BMW & CarPlay Access



Unless that other car isn’t “equipped” with ACP. Of course, that starts back up the debate as to why it isn’t a free standard feature across the board. Thus the reason I said “kinda sorta”


When I leased my 2018 last month, I specifically found one with Nav because I was under the impression that is all you needed to get carplay. I was willing to fork over the extra $300 to download it. But when I tried to get it from the connected store… it wasn’t there. I texted the salesman but he thought I just had to wait a bit longer for my account to be activated. I then called BMW whereupon I was informed that I also needed wireless charging to be able to download and install carplay. WHA???

Texted back and forth with the salesman a bit. He knew carplay was a key feature for me. He said he would talk to service the next day because he never heard of that requirement. Meantime, I did some poking around and found a number of sites online where you can pay ~$129-$189 and they will send you a file through email coded to your VIN that will unlock carplay. I decided to take the chance and it worked! So here, in a car BMW told me I could NOT have carplay in, it works flawlessly and cost me way less than they would have charged. I texted the salesman and told him what I did and how BMW was wrong and lost themselves $300. He found it all quite amusing and will be reaching out to me when he runs into any other customers in the same predicament.


Funny… I was told the same thing by my dealer that the wireless charging package was needed, but made no sense as I knew there were cars with the CarPlay option that did not have wireless charging. I guess I got lucky that it showed up in my Connected Store with an existing subscription (new car) but I didn’t look for a week or so after i bought the car. I did have to enable it within the website then update the iDrive app in the car for it to finally show up.

This is why I started this thread however it doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason of who it is available to before the '19 models. I did see a thread on one of the Bimmer forums how people were able to push it down through the UK Connected Drive app, but still cost what ended up being $300 after the currency conversion.

Does anything show up in your Connect Drive profile now that you enabled?


I’m really interested in what you did to add it to your connected store. My wife’s car doesn’t have this option even though she has the Premium Pack with the Nav. I tried looking high and low and did not find anything to add it from BMW Connected Drive (I went to website as the car didn’t have it).



sure… log into this site:

Do you see the CarPlay Compatibility Service link in either column? If you do, open it up and see what it says. If it says there is an active subscription i believe I was able to push it down by just updating iDrive in the car.


By old fashioned, you mean more favorable to the consumer. Buying a license for MS-Word worked really well for customers. Microsoft found it much more profitable by selling the idea of cloud based Office and charging monthly or yearly for it with ‘free’ updates.

None of this helps the customer as much as a plain jane software licenses.

This another example of corporate greed and contempt for customers.


To be fair, the best analogy here is BMW making people pay them for a subscription of Google Docs or OpenOffice


Reminds me of a Tom Petty song, The Last DJ:

“As we celebrate mediocrity all the boys upstairs want to see
How much you’ll pay for what you used to get for free”


Bmw is kind of strange and in their own world, by offering less and charging more they think it’s better because of their superior German engineering. But then you have audi/vw that just gives it away and offers android auto unlike bmw. But true lease hackr’s don’t care about anything but payment, if it’s a $100 a month cheaper than the other car, I don’t car that it doesn’t have whatever the soup du jour is this model year. It’s just a rental, I’d rather have the cash in pocket to buy more crap that I don’t need, isn’t that the American way?


Absolutely… While there are some benefits like being always up-to-date, subscription model sucks for consumers financially in the long run.


Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

I just checked the Connected Drive website after logging in and don’t see any mention of carplay in either the Services Subscribed to nor Services Available tabs.


Hmmm…Can you buy it directly in the ConnectedDrive store via iDrive in the car?


No, which is why I went the aftermarket coding route.


Can it be installed bypassing Bmw without purchasing subscription?


I paid nothing to BMW, nor do I have to pay a recurring subscription charge.

As I mentioned before, there are several sites out there who offer this service, but this is the particular one I went with:


Just to add on, I used that same site ( and it worked out far cheaper than going through BMW. And the install was quick and painless.


I suspect the only issue with going the coding route is you may lose CarPlay should the dealer have to reflash for any reason.


But everyone else gives you Carplay free . . .


Then buy from everyone else. I don’t understand the “well X brand gives me X for Free and the Germans make me pay for it” debate. Buy from brand X then. Same thing goes for the safety garbage they put on cars today. It’s tiresome to hear that a Chevy gives it to you for free but BMW makes you pay for it. Buy a Chevy if you want it, or pay to get it on the BMW if you want the badge. It’s pretty simple. Adding the features isn’t going to do anything but drive the overall cost of the car up more. I’m glad they give me the option vs paying for something I’m not going to use, by baking it into MSRP.

BTW…nobody gives you anything for free…they just bake it into the cost vs give it to you ala-carte, so it appears free. The Germans have done a very good job at marketing their cars upscale, and people are willing to pay a premium to drive them. That’s the way they want to run their business, and is their prerogative. Obviously, they’re doing something right, or they wouldn’t be in business. They all outsell Cadillac, who gives you CarPlay for “free.”


Didn’t read the whole discussion, but do I have to pay (and why I have to pay for that option at all) if I don’t even have iPhone? :slight_smile: