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Can You Add Apple CarPlay to a 2016 BMW? Expert Answer Inside

Apple CarPlay is a popular feature that allows drivers to access their iPhone’s apps and features through their car’s infotainment system. However, not all cars come with Apple CarPlay, including some models of BMW. If you own a 2016 BMW or older, you may be wondering if it’s possible to add Apple CarPlay to your vehicle.

A hand reaching towards a 2016 BMW's dashboard, installing an Apple CarPlay system with a plug-and-play connection

The good news is that it is possible to add Apple CarPlay to a 2016 BMW or older model. There are several options available, including activating the factory BMW wireless CarPlay, retrofitting CarPlay with a BimmerTech CarPlay MMI Prime, or retrofitting CarPlay with a head unit upgrade. However, it’s important to note that not all options may be available for every BMW model, and some may require professional installation.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple CarPlay can be added to a 2016 BMW or older model.
  • Options for adding CarPlay include activating the factory BMW wireless CarPlay, retrofitting CarPlay with a BimmerTech CarPlay MMI Prime, or retrofitting CarPlay with a head unit upgrade.
  • Professional installation may be required for some CarPlay retrofitting options.

Compatibility Check

Before attempting to add Apple CarPlay to a 2016 BMW, it is important to assess the compatibility of the vehicle. There are a few factors to consider, including the vehicle model and the BMW infotainment system.

Assessing Vehicle Model

Not all 2016 BMW models are compatible with Apple CarPlay. According to BMW USA, the following models are compatible:

  • 2016 BMW 7 Series
  • 2016 BMW 3 Series
  • 2016 BMW 4 Series
  • 2016 BMW 2 Series
  • 2016 BMW X3
  • 2016 BMW X4
  • 2016 BMW X5
  • 2016 BMW X6

It is important to note that even if a vehicle model is listed as compatible, it may require additional hardware or software updates to enable Apple CarPlay.

Understanding BMW Infotainment Systems

BMW uses different infotainment systems in its vehicles, and not all systems are compatible with Apple CarPlay. The following BMW infotainment systems are compatible with Apple CarPlay:

To determine which infotainment system is in a 2016 BMW, the owner can check the vehicle’s user manual or contact a BMW dealership.

If a 2016 BMW is not compatible with Apple CarPlay, there are third-party options available for retrofitting the system. However, it is important to ensure that any third-party products are compatible with the specific BMW model and infotainment system before installation.

Installation Process

Required Tools and Materials

Before starting the installation process, it is important to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here’s a list of the items required for adding Apple CarPlay to a 2016 BMW:

  • BimmerTech Apple CarPlay MMI Prime retrofit kit
  • Torx screwdrivers (T10, T20, T25)
  • Trim removal tools
  • Plastic pry tools
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Electrical tape

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide for adding Apple CarPlay to a 2016 BMW:

  1. Turn off the car and remove the key from the ignition.
  2. Open the trunk and remove the trunk liner.
  3. Locate the iDrive module and remove it from its mount by unscrewing the four Torx screws.
  4. Disconnect the iDrive module’s connectors by pressing down on the tabs and pulling the connectors apart.
  5. Connect the BimmerTech Apple CarPlay MMI Prime retrofit kit to the iDrive module’s connectors.
  6. Reconnect the iDrive module’s connectors to the retrofit kit.
  7. Mount the retrofit kit in place of the iDrive module and secure it with the four Torx screws.
  8. Replace the trunk liner.
  9. Turn on the car and activate the Apple CarPlay feature on the iDrive screen.
  10. Connect your iPhone to the car’s USB port using an Apple-certified Lightning cable.
  11. Follow the prompts on the iDrive screen to complete the setup process.

It’s important to note that the installation process may vary depending on the specific BMW model and year. It is recommended to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when installing the retrofit kit.

Software Integration

If you have a 2016 BMW and want to add Apple CarPlay to your car, you will need to integrate the CarPlay software with your BMW’s existing software. This process involves two main steps: connecting to BMW software and activating Apple CarPlay.

Connecting to BMW Software

To connect to BMW software, you will need to use a BMW-specific coding tool. This tool will allow you to access the BMW software and make the necessary changes to integrate the CarPlay software. One popular tool is the BimmerCode app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Once you have the coding tool, you will need to connect it to your BMW’s OBD-II port. This port is usually located under the dashboard on the driver’s side of the car. After connecting the tool, you will need to follow the app’s instructions to access the BMW software and make the necessary changes.

