How to Install MINI Cooper CarPlay?

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Estimated reading time: 8 min

What
is Apple CarPlay in MINI?
Although it wasn’t until 2014 that Apple introduced CarPlay to the
automotive realm, the technology itself was based on the pre-existing
“iPod Out” functionality, co-developed by Apple and BMW several
years earlier. In a BMW, iPod Out allowed connecting an iPod to the iDrive
system to listen to music via the car’s stereo system. Meanwhile, the current
track or playlist could be shown on the iDrive screen, and controlled with
the vehicle’s native multimedia controls.

As the years went on and iPods got replaced by far more capable iPhones,
Apple rebuilt its iPod Out technology, expanding it with considerably more
features. The new system, called CarPlay, became a bridge between the
smartphone and the iDrive system that was made to leverage much more than
solely music playback. It could run a variety of apps, including music,
messaging and navigation, suited to use behind the wheel. Or to be clearer it
was optimized to be easily controlled via buttons, knobs, voice assistants or
touchscreens (in compatible vehicles).

MINI Apple CarPlay features
Having Apple CarPlay in your MINI Cooper means you’ll be able to:

Use a range of navigation apps, including Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze,
instead of relying on your MINI’s native navigation system.
Stream music, radio, podcasts and audiobooks from apps such as Spotify,
Stitcher, Tidal, Pandora and Audible.
Send text messages using WhatsApp.
Enjoy the comfort of Siri voice control to send messages, find directions
and more, without taking your eyes off the road.
Conveniently access all your content using your MINI’s native iDrive
controls, no matter which app you’re using.

WHICH MINI MODELS HAVE APPLE CARPLAY?
Those of you who own pre-2017 MINI Coopers know that they can be absolutely
sufficient option wise with their 6.5” displays, Bluetooth connectivity or
SiriusXM satellite radio… except for lacking original Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto infotainment features.

Thankfully the strong BMW/MINI partnership leads the British brand forward,
generously sharing each new BMW technology with MINI cars. Most
software/hardware components first introduced by the BMW, such as head units,
screens or cameras sooner or later get included in the MINI range. And so did
CarPlay for that matter. 

After the Bavarian brand paved the way for MINI to include the Apple
technology, MINI started to offer the original Apple CarPlay activation in
July 2017 on MINI Clubman models (followed by MINI Countryman, MINI Hatch and
MINI Convertible in 2018). The only trick here was in order to get the full
MINI Cooper CarPlay experience, the car had to be equipped with:

MINI Connected and NBT Evo iDrive system with Navigation Professional  (the one with an 8.8” touchscreen display)

or
MINI Connected, ENAV Evo iDrive with Navigation system (the one with a
6.5” display) and MINI Apple CarPlay preparation (S6CPA)
All later MINI models with the aforementioned tech have Apple CarPlay
activation optioned in.

You may find CarPlay in models such as MINI Countryman F60, MINI Cooper S
F57, MINI Cooper S F56, MINI Cooper S F55 or MINI Clubman F54.

HOW TO UPGRADE APPLE CARPLAY IN MINI COOPER?
Missing CarPlay in your MINI Cooper? Here are two ways you can add it to
your vehicle, depending on its year of production and head unit
version.

Check which option is best for you by decoding your VIN on this website.

How to upgrade Apple CarPlay in MINI Cooper
MINI Cooper Apple CarPlay activation (for 2017+ MINIs)
At times, adding MINI Cooper CarPlay may be as easy as activating the
existing option in your iDrive. In fact, most 2017 or later MINIs with the
CarPlay Preparation option (S6CPA) are capable of running the native Apple
CarPlay interface, after having it activated by a MINI dealership or third
party using special coding software for MINIs. If you’re not sure whether
your MINI Cooper has the S6CPA option, enter your VIN here and we’ll check
that for you.

The availability of factory activated MINI Cooper CarPlay can be also
limited by your location. According to Apple, MINI Cooper CarPlay is
attainable for citizens of over 35 countries. Those of you whose countries
are not on that list can’t have the feature activated by MINI dealers.

