Wireless CarPlay & Android Auto Guide BMW

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Wireless carplay / android auto is a great way to get access to the feature without the added hassle of plugging your phone into the stereo to set it up each time.   There are 3 main ways to retrofit wireless car play in your BMW.
The following options will depend on your situation, budget and the model of BMW you own. Pick One Option Below:
Pick One Option Below:
BMW Wireless Carplay & Android Auto
BMW Wireless Carplay & Android Auto

Already installed in BMW - Option 1

Many newer BMW models already have CarPlay and Android Auto. Still, only some models from 2019 and 2020 will have the ability to conduct Carplay and Android Auto wirelessly.

If you’re not sure, you can go into the car setting and check if it will allow you to connect to CarPlay wirelessly via a WIFI connection.

apple carplay icon

BMW - Apple CarPlay Models

  • 2017 – 2021 1 Series
  • 2017 – 2019 6 Series
  • 2017 – 2021 2 Series
  • 2017 – 2021 4 Series
  • 2017 – 2021 5 Series
  • 2017 – 2021 7 Series
  • 2018 – 2021 8 Series
  • 2017 – 2021 X3
  • 2017 – 2021 X4
  • 2017 – 2021 X5
  • 2017 – 2021 X6
  • 2018 – 2021 X7
  • 2017 – 2021 3 Series
  • 2018 – 2021 X1
  • 2018 – 2021 X2
  • 2018 – 2021 i3
  • 2019 – 2020 i8
  • 2019 – 2021 Z4
andriod auto logo

BMW - Android Auto Models

  • 1 Series 2020-
  • 2 Series 2020-
  • 3 Series 2019-
  • 4 Series 2021-
  • 5 Series 2020-
  • 6 Series 2020-
  • 7 Series 2020-
  • 8 Series 2019-
  • X3 2020-
  • X4 2020-
  • X5 2019-
  • X6 2020-
  • X7 2019-
  • Z4 2019-

(Updated as of June 2021)

See the full list of compatible vehicle models on Apple’s CarPlay website  

See the full list of compatible vehicle models on Andriod’s Auto Website

Unsupported BMW Models

Before 2016 / 2017, models do not tend to come with Apple CarPlay and 2019 for Andriod Auto as standard. There are certain caveats to this, such as unique options or modifications that prevent CarPlay from being installed, but this is rare. Suppose you’re looking to buy a new BMW and want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. In that case, you should check the specification before buying. Many newer BMW models already have wireless CarPlay and Andriod Auto. Still, only some models from 2019 and 2020 will have the ability to conduct Carplay and Andriod Auto wirelessly. If you’re not sure, you can go into the car setting and check if it will allow you to connect to car play wirelessly via a wifi connection. Wireless CarPlay is also standard in models from 2020 onwards, as manufacturers adopted the technology from this year ahead.
Just because your BMW doesn’t come with CarPlay or Android Auto as a standard doesn’t mean you can’t install it. See option 2 and option 3 for more information on how this might be possible for your model.
Several 2021 BMW models support Apple Car Keys, allowing you to unlock your car via your apple watch or iPhone.
Unsupported Models by Type

Almost all modern BMW models are supported. However, from our research, BMW Alpina models are not supported by wireless CarPlay and android auto, installed from the factory due to their age.

Setting up BMW Wireless CarPlay & Andriod Auto - Factory Installed

These methods will only work with BMW’s with existing CarPlay, and Android Auto installed from the factory.

