What Is BMW Carplay?

The ideal method to link your new BMW to your Apple iPhone is via Apple CarPlay, which is available on all BMW models with the iDrive 7 system.

Apple CarPlay: What is it?

CarPlay was introduced in 2014, however it was based on the “iPod Out” capability that Apple and BMW had jointly developed several years previously. With BMW’s iPod Out feature, you may connect an iPod to your iDrive system and use the car’s stereo to listen to your music library. The current track or playlist might be displayed on the iDrive screen at the same time, and you could use your car’s native multimedia controls to operate your iPod and skip music, for example.

Apple was able to revisit their iPod Out technology and rebuild it with far more features as iPods made way for the much more sophisticated iPhones. The new CarPlay system would be able to fully utilize an iPhone’s processing power to run a variety of apps, including music, messaging, and navigation, rather than just controlling music playback. CarPlay enables you to combine the convenience of the dashboard display and in-car controls with the adaptability of an iPhone and its extensive app ecosystem. It does this by establishing a connection between your smartphone and your BMW’s iDrive system.

Even though CarPlay enables you to use many of the same well-known apps that you may already have on your iPhone, the system is designed specifically for use while driving. This calls for a redesigned menu layout that is more suitable for use while operating a vehicle. In compatible vehicles, CarPlay does enable touchscreens, but the technology also functions flawlessly with the buttons and knobs found on the majority of car dashboards.


Due to its flawless integration into your BMW, Apple CarPlay(r) has been developed specifically for use in vehicles and is the most intelligent method to conveniently use your mobile device.

The best way to link your new BMW to your Apple iPhone is through Apple CarPlay, which is available on all BMW models with the iDrive 7 system.

Does Apple CarPlay Exist in BMWs? Can it also be added?

Among the most popular vehicles on the road today, BMWs are prized for their cutting-edge technology.

Apple CarPlay is one of such features. With it, you may use the BMW’s dashboard screen to access the apps on your iPhone.

Several inquiries about this function will be addressed in this article, along with information on its availability across the whole BMW lineup.

BMWs with iDrive 5 or later equipped have Apple CarPlay available. Since 2019, BMW has offered this as a free upgrade on newer vehicles equipped with iDrive 7.

One feature that many potential BMW owners find to be quite appealing is Apple CarPlay.

Continue reading to find out which BMWs support Apple CarPlay and how to add it to a BMW that doesn’t currently have it.

BMW models that support Apple CarPlay * Ensure that your iPhone’s Bluetooth, WiFi, and Siri are turned on

Activating Apple CarPlay in my BMW

You can watch this video to discover how to set up and connect Apple CarPlay on your iPhone in a BMW. The BMW X3 utilized in this demonstration has iDrive 7, therefore if you have an older or newer iDrive system, the process may be different. In order to use the advanced phone integration features of CarPlay, an Apple Lightning connector is no longer necessary, setting BMW ahead of the competition in 2916. On the touchscreen of your BMW, the Apple CarPlay interface replicates the appearance and functionality of your phone. The pages in the CarPlay user interface are identical to those on your iPhone’s display. However, there is one restriction: BMW Apps and Apple CarPlay cannot function simultaneously. Additionally, only one device may support both Apple CarPlay and the Wi-Fi hotspot offered by BMW.

BMW Navigation system and iDrive 5 or newer are required for Apple CarPlay. Additionally, an iPhone 5 or later running iOS 9.3 or higher is required. In addition, your iPhone must have Siri, WiFi, and Bluetooth turned on, as well as an active data plan. CarPlay integrates phone, navigation, entertainment, and vehicle control and information capabilities onto the central touchscreen of the BMW iDrive infotainment system.

The following are the general steps for setting up Apple CarPlay in your BMW:

  • 1. Your iPhone must have Bluetooth switched ON.
  • 2. Press or select COM – Mobile Devices – New Device – Phone calls and audio from the iDrive 7 menu.
  • 3. Choose the BMW entry from the Bluetooth menu on your iPhone. Soon the pairing will start, and it can take a few seconds.
  • 4. Verify that the PINs displayed on the iPhone and iDrive 7 are identical, then choose YES.

On my BMW, how can I utilize CarPlay?

Choose your BMW from the Bluetooth menu on your iPhone. Your iDrive 7 screen will validate the pairing request as the two start to pair. Verify the PIN is the same on your iPhone and iDrive 7 screens, then select Yes. On your iDrive 7 screen, select the option to connect to Apple CarPlay.

BMW CarPlay is it free?

Although the German automaker BMW was an early adopter of Apple CarPlay wirelessly, it charged for the service, ranging from a $300 one-time cost to a yearly $80 price. Now that it’s free, all 2021 BMW models even have the integration of the car keys, which is a significant plus. And for all those older BMWs, upgrading a CarPlay compatible head unit is possible, albeit with some extra work and expense.