Autosvs, on the other hand, can perform the MINI Apple CarPlay setup in any
country all you gotta have is the necessary hardware preparation. Our CarPlay
activation is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to have Apple technology
in your vehicle. No cables will be needed, just a USB stick and 15 minutes of
your free time to spare on a swift coding procedure. In some cases, though,
you may additionally need to get a WiFi antenna if your MINI doesn’t already
have one, to enable a wireless connection between your iPhone and the head
unit. Check here if your MINI needs one, and if so order it with us.

Check out how the MINI CarPlay activation process might work, with the
example of the BMW G12.

MINI Cooper CarPlay retrofit (for pre-2017 MINIs)
If your vehicle was produced before 2017 and doesn’t have original Apple
CarPlay, our aftermarket CarPlay for MINI Coopers will let you enjoy even
more than this iOS functionality. With the MINI Cooper CarPlay retrofit for
2011+ MINIs, you’ll not only get to have a wireless CarPlay feature, but also
be able to use an Android Auto functionality and connect yours or your
friends’ Android devices in a breeze! The upgrade additionally supports front
and reversing cameras, which due to the present MMI module, are available for
a much lower price.

The MINI Cooper CarPlay retrofit is compatible with CHAMP2, NBT and NBT Evo
iDrive systems. But hey, don’t worry if you’re not sure which one’s which.
Enter your VIN on the product website and we’ll check if your MINI is
compatible for you.

AFTERMARKET CARPLAY INSTALLATION IN MINI
Like to take things into your own hands? MINI Cooper CarPlay install will
be your test as an avid DIYer. If your MINI comes with an NBT type head unit,
your job will be a straightforward plug & play. Just disassemble the
upper and lower trim and the faceplate on your dash, pull the head unit out,
connect it to the MMI module using the supplied harness, plug in the new
cable from the MMI to the screen and that’s it, job done.

On the other hand, adding MINI Cooper CarPlay retrofit to CIC type head
units might be a bit more complicated and a longer process requiring expert
DIY knowledge. If you feel like you’d rather pass that responsibility on to
somebody that’s more experienced, you can get in touch with one of our
installers.

HOW TO USE CARPLAY IN MINI COOPER?
First of all, do the pairing! After you pair your MINI with your iPhone,
the native MINI iDrive menu will be replaced with CarPlay’s interface,
conveniently displaying available apps as iOS-like icons all over the screen.
Navigating the menu won’t give you a hard time either, as it won’t be any
different from using your native MINI system. This means you’ll be able to
use the MINI Connected controller to switch between options, Siri to get
directions, dictate messages, ask for music, etc.  or, if fitted with a touchscreen, tap on
apps you want to use.

How to pair wireless CarPlay with your phone?
CarPlay apps may be displayed on your MINI’s built-in screen, but don’t
forget that CarPlay is not a standalone system. In order to run your apps,
you need to keep your iPhone connected to the car at all times.

On many systems it brings the need for a wired connection, with the iOS
device being plugged into one of the car’s USB ports throughout use.
Fortunately, CarPlay Smartbox retrofit for MINI supports wireless
connections, which you can enable by activating Bluetooth on your iPhone and
going through a simple set up process.

Here’s how to pair CarPlay wirelessly with your phone:

In your phone’s settings.
Enable Siri:
Go to ‘Settings’ and find ‘Siri & Search’.
Toggle on the Siri functions if they’re not on yet. You’ll be guided
through a short set up process.
Make sure your WiFi is switched on.
Go to Bluetooth settings and toggle Bluetooth off and on again.
In your MMI settings.

Go to ‘Connections’.
Choose ‘Pair new device’ and press ‘Start search’ button.
Once your iPhone’s name appears, you can press ‘Stop search’.
With your iDrive controller, press the highlighted iPhone name. It will
show you your iPhone’s profile.
Press on the iAP profile.
Confirm all of your iPhone’s requests which will pop up in a few
seconds.
Once you do that, your CarPlay will connect wirelessly each time you start
your car.
And now it’s time for the tests!

