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Oct 20, 2020
Know your phone better than the back of your hand and would like to extend that convenience to other devices in your car? That’ll be child’s play with BMW screen mirroring — the easiest way to display your phone's apps on the iDrive screen without spending a fortune.
There are many upgrades enriching your car with a variety of features, but this one certainly keeps all tech comforts in one place. By casting your phone view onto the car screen, you’ll maintain the familiarity of your mobile device and get to have a broad range of the most popular iOS and Android applications at your fingertips (or even in your voice range). But how does this screen mirroring work? Is it enabled for all BMWs or only selected ones? Can you mirror wirelessly or only via cable? And which aftermarket modules offer screen mirroring? You’ll learn all about it and even more in this blog post.
The idea of BMW screen mirroring is simple. It’s a technology allowing you to project or ‘mirror’ the current content of your phone’s screen onto the iDrive display and stream audio through the vehicle speakers. When pairing up the screen mirroring module with your mobile device, you get instant access to your favourite apps, such as Waze or Google Maps, to help you navigate around the city, Spotify or Tidal to stream your playlists, or YouTube, so you can turn on a movie for your passengers. All in all it’s an exceptionally handy feature for both shorter and longer drives. Yet, depending on the screen mirroring device you have, you get to use several other functionalities that add to the pleasure of driving.
BMW officially enabled the screen mirroring feature for Android phones in cars with the NBT Evo ID5 / ID6 iDrive system — that is vehicles produced after July 2016. Ever since it has also been available as an OEM function in MGU head units. The year of production, however, neither absolutely determines the iDrive system version, nor the screen mirroring capability, so it’s important to check it with other means of verification. One way to do it is by decoding your VIN on our website.
Nevertheless, to have at least some knowledge of whether NBT Evo ID5 / ID6 might be in your vehicle, take a look at this brief overview.
|iDrive head unit||Vehicle||Production date|
NBT EVO (The Next Big Thing Evolution) ID5/ID6
|1-Series F20/F21||07/2016 – present|
|2-Series F22||07/2016 – present|
|3-Series F30/F31/F34/F80||07/2016 – present|
|4-Series F32/F33/F36||07/2016 – present|
|5-Series G30/G31/G38||10/2016 – present|
|6-Series F06/F12/F13||07/2016 – present|
|6-Series G32||07/2017 – present|
|7-Series G11/G12/G13||07/2016 – present|
|X3 F25||07/2016 – present|
|X3 G01||11/2017 – present|
|X4 F26||07/2016 – present|
|X5 F15/F85||07/2016 – present|
|X6 F16/F86||07/2016 – present|
Have an NBT Evo ID5 / ID6 head unit without the screen mirroring option for your Android phone enabled? With BimmerTech’s Android screen mirroring coding retrofit you can easily activate this super functional feature. All you need to do is make sure your smartphone supports the screen mirroring function and you have a WiFi antenna installed in your BMW. Remember though, the Android screen mirroring feature works only when the vehicle is parked, so if you’d like to use it while driving, you'll have to add the Video & Services in Motion option to your order, too.
Keeping your bored passengers entertained while driving is a very daunting task, especially during longer trips. Sometimes a good movie might be the best solution to comfort your fellow travellers. But how can you play it if the video in motion function is disabled from the factory? Coding the Video & Services in Motion feature will let you do it all.
If USB coding is available for your vehicle, you will receive the coding file by email after your purchase. What you have to do then is simply download the file onto a flash drive and follow the included instructions. If your vehicle needs a cable coding, we'll send one and you will need to schedule a remote coding session with our technician.
After only a few minutes of painless coding you’ll be able to play videos for your passengers on the road via USB or DVD (as long as your vehicle's already able to play videos via USB while parked). If you wish, we can also unlock additional services for use in motion, such as Office Messages, Online Entertainment, Bluetooth pairing or the User Manual.
If you want to know more about Video & Services in Motion read our blog post.
