a long push of the button to enable Siri. My Subaru had terrible voice recognition, but Kia seems to do much better with it.
Just bought a 2019 Kia Niro EX, with Navigation. Have played around with Apple CarPlay, and have the following thoughts:
- You have more flexibility not connecting CarPlay, but just using Bluetooth. You can use the Voice button on the steering wheel to control the car's functions with a short press, or to control your phone through Siri with a long press. For example, with a short press, you can change the Sirius XM music channel with your voice. With a long press, you can tell Siri to navigate to a location by name - or anything else Siri can do (they call this feature "Siri Eyes Free"). You can still charge your phone using a cable, just plug it into one of the other USB ports, or if you don't have those, into your cigarette lighter charger adapter.
- This car's built-in Navigation system is really awful, it's similar to what you could get 10-15 years ago. You cannot give it a place name by voice. Well, maybe they have a list of a couple hundred predefined retailer names - but what if you're going somewhere else? Maybe we were wowed by such functionality when in-car navigation first appeared, but now, compared to Apple Maps or Google Maps, there is no comparison. Also I noticed that on my first trip using the system, it already got one street name wrong. That is not a good sign.
- If you want decent navigation, you need to use your phone. Now, you have two choices:
1. Mount your phone on your dash and follow the navigation from your phone's screen. OR
2. Turn on CarPlay, plug your phone into the USB port, and use Apple Maps or Google Maps or Waze to navigate. With this option, your navigation will show up on the car's screen, and you don't even have to open up your phone. In my opinion, this is the ONLY advantage of using CarPlay on this vehicle.
- There are disadvantages to using CarPlay in this vehicle
1. The Voice button the steering wheel ONLY communicates with Siri on your phone. You cannot use it to control any other function, like changing the radio station or Sirius XM channel.
2. The Home screen on the car's dash is a split screen, showing nav on the left, and your media on the right. The nav on the left always shows the car's braindead nav system. So if you're not using that, it's just wasted space on the screen. You can touch the right-hand side to show the Media as full screen, which is what you'd want to do. But then you may desire to switch what's showing on the screen between the Media and the CarPlay screen. I assigned the * button on the dash to CarPlay (in the Setup menus, it is called "Phone Projection" ), so that I can switch between these two displays more easily.
- Note: you can use Bluetooth between your phone and the car to do everything you might want to do with CarPlay -- except one thing: showing the phone's navigation on the car's display screen.
Ever since iOS 13 was released, I have been unable to use Siri to make phone calls either through CarPlay or even just connected via Bluetooth. And it's not Kia specific, as my Motorola Bluetooth device I use in my truck for phone calls won't work either. My employer just authorized us to update to 13.3 this morning, so I'll have to see if it maybe now will work.
For myself the most valuable use of CarPlay is Waze. I of course know the route to/from work, but it's traffic advice is valuable to spot possible backups, especially since my city has a lot of road construction going on right now.
I thought I should perhaps be more specific regarding my description of the in-car navigation as "awful" and "brain-dead". It's mostly, but not entirely, related to the voice capabilities of the system. The mobile navigation apps these days have very good voice capabilities. I can ask them to drive to any location by speaking the name of the business, for example. If there are multiple matches, it will display them. The in-car navigation system has a set of built-in Points of Interest (POI), which are basically the names of the retail chains that it knows about. Beyond that, you're out of luck. The in-car navigation forces you to go through clunky steps to set up a destination, and type in the address for any POI not in its built-in database. You can say "Find <address> in <state>", but you have to give it the state. Kind of weird, since it knows where you are. The advantage and the disadvantage of the in-car navigation is that it does not rely on a cellular connection to the cloud. It has to rely on the static information stored on the memory chip in the car. If you are somewhere with no cellular service, the in-car system can get you where you are going. But if you are out in the boonies, you could have also downloaded an offline map in Google Maps before you left home, to overcome this problem.
Then, as I mentioned in my first post, I ran into a navigation problem the very first time I used it. It thought that a side street went through, when in fact that street is blocked off from the adjoining street. In the early days of Apple Maps there were some of those same types of issues. But you would have thought that by now, the navigation databases have had enough time to clear out all those types of bugs. So that is not a good harbinger for the quality of the in-car system.