Step-by-Step Instructions for Installing Apple CarPlay

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Estimated reading time: 4 min

do I know if my BMW has Apple CarPlay?
If you can safely say you’ve checked off all the boxes and BMW Apple
CarPlay is already activated in your iDrive, you can now proceed to the
iPhone/CarPlay setup. Here’s how it looks on iDrive 7.0.

1. First, make sure Bluetooth, WiFi, and Siri toggle buttons are switched
on in the Settings of your iPhone.
2. Then, head on over to your iDrive screen and go through the route: COM
> Mobile Devices > Settings to check the Bluetooth, WiFi and Apple
CarPlay boxes.
3. Once the connection is enabled go to New Device > Phone calls and
4. Get back to your iPhone, enter Settings > General > CarPlay and
select your BMW PIN from the menu.
5. Your iPhone will now begin pairing with your BMW, so you’ll be prompted
to confirm the PIN, Bluetooth and other pairing requests on your mobile
device and the iDrive screen.
6. Lastly, on your iDrive screen choose the option to connect to Apple CarPlay
and your CarPlay setup will be complete.

Now that you’re all done, you can freely use some of the best BMW CarPlay
apps through your iDrive display and test out how to easily control them.
Give Siri the first shot to check if the voice recognition capabilities are
all set up correctly. To do so, just press the microphone button on your
steering wheel and ask Siri a question. You should receive a response within

Enabling BMW Apple CarPlay this way will be a one-time procedure. Next time
you start the car, your iPhone will connect to CarPlay automatically.

If it happens your BMW Apple CarPlay suddenly stops working, there is a
process of checking what might have caused the issue. At times is just as
basic as adjusting your WiFi antenna, in other cases an entire re-activating
might be necessary.

Hard reset iPhone and iDrive
First try to reactivate your BWW Apple CarPlay by a hard reset of your
iPhone and your iDrive system. To hard reset your iDrive system press and
hold the volume button for around 15-30 seconds until the screen goes blank.
It will start up again after a few seconds.

To hard reset your phone, depending on its generation, you can

* press the Volume up’ button, press the Volume down’ button and hold the
Wake’ button for a few seconds
* hold the Wake’ button along with the Home’ button together until the
screen goes blank.

Once the two are back and running again, try pairing your phone to your
iDrive system and enable BMW Apple CarPlay one more time according to the
above steps.

Check CarPlay pairing
If you still have no luck, perhaps you should ensure you paired CarPlay
properly with your iPhone. Sometimes it may happen that your phone will
connect by default to another device instead of your car’s Bluetooth. In that
case, re-pair the two properly.

Check WiFi antenna
Didn’t help either? Test out whether your WiFi antenna is set up properly
by putting your phone against your iDrive console as close as possible to the
head unit. If it catches a signal and you see your CarPlay in the iDrive
settings without the possibility to reconnect it, it means the antenna is not
aligned or plugged in correctly and needs to be physically adjusted towards
the middle of the car.

Use another iPhone
In case that doesn’t make things better try out pairing a different iPhone.
At times it’s not the iDrive that causes the issues.

Upgrade CarPlay from ConnectedDrive
Another scenario is to look up if you still have an active Apple CarPlay
subscription it may have been erased by a head unit upgrade. In such a case,
go to your ConnectedDrive store in your iDrive menu and follow the necessary

How to get Apple CarPlay on BMWNot all cars will be capable of CarPlay
activation though.

As you’re probably aware, BMWs produced before 2016 with older generation
head units such as the CIC iDrive system, CHAMP or NBT were left out of
running the native CarPlay interface. which would be a sad reality if it
wasn’t for the aftermarket solutions such as CarPlay Smartbox Prime.

Enter your VIN here to check if you’re compatible with the BMW CarPlay

Thanks to the BMW CarPlay retrofit, even 2008 BMW drivers can enjoy a wireless
CarPlay feature that perfectly integrates with the native iDrive display,
controller, car stereo and the steering wheel buttons (in selected vehicles
only) to make the app usage just as intuitive an in the OEM Apple CarPlay
version. In fact, the additional Android Auto functionality augmenting the
upgrade makes it even more flexible for Android smartphone users to control
their Play Store apps straight from the iDrive screen.

The installation part shouldn’t be tricky either, as the upgrade is fully
plug & play and doesn’t require any permanent BMW modifications. Sparing
2 – 4 hours is all it takes to have CarPlay up and running without hurrying
to a nearby car shop.

The process revolves around disassembling the upper and lower trim and the
faceplate on your dash, pulling the head unit out, connecting it to the MMI
module using the supplied harness and plugging the new cable from the MMI to
the screen. You’ll get the precise PDF instructions, videos and dedicated
technical support after the purchase to guide you through the whole project
if you decide to DIY.

Here’s an example install overview on the BMW M6:
More on the installation process of the BMW CarPlay retrofit and other
popular DIY BMW upgrades, in this article.

How to enable BMW CarPlay retrofit?
Got your MMI in? Now you’ve got to enable the connection between your
iPhone, just as you do with the OEM Apple CarPlay.

1. On your phone go to Settings>General>CarPlay, within this menu you
may find either CarPlay Smartbox or MMI, go ahead and forget those devices.

2. Next, go to the MMI Settings>Connections>Reset All Connections –
the MMI should reboot.
3. With everything removed grab a USB cable, make sure WiFi and Bluetooth
are on your phone, connect the USB cable to your phone and the MMI USB port.

4. Accept every prompt that comes up on the screen. Once you have the
CarPlay on the iDrive screen give it around 10 seconds and unplug the USB
5. Next on your iPhone go to Settings>Bluetooth and click on MMI/CarPlay
Smartbox to connect. Once it connects, CarPlay will appear on the screen and
the Bluetooth will disconnect.

From this time on, CarPlay will be available wirelessly and will connect
automatically next time you enter the car. If at any point you encounter any
BMW CarPlay / iPhone pairing issues, check your phone:
* is not connected to any other device,
* has the hotspot option turned off,
* is not automatically connecting to any other device,
* is not connected to the OEM BMW Bluetooth.

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