To those who keep asking us does my BMW have screen mirroring we simply answer — it most likely has the Android screen mirroring option, if your iDrive is one of the NBT Evo ID5 / ID6 Navigation Systems. But obviously if you happen to have an older head unit, you’re not excluded from having this function, as BimmerTech offers multiple kits that will retrofit your car with a screen mirroring feature. You can do it several ways by adding either: SmartView HD Apple TV 3, SmartView HD Apple TV 4 or Carplay & Android Auto MMI Prime.
First introduced to the market in early 2007 as a home appliance, Apple TV has come a long way, through considerable transformations. From a stripped-down Mac computer with a 40 GB hard drive, up to a device with the tvOS operating system and a Siri remote, Apple TV made it to the top of Apple’s most upgraded products of the previous decade.
But! Despite the constant upgrades, there was still no in-car version offered on the market. At BimmerTech we’ve decided to take on that project ourselves, and created vehicle-ready Apple TVs, giving many Apple fans the chance to enjoy multimedia, entertainment and screen mirroring features on the road.
Please note: Our products are based on original Apple TVs that are modified to allow in-car installation, with all the functions you’d typically have on your at-home device.
Our SmartView HD Apple TV3 uses both in-built, native apps, as well as screen mirroring functions. It basically means that you can benefit from your favourite iPhone multimedia as well as Apple TV movie platforms.
When screen mirroring you can:
Whereas, when turning on your Apple TV you may:
Screen mirroring over WiFi with SmartView HD Apple TV3 will be a perfect match for those who own iOS devices and don’t plan on changing them for Android phones, as Apple TV exclusively enables pairing iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. You can view the whole list here. Importantly, SmartView HD Apple TVs are built around Apple’s own hardware and wireless AirPlay protocols, which means any of your iOS devices should be fully compatible with screen sharing.
Like 3rd-gen Apple TV, our SmartView HD Apple TV4 uses screen mirroring over WiFi and offers many built-in applications. However, although both Apple TV 3 and 4 are pretty much the same device, what largely differs between them is the versatility and advancement level.
In addition to the features offered by SmartView HD Apple TV3, the 4th generation of Apple TV is much faster, has its own App Store with a host of entertainment apps and games, and unlike its predecessor, comes with the Siri virtual assistant. It also works on a dual A8 core processor and includes an improved remote control with a trackpad, which gives the users a great experience.
The installation processes of both SmartView HD Apple TV3 as well as SmartView HD Apple TV4 are fully plug & play, 100% reversible and might take up to 2 hours. In order to mount the SmartView HD ATV 3 or 4 in your car you will have to connect an MMI module to your head unit and screen — you can do it by removing all the trim that covers the head unit (face plate, upper & lower trim). The MMI and Apple TV will usually be installed behind or under the head unit. If there isn’t enough space, you can fit them near the glove compartment.
Need a clearer picture? Take a look at the video:
The ever-growing need for faster and enhanced connectivity of iOS and Android devices, and the popularity of digital in-car entertainment, made us create a significant upgrade of the BMW multimedia hub — CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime.
Our CarPlay MMI Prime & Android Auto MMI Prime are not just any solutions enabling screen mirroring of Apple and Android devices — they are a whole new experience of using the infotainment system in your BMW. These products are full of the latest features you can conveniently control with the iDrive controller or Siri voice control, and let you keep your focus on the road while still staying on top of your BMW’s tech information, messages and multimedia.
Some of the included features are:
When it comes to the screen mirroring functionality in CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime, the full-screen mode lets you cast the screen of your mobile device onto the BMW's display, and stream audio through the car speakers. If you own an iPhone, you can mirror it wirelessly, but your Android phone will require a USB connection and an additional free app called Autolink. Now, if you want to control the mirrored apps you’ll have to do it from your phone. Fortunately, CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime is an infotainment upgrade like no other, offering a broad multimedia library fully integrated with your whole iDrive system. What does that mean? It means that CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime contains an array of popular built-in apps including Whatsapp, Waze or Google maps that you can control in all sorts of ways — either from your phone, the iDrive controller or using the voice of Siri.