When did BMW introduce Apple CarPlay?

Due to the carmaker switching its chip supplier, BMW is temporarily shipping new vehicles without Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability (via Automotive News Europe).

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require updated software to function on the new CPUs found in many BMWs produced this year. Dealerships are advising BMW customers who purchase a new vehicle without CarPlay to wait for an over-the-air upgrade that will add the feature “by the end of June at the latest.”

It’s unclear how many BMW models are impacted, but a lot of consumers in the UK, France, Italy, and the US have complained online about receiving new cars without CarPlay. Models that are affected have the specification code “6P1” in them.

While some BMW owners may have to temporarily do without CarPlay capability, BMW is moving chip suppliers to enhance its supply chain over the long run, which could help to alleviate component shortages in the second half of the year.

With support for Digital Key, Ultra Wideband Digital Key Plus, and a feature-rich dual-screen wireless CarPlay experience, BMW provides one of the most integrated experiences with Apple’s ecosystem. BMW only began providing CarPlay in 2016 and faced criticism for charging a $80 yearly subscription charge before canceling the subscription in response to the backlash.

Can I add Apple CarPlay to my BMW?

With firmware beginning with iOS 7.1, Apple CarPlay(r) Preparation is available for all iPhone devices starting with the 5. You must have the optional additional ConnectedDrive Services, which include BMW apps, in order to utilize Apple CarPlay(r) Preparation in a BMW vehicle (6AK). Additionally, your BMW must be outfitted with Navi Professional.

What is the cost of adding CarPlay to a BMW?

Because the NBT Evo head unit with ID5 or ID6 software is required, BMW Apple CarPlay compatibility is constrained. In other words, your BMW need the most recent operating system and on-board computer. Even if your car was made in 2016, 2015, or 2014 and has modern technologies, it might only have ID4 hardware or normal NBT, which is outdated head unit hardware.

If your BMW has a head unit that is suitable, BimmerTech can activate the software to make Apple CarPlay available. If your car does not already have a WiFi antenna, you might need to add one in specific circumstances to enable the establishment of a wireless connection between your iPhone and BMW head unit. If your BMW requires one, you may check here and get it from us. Contrary to BMW, BimmerTech can activate BMW CarPlay even if your nation is not listed in Apple CarPlay’s availability list if the necessary hardware is installed in your car.

Regarding the Apple CarPlay subscription, BMW confirmed in December 2019 that owners of 2019/2020 models with the most recent iDrive 7.0 software would not be required to pay any fees. Of course, that only applies to 2018 models of newer autos. A one-time $300 fee will be applied to older BMW models (like an earlier lifetime subscription). However, 2020 and later BMW models are moving forward rather than backward by finally providing free BMW CarPlay.

There are still two options to upgrade your BMW if the initial BMW Apple CarPlay activation is not supported by your car.

What is the purpose of CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay was developed to make it simple for iPhone owners to connect their device to the infotainment system in their vehicle. Users may use their phones to make calls, send and receive text messages, play music, and get directions without ever touching them, which helps them stay concentrated on the road.

[2018 update: Apple CarPlay now enables you to use third-party mapping and navigation services through the infotainment system in your car, such as Google Maps and Waze. You won’t be limited to using simply the Apple Maps feature on your iPhone as a result.]

Can Apple CarPlay be used to start a car?

Start, lock, and unlock your vehicle using proximity Hold your mobile close to the car’s door handle to lock or unlock the vehicle. You may start your car by inserting your iPhone into the key reader or by keeping your Apple Watch close to the reader. Press the car’s start button after that.

How do I turn CarPlay on?

Click “Settings,” followed by “General” and “CarPlay.” From the list of “Available Cars,” pick your car. Hold down the CarPlay Home button on your touchscreen or the Voice Control button on your steering wheel. You should be prepared to employ the Apple CarPlay functions once Siri appears.

Can CarPlay be used with Bluetooth?

CarPlay, a more intelligent and secure method of using your iPhone in the car, is available on a few models. CarPlay displays the activities you want to perform on your iPhone while driving directly on the in-dash display in your vehicle.

Connect your iPhone to the USB port on your car’s audio if it supports CarPlay utilizing the USB port. There may be a CarPlay icon or a smartphone icon on the USB port’s label.

Press and hold the voice command button on your steering wheel to set up CarPlay if your vehicle supports wireless CarPlay. Alternatively, check sure your car is in Bluetooth or wireless pairing mode. Next, select your vehicle on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > CarPlay > Available Cars. For more details, consult the owner’s manual that came with your vehicle.