CarPlay - BMW

View the YouTube video showing the method to set up wireless CarPlay on factory standard CarPlay models. The BMW representative also covers common issues and problems setting the system up:

Steps:

  1. Go to mobile devices (in communication setting)
  2. Click connect add a new device. 
  3. Select “phone calls and audio via Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay.”
  4. Then go into your iPhone settings -> Bluetooth -> Click BMW […YOUR VIN NUMBER]
  5. Then confirm it by clicking pair on your iPhone, followed by “Yes” on your car’s interface.
  6. Allow all connections to be shared on your iPhone. 
  7. Confirm that you want to connect with Apple CarPlay rather than to BMW’s iDrive system on the informant. 
  8.  Confirm again on your iPhone that you agree to connect to CarPlay.
  9. All Done! Enjoy CarPlay Wirelessly on your BMW

Android Auto - BMW

See BMW’s official handy tutorial, which shows you how to connect to Android auto wirelessly:

Steps:

  1. Active Bluetooth and WIFI on your android smartphone.
  2. Connect your smartphone to the vehicle via Bluetooth by going to apps and then Andriod auto.
  3.  Select your smartphone from the list and confirm
  4. Check if the following popup number is shown on your phone and click “OK”.
  5. Once completed, android Auto will appear and let you enjoy Android auto wirelessly on your BMW. 

Wireless CarPlay Adapter - Option 2 BMW

If your car already has CarPlay or Android Auto installed, you can use the adapter to talk wirelessly to your BMW head unit.

The CarLinkit 2.0 is for vehicles with CarPlay or Andriod Auto as a factory install. The CarLinkit 1.0 is for aftermarket Andriod head units that are compatible with CarPlay and Andriod Auto use.

This is a great cheaper option to get plug and play wireless Carplay in your BMW. Although this option is not without its faults, it’s a practical solution.

CarLinKit 1.0

For Aftermarket Andriod Head Units

CarLinKit 1.0
Pro's
Con's

List of Compatible Stereo Models:

Compatible with aftermarket Android car stereos installed into your vehicle. 

These include the likes of:

  • JVC
  • Kenwood 
  • Sony 
  • Pioneer 

CarLinKit 2.0

For Manufacture installed CarPlay / Android Auto

Carlinkit 2.0
Pro's
Con's
List of compatible BMW models:

Unfortunately, CarLinkit does not provide specific details regarding models of BMW’s they are compatible with. However, you should check on their website to see if it’s complete with your exact model and year.

If it’s not compatible, you’ll have to find an adapter that is or move on to option 3. 

PLEASE NOTE: It’s essential to understand that the adapters are not a perfect solution and are what I would call “temperamental”. The product works most of the time; however, it sometimes doesn’t connect and requires pulling the cable out and back in or restarting the engine.

It also takes around 10 seconds to fully connect to car play. Suppose you’re not happy enough with this. In that case, you should look at our option 3 recommendation as this method is Apple and manufacture approved.

The adapter is just a patch fix to trick the car into thinking it’s connected like usual, so there are occasional bugs. However, in my experience, when testing the product in a 2017 Vaxuall / Opal Corsa, it worked 90% of the time. This was good enough for the factional price of a new head you’d have to buy, as seen in option 3.

New Wireless CarPlay Compatible Head Or MMI - Option 3

This option is the most expensive route to take to get wireless carplay but will be one of the only options if you couldn’t follow the previous two steps.

MMI Unit

Depending on your model, you’ll be able to install a small Multi-Media Interface (MMI) box, meaning you won’t have to replace the screen and can just plug and play in the unit. The unit is simply an extension of the iDrive system already installed in your BMW. See the Amazon listing for an example of an MMI system. Of course, each MMI system might not work with every car, so make sure you check if it’s compatible with your model.

BMW MMI Unit

Some models can be more tricky than others to install, with the NBT type taking up to 2 hours of your time to do so. Suppose you are not confident with vehicle electronics. In that case, you may want to opt for a professional to install the unit in your BMW to save you time, hassle and so you know it’ll be installed properly.

New Head Unit

Because of the way BMW head unit stereos are positioned, they do not conform to traditional stereo standards that most manufacturers stick to.


As you can see in the picture, the iDrive BMW display protrudes from the dashboard, which needs to be replaced.
Depending on the model will depend on which head unit is best to achieve wireless Carplay.

Check the button below for the various options of head units available to fully upgrade your stereo system and get wireless CarPlay and Android Auto.

BMW 3 series Head unit area