Apple CarPlay Activation

After connecting to the BMW software, you will need to activate Apple CarPlay. There are a few different ways to activate CarPlay, depending on your BMW model and the year it was manufactured.

If your BMW already has a built-in CarPlay system, you may be able to activate it by simply connecting your iPhone to the car’s USB port. If your BMW does not have a built-in CarPlay system, you will need to retrofit the system with an aftermarket CarPlay kit.

Once you have activated CarPlay, you can use it to access various apps on your iPhone, such as Apple Maps, Apple Music, and Messages, directly from your BMW’s infotainment system.

Overall, adding Apple CarPlay to a 2016 BMW requires software integration with the car’s existing software. By following the steps outlined above, you can successfully integrate CarPlay and enjoy all the benefits of this popular infotainment system.

Troubleshooting and Support

A person connecting an Apple CarPlay device to a 2016 BMW's infotainment system

If you’re having trouble connecting your iPhone to your BMW’s Apple CarPlay, there are a few things you can try to troubleshoot the issue. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your iPhone is compatible with Apple CarPlay and that it’s running the latest version of iOS.
  • Check that your BMW’s software is up to date. You can do this by going to the Settings menu on your iDrive system and selecting “Software Update.”
  • Verify that your iPhone is connected to your BMW’s USB port using a Lightning cable. Some third-party cables may not work properly with Apple CarPlay.
  • Restart both your iPhone and your BMW’s iDrive system.
  • If you’re still having trouble, try resetting your BMW’s iDrive system to its factory settings. Note that this will erase all personalized settings and data, so be sure to back up any important information before doing so.

If none of these steps work, you may need to contact Apple Support or your BMW dealership for further assistance. They may be able to diagnose and resolve any issues with your system.

Wireless CarPlay and Android Solutions For BMW

For BMW owners who want to add CarPlay to their 2016 or older BMW, there are a few seamless options. One of the solutions is the BMW exclusive car decoding module. This module offers a straightforward solution to add CarPlay and Android Auto functionality without compromising the integrity of the vehicle’s design. It requires no modifications to the original car screen and avoids any dismantling of the vehicle. The BMW exclusive car decoding module is a great option for those who want to add CarPlay to their BMW and prefer to keep the original screen.

Another option to add CarPlay to a 2016 or older BMW is to upgrade to a BMW exclusive joint screen or Android screen. This option promises a larger display and additional features. However, it does require the removal of the center control dashboard. BMW owners who opt for this solution can enjoy a larger and more advanced display.

For those who want to elevate their driving experience, the BMW AI Box is an excellent choice. It introduces a fully-fledged Android system to the car. This system allows for the use of a dedicated 4G SIM card, granting access to a wider range of software and the convenience of wireless connectivity. BMW owners who choose the BMW AI Box can enjoy the benefits of wireless connectivity and a more advanced Android system.

Whichever route one chooses, these solutions are designed to help BMW owners better choose the right product, ensuring that their BMW meets all connectivity needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to retrofit Apple CarPlay in a 2016 BMW?

Yes, it is possible to retrofit Apple CarPlay in a 2016 BMW. There are two options available for retrofitting CarPlay: activating your factory BMW Wireless CarPlay or retrofitting CarPlay with BimmerTech’s CarPlay MMI Prime.

How do I activate Apple CarPlay on my 2016 BMW?

To activate Apple CarPlay on your 2016 BMW, you need to connect your iPhone to your car via Bluetooth or USB. Then, go to the iDrive menu and select “ConnectedDrive.” From there, select “Manage mobile devices” and then “Add new device.” Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process.

What is the compatibility of Apple CarPlay with the 2016 BMW series?

Apple CarPlay is compatible with most 2016 BMW models that have the iDrive 5.0 or later system. However, some early 2016 models may not be compatible with CarPlay.

Can BMW CarPlay be upgraded to later versions in a 2016 model?

Yes, BMW CarPlay can be upgraded to later versions in a 2016 model. However, the upgrade process may vary depending on the specific model and the version of the iDrive system.

Are there any official updates for adding Apple CarPlay to a 2016 BMW?

Yes, BMW has released official updates for adding Apple CarPlay to some 2016 models. However, not all models are eligible for the update, and the availability of the update may vary by region.

What options are available for integrating Apple CarPlay into a 2016 BMW?

There are two options available for integrating Apple CarPlay into a 2016 BMW: activating your factory BMW Wireless CarPlay or retrofitting CarPlay with BimmerTech’s CarPlay MMI Prime. The retrofitting option may offer more features and customization options, but it can be more expensive than the factory activation option.

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