BMW Screen Mirroring - TOP 4 retrofits

Bianka Rommel
Aug 21, 2020

BMW screen mirroring

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. 

What is screen mirroring in BMW?

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.

What year screen mirroring appeared in BMW?

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.

subscription_banner

See how to find out what iDrive your BMW is equipped with.

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. 

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

Want to upgrade to NBT Evo ID5 / ID6 from your older head unit? Check it for your BMW.

Android Screen Mirroring coding

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. 

How do I play videos on my BMW screen? 

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.

How to retrofit screen mirroring in BMW?

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 Flex, SmartView HD Apple TV 3, SmartView HD Apple TV 4 or Carplay & Android Auto MMI Prime.

Apple TV in your car

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.

SmartView HD Apple TV3

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:

  • Stream high quality videos for your passengers
  • Stream music from your iPhone or iPad through Tidal, Spotify and many others
  • Use popular navigation apps such as Waze, Google Maps or Apple Maps
  • Check emails and surf the internet when parked

Whereas, when turning on your Apple TV you may:

  • Watch films and TV shows on Netflix, HBO, Hulu and others
  • View live sports
  • Check the latest news and weather

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.

SmartView HD Apple TV4

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. 

How to install Apple TV in your car?

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:

SmartView HD Flex

Screen mirroring is a very handy feature for all car owners who like to have easy access to popular navigation maps, music streaming apps or web browsers. But loyal Apple fans are not alone in the market for such convenient solutions. That’s why at BimmerTech we’ve created a SmartView product that would fit different kinds of operating systems — SmartView HD Flex.

It supports the screen share of iOS and Android devices but also phones and tablets running other operating systems with AirPlay/Miracast.

NOTE: The screen mirroring of some apps may be blocked due to the copyright-holder's DRM. BimmerTech is not responsible for the continued compatibility of any third-party apps with SmartView HD Flex. If you wish to use a specific app or content over AirPlay or Miracast, please make sure you are able to screen share it when buying the product.

What are some other substantial benefits of SmartView HD Flex? It enables screen mirroring of any device when the car is parked or in motion, provides a wireless connection and — unlike SmartView HD Apple TVs — generates its own wireless network that doesn’t demand any Personal Hotspots or modems taking data from your phone’s data plan.

Take a look at our comparison of SmartView HD Flex with SmartView HD (with Apple TV).

Occasionally though, SmartView HD Flex might require firmware updates to keep working properly. So, if you own a unit without the latest firmware, you can download the update from our website and follow these video instructions.

How to install SmartView HD Flex in your car?

The process of installing SmartView HD Flex is similar to the installation of the SmartView Apple TVs. You can follow Brian as he mounts it in his BMW F30:

CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime in your car

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: 

  • Wireless CarPlay capability
  • USB multimedia and charging port
  • Full-Screen Mode
  • Easy control with iDrive
  • Wireless Android Auto support
  • Integration with Front and Rear View Cameras
  • High-quality audio with an equalizer
  • Supports AirPlay and Miracast

 Get to know more about BimmerTech’s CarPlay MMI Prime.

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. 

How to Retrofit CarPlay & Android Auto in your car?

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. 

Want to know how to retrofit CarPlay into an older BMW? Check out our blog.

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.

Apple TV3 vs. Apple TV4 vs. SmartView Flex  vs. CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime

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 SmartView HD Flex CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime
Supported software iOS iOS Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows, Linux, etc. iOS and Android
Display standard AirPlay support AirPlay support AirPlay or Miracast 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 has 5GHz WiFi signal to connect to the mobile device

Produces its own WiFi network and screen mirrors iPhones via WiFi, whereas Android phones via USB

Coding Not required Not required Not required Not required
Installation time 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours 2-3 hours depending on your head unit
Mirroring method wireless wireless wireless iOS wireless,
Android via cable
Video in motion by default by default by default by default
VOD apps (Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc.) available available not available not available

What Apps are available in Apple TV vs. CarPlay?

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.

CarPlay MMI Prime apps

As of January 2020, BMW 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

 

CarPlay MMI Prime apps

Apple is adding new apps all the time, so to check the latest app lineup, please check the official CarPlay website.

SmartView HD Apple TVs

Our Smartview HD Apple TVs include original Apple TV apps such as:

      • iTunes Movies and TV Shows
      • iTunes Music
      • iTunes Radio
      • Beats Music
      • Netflix
      • Hulu Plus
      • HBO Now
      • HBO GO
      • Showtime Anytime
      • YouTube
      • Watch ABC
      • Fox Now
      • Watch ESPN
      • MLB.tv
      • NFL Now
      • NBA League Pass
      • NHL GameCenter
      • FX Now
      • A&E
      • History
      • Lifetime
      • FYI
      • Feeln
      • Watch Disney
      • Watch Disney XD
      • Watch Disney Junior
      • PBS Kids
      • PBS
      • Smithsonian
      • MLS
      • ACC
      • Tennis Channel
      • Red Bull TV
      • 120 Sports
      • WWE
      • UFC
      • Willow
      • ABC News
      • CBS News
      • CNBC
      • Bloomberg TV
      • WSJ Live
      • Sky News
      • The Weather Channel
      • Crackle
      • Yahoo Screen