Make sure you’ve selected the AUX input.
Set up the AUX input volume about half way up the scale.
If you can hear the music at a comparable volume to FM radio, that means
you’re set up fine.
Check the microphone reception when in CarPlay mode.
Press and hold the MINI Connected Controller until you hear a chime and
observe Siri on your MINI’s screen.
State any command and check whether Siri is hearing your voice.
If you see the moving wave at the bottom of the screen and an answer is
being provided through your speakers – you’re set.
Which apps can I use on Apple Carplay in 2022?
Before you get excited about using a YouTube app on your MINI screen, keep
in mind that not all of your iPhones apps will be available on CarPlay. This
technology was built to support only these apps drivers are likely to use
behind the wheel that is navigation, messaging and audio, including music,
radio and podcasts. Among the apps you can find Apple Maps, iMessage and
Apple Music, as well as third-party offerings, like Google Maps, Audible and
Overcast. Apart from these categories, Apple has also allowed manufacturers
to include their own, vehicle-specific app.

What developers gotta do though to add the app to CarPlay is provide an
alternative interface better suited for in-car use. Many major apps such as
Waze, Spotify and WhatsApp have in fact done that, but if you’d like to use a
little more niche app, you might not be able to access it via CarPlay. It may
even turn out that even though your app is available, its functionality might
be limited. That’s exactly what happened with Facebook’s Messenger, launched
with support for receiving voice calls through CarPlay, but no allowance to
make calls or messages. If you’re unsure whether your preferred app is
supported, it’s best to get in touch with the developer for
clarification.

As of January 2022,  MINI CarPlay
apps include:

Apple Maps
Google Maps
Waze
Apple Podcasts
Apple Audiobooks
WhatsApp
Spotify
Amazon Prime Music
Google Play Music
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Audible
MLB At Bat
Pandora
Tidal
iHeartRadio
Stitcher
Radio Disney
CBS Radio
Overcast
Audiobooks.com
NAVER Map
Slacker Radio
VOX
NPR One
KakaoMap
Clammr
Downcast
Sygic
MINI CarPlay apps

If you’re interested in the latest lineup, check the official CarPlay
website. Apple updates their list all the time!

MINI CarPlay subscription
Extra options always mean additional bucks, but CarPlay is a different
story. During its launch in 2017, CarPlay went for $300 in the US keeping up
with other infotainment features. However, after adjusting the payment model
based on a consumer-first approach, MINI manufacturers decided to make
CarPlay available as a subscription service, including it free for four years
and charging $80/year after the end of that period.

That wasn’t their last word though, as after receiving a multitude of
complaints, MINI then decided to give complimentary lifetime CarPlay for all
2017+ vehicles.

MINI CarPlay full-screen
This  is not there by default. What
you may find slightly inconvenient in MINI’s native CarPlay setup is its
original split-screen interface only fits up to eight apps per screen. For
those MINI owners who’d like to open up that space a little bit and give nav
maps or music playlist more room to shine, there is a full-screen mode
letting you use as many as 10 apps per page. How to activate it? With
Autosvs’s full-screen Apple CarPlay coding you’ll do it in 15 minutes.

Opting in for a MINI CarPlay retrofit you’ll get a full-screen interface
right from the start.

MINI COOPER ANDROID AUTO
The original Android Auto is included as an option only in MGU head units,
and since MINI Cooper is yet to be equipped with iDrive 7.0, for now you
won’t find this feature on any car from the MINI range. Luckily, thanks to
the MINI Cooper Android Auto retrofit for 2011+ vehicles, dedicated Android
users don’t have to wait for the upcoming manufacturing decisions or save up
for a new iPhone. Getting your hands on the Android Auto retrofit means
you’ll get to enjoy your favourite phone apps like Google Maps, Waze,
Spotify, WhatsApp or Messenger, and control them all with Google Assistant voice
commands. No better way to stay focused on the road! 

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