The best BMW CarPlay apps for 2022

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Estimated reading time: 8 min

How
to add apps to CarPlay?
Before we get into that, though, it’s worth taking a look at how you go
about getting all that into your BMW. Apple CarPlay’s greatest strength is
probably just how easy it is to get all your favorite apps up and running.

The important thing is that CarPlay is basically just piggybacking on your
iPhone and its installed apps. And why not? They’re the apps you use every
day, and there’s no point trying to install them all over again just for
Apple CarPlay.
In a nutshell, if you’ve got an app installed on your iPhone, and that app
has a CarPlay version, just connect your iPhone to your CarPlay-enabled
vehicle. You’ll find the app on your in-car home screen, ready to use.

WHAT APPS WORK WITH CARPLAY?
The only issue is that some iOS apps don’t have CarPlay versions. Example:
Crossy Road. Shocking, I know.

There are no hard and fast rules about which do, but you can start off by
asking yourself three questions about the app:
Is it popular?
Would anybody think it’s useful in a car?
Could you use it safely while driving?
If you didn’t answer yes’ to all three (sorry Netflix, fallen at the last
hurdle.), then it’s probably not on CarPlay. But if your app scores 3 out of
3, then congratulations, it’s Google Maps and I’m happy to confirm it does
work with BMW CarPlay!

BMW Apple CarPlay navigation apps
On the subject of Google Maps, when you first get BMW Apple CarPlay,
navigation is one of the first things you’re going to want to look into. In
fact, it’s probably the only area where CarPlay is undeniably better than
anything any automaker can provide themselves. I mean, CarPlay is probably
better in other areas, too, but it’s undeniably better for navigation.

Google Maps on Apple Carplay Google Maps on Apple Carplay
To get an idea of the difference, try finding your destination in your
BMW’s native navigation system, then again on Google Maps. If only one of
those two went well, you can bet your bottom dollar it wasn’t the BMW nav ūüėČ
With Google’s extra map data, you can find even small businesses by name, and
on the route, you’re likely to have more up-to-the-minute information about
road closures and other disruptions.

Sure, BMW’s navigation maps include points of interest and real-time
traffic information, but not to the same extent, or as accurately, as Google
Maps.

To keep your native BMW navigation accurate at all times, it’s best to
perform a BMW map update every six months. Want to have the latest BMW maps
for your region? Try out our simple USB coding.

Waze on Apple Carplay  Waze on Apple
Carplay
Many of Waze’s standout features have been absorbed into Google Maps
traffic information, turn-by-turn navigation and more. Whichever app you use,
you’re going to get pretty much the same data sourced from the users of
both.

But Waze’s interface is still driver-first’ while Google Maps caters just
as well to navigation on foot or by transit. For many people, that alone is
enough reason to go for Waze while driving.

TomTom GO on Apple Carplay
Less popular among CarPlay navigation apps is TomTom GO, a self-declared
premium navigation app. Premium’, of course, stands for not free,’ so you’re
going to need to pay $5 a month for the privilege of using it.

Is it worth it? Well, maybe. TomTom’s maps are packed with detail, which
can make it much easier to get your bearings in complicated intersections. It
also has a better understanding of highways, to make sure you’re in the right
lane heading into your exit.

Communication
Messaging and communication is another area where CarPlay excels, thanks to
its built-in Siri support. When using BMW Apple CarPlay, text messages can be
sent and received safely without taking your eyes off the road.

Communication
Of course, not everybody is going to want their messages showing up on
their BMW dashboard display. If that sounds like you, and you’re wondering
how to turn off messages on Apple CarPlay, you can check the Notifications
section of the Setting app on your iPhone. Apple lets you control which apps
can show notifications when using CarPlay, so you can switch off
notifications on CarPlay but keep them on your iPhone. Neat.

Messages on Apple CarplayMessages on Apple Carplay
Most iPhone users are going to be familiar with the standard Messages app.
Well, it’s no surprise you’ll also find it on BMW Apple CarPlay, and as the
default messaging option, it’s well integrated with the rest of the
system.

Siri can read incoming messages out to you, and you can reply with your
voice, too. In BMWs, you can even call up Siri using the voice control button
on the steering wheel, so it couldn’t be easier to stay in touch with people
while driving.

WhatsApp on Apple Carplay
The convenience of Messages is also available for other messaging services,
including the Apple CarPlay WhatsApp application. Like with Messages, CarPlay
will show incoming message notifications on your iDrive screen, and Siri will
be more than happy to read them out to you. If you don’t like Siri’s robotic
tones, you can always send and receive voice messages, too.

Some users find Siri doesn’t do quite as good a job with WhatsApp as it
does with Messages, but if that is the case, it’s not something that’s going
to make a big difference. You’re free to choose your favorite messaging app,
and between CarPlay and Siri, you know you’ll be able to use it easily when
driving.

ZOOM Cloud Meetings on Apple Carplay
Are you one of those high-flying executive types, with round-the-clock
conference calls with corporate HQ? Well, with BMW Apple CarPlay, being stuck
in traffic on the way to or from the office is no reason not to jump on a
quick Zoom call.

Understandably, in-car Zoom doesn’t offer everything you’re used to with
Zoom on your computer. No custom backgrounds here. But you can easily accept
voice meetings, for when business just can’t wait.

Parking and EV charging
As well as navigating to your destination, dedicated apps make it easy to
find somewhere to park or charge up your EV BMW’s battery.

ChargePoint
If you already charge your EV with ChargePoint, you’ve probably got the
ChargePoint app on your iPhone. And if you’ve got it on your iPhone, you’ve
got it on BMW Apple CarPlay, too.

Like the mobile app, ChargePoint for CarPlay can show a map of nearby
charging stations, so you’ll always know where to head to charge up.