BimmerTech's CarPlay & Android Auto Prime upgrade is compatible with E-series and F-series cars — covering vehicles produced since 2008. Likewise, it can also be fitted to the newer and older iDrive generations (e.g. CIC, ENTRY, ENTRYNAV, CHAMP2, NBT, NBT EVO ID4, etc.). So, if your BMW meets these requirements, all you have to do is enter your VIN on our website and check the compatible CarPlay MMI Prime product for yourself.
When it comes to the installation process, mounting CarPlay MMI Prime in your BMW is completely plug & play, and no coding or permanent modifications are required. However, the exact procedure depends on which iDrive version you have. For example, with NBT type head units you might spend 2 hours installing it. You will need to connect the MMI module to the head unit of your vehicle, disassembling the trim and faceplate on your dash. All the necessary parts & wires will be included with the kit. You will also receive an installation manual tailor-made for your specific BMW model.
Have a look at our instructional video to understand it better:
On the other hand, while the installation of CarPlay MMI Prime for NBT and later head units is manageable even for DIY’ers with very little experience, the installation of CarPlay MMI Prime for CIC may be a bit more intricate for those who have just started their BMW retrofit journey. Therefore, if you’d need a helping hand, here’s a list of our installers who will handle the process for you. You can also watch the installation video to familiarize yourself with the process.
Still hard to decide which screen mirroring module would work best for your needs? Take a look at our product comparison to get a clearer overview of most important technical specifications
|SmartView HD Apple TV3||SmartView HD Apple TV4||CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime|
|Supported software||iOS||iOS||iOS and Android|
|Display standard||AirPlay support||AirPlay support||AirPlay or Autolink|
|Internet connection||Requires a Personal Hotspot or mobile wireless modem to connect to the mobile device and takes data from the phone’s data plan||Requires a Personal Hotspot or mobile wireless modem to connect to the mobile device and takes data from the phone’s data plan||
Produces its own WiFi network and screen mirrors iPhones via WiFi, whereas Android phones via USB
|Coding||Not required||Not required||Not required|
|Installation time||2 hours||2 hours||2-3 hours depending on your head unit|
|Mirroring method||wireless||wireless||iOS wireless,
Android via cable
|Video in motion||by default||by default||by default|
|VOD apps (Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc.)||available||available||not available|
As you know by now, purchasing one of BimmerTech’s screen mirroring modules not only provides you the option of screen casting but also an array of many built-in applications. Which ones are there in CarPlay vs. Apple TVs? Find out below.
As of January 2020, BMW CarPlay apps include:
Apple is adding new apps all the time, so to check the latest app lineup, please check the official CarPlay website.
Our Smartview HD Apple TVs include original Apple TV apps such as:
If you happen to have a SmartView HD Apple TV4 and don’t have some of these apps, keep in mind that you can always download them from the App Store.
The only way to watch those VOD apps is via one of our SmartView HD Apple TVs. Although our CarPlay solution offers screen mirroring, the DRM technology in most video streaming apps blocks their use when mirroring. So, the amount of apps that you’ll be able to mirror will be limited. Thankfully, YouTube may work.
NOTE: We do not recommend watching video content while driving. Any video options offered by BimmerTech are recommended for passengers’ use or drivers in parked vehicles.
It obviously depends on your primary needs. If you’re an avid Apple user and don’t see that changing any time soon, your best option would be to get one of our SmartView HD Apple TVs. That would also be a great choice if you’re looking exclusively for a video streaming device with a host of VOD apps and games to entertain your passengers while driving.
Yet, if you’re looking for a full upgrade of your multimedia hub, CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime is the product you’ve been searching for. It doesn’t provide you with any built-in VOD apps, however all of the most popular navigation, music and messaging apps are already there — along with screen mirroring for both iOS and Android devices.
Got a smartphone and an NBT Evo ID5 / ID6 head unit, but without the Android screen mirroring feature enabled? The easiest way for you to activate it is via quick USB coding. Again, remember that this feature works only when your BMW is NOT in motion, so to enabled it while driving, you have to additionally purchase the Video & Services in Motion option.
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