PlugShare
To take your EV charging point game to the next level, though, take a look
at PlugShare. Their community-sourced map includes hundreds of thousands of
stations around the world, along with pricing and other information.

Best of all, it includes stations from different networks, including
ChargePoint, Tesla and (in Europe) Ionity.

SpotHero
All good drives come to an end, and when yours does, SpotHero is there to
help you find somewhere to park up on your iPhone and your BMW dashboard
display with Apple CarPlay.

Music and podcasts
BMW Apple CarPlay music apps are another popular choice. Who doesn’t love
turning the music up on the open road? And if you don’t. well, tough; CarPlay
might autoplay your music when you connect your iPhone to CarPlay anyway. (If
you’re trying to figure out how to stop Apple CarPlay from automatically
playing music, just search for CarPlay in your iPhone settings and disable
Allow CarPlay while locked.’)

Music and podcasts

If you’re not in the mood for music, there are plenty of podcast and
audiobook apps to choose from, too.

Spotify on Apple Carplay
Spotify doesn’t really need any introduction, and it shouldn’t be any
surprise that it’s also available through CarPlay.

It does everything you’d expect. Play a song, play the next song. It’s
Spotify, just in your car.

Tidal on Apple Carplay
Tidal offers something Spotify still doesn’t: lossless audio. Spotify HiFi
is on the way, but for now, fans of high-quality streaming audio have to turn
to Tidal to get their fix.

On CarPlay, both Spotify and Tidal offer pretty similar features, so which
you choose is going to come down to which you prefer using outside of your
BMW.

Learn more about streaming high-quality music in your BMW.

YouTube Music on Apple Carplay
BMW CarPlay doesn’t support YouTube, because watching videos while driving
is frowned upon. But YouTube Music? Go ahead!

The user base lags behind the big players in music streaming, but if you’re
one of its subscribers, you’ll have no problem with the YouTube Music CarPlay
app.

Stitcher
When you want to take a break from music, Stitcher’s got your back. As one
of the longest established podcast services, you’re going to find all your
favorites.

Stitcher was also one of the first CarPlay apps, and all that experience
has gone into producing a slick, easy-to-use CarPlay app.

iHeartRadio
Another radio and podcasting stalwart is iHeartRadio, and like so many
other major audio services, you can use it through BMW Apple CarPlay.

Pandora
Emphasizing the point that the greatest strength of the system is how many
CarPlay apps there are, anybody who doesn’t like iHeartRadio or Stitcher (or
any of the other competing services) can use Pandora instead.

Like with the music apps, you probably won’t notice a huge difference
between the CarPlay apps for each service they all do pretty much the same
thing.

Food
No list of the best CarPlay apps would be complete without taking a look at
the most important thing when you’re on the road: donuts.

The Dunkin’ appDunkin’
The Dunkin’ app lets you get your donut and coffee fix wherever you are. I
know what you’re thinking, it’s probably just a map of DD locations. Well,
that’s where you’d be wrong.

In a miraculous display of engineering, the Dunkin’ CarPlay app actually
lets you place your order from your BMW, then head over to pick it up. It’s
like the next level of drive-thru, and probably the single most compelling
reason to get CarPlay for BMW.

HOW MUCH DATA DOES APPLE MAPS USE?
If you like the idea of using all those apps, but have a voice in the back
of your head saying “hey, what about my data plan?” …well,
there’s no getting around it. Does Apple CarPlay use data? Yes. How much data
does Apple Maps use, or another app? It depends.

To access content in your apps, CarPlay uses your phone’s data connection.
So streaming music uses data, loading maps uses data. Siri uses a little bit
of data, too, so the more messages you have read out, the more data you’ll
burn through.

If you’re worried about it, there are some things you can do to keep data
usage down. Many apps let you download content to your phone, which you can
do before you leave home. Waze, for example, lets you download local maps for
your trip, so you won’t have to ask yourself how much data does Waze use.
Music apps also offer downloading, great for saving data and keeping your
music playing in areas with patchy mobile coverage.

Importantly, however you use CarPlay, you probably won’t be using any more
data than you would be using the same app straight from your iPhone.

HOW TO USE APPLE CARPLAY IN BMWS?
BMW led the way in offering completely wireless Apple CarPlay, so using all
the above CarPlay apps in your BMW couldn’t be easier.

In your iPhone settings, find the CarPlay section to pair your iPhone and
BMW. With that done, you’ll be able to use your iPhone’s Bluetooth to connect
to your BMW’s iDrive system any time you go out for a drive. Just use the
iDrive controller to switch from the standard iDrive menu to CarPlay.

Once CarPlay is activated, you can also use the voice control buttons on
the steering wheel to summon Siri, and navigate your apps with your
voice.

HOW TO GET APPLE CARPLAY ON A BMW?
But now it’s time for some bad news, and some good news. Compared to some
other auto manufacturers, CarPlay isn’t as omnipresent as it could be. While
some brands had CarPlay as standard, BMW was still locking it away as a
premium option, or even trying to charge a subscription fee for it.

The good news is that even if your BMW doesn’t have CarPlay from the
factory, there are plenty of BMW Apple CarPlay upgrade options to choose
from.

In newer vehicles, your iDrive might already have everything required to
activate CarPlay. A skilled technician can activate Apple CarPlay for BMW for
you in a matter of minutes.

How to get Apple CarPlay on a BMW
If your BMW isn’t already equipped with the required hardware, Autosvs’s
CarPlay MMI Prime retrofit for BMW is the market-leading solution. Offering
great integration with your iDrive system, both wireless and wired
connectivity options as standard and built-in Android Auto as well as Apple
CarPlay, it’s the easiest way to transform your BMW’s infotainment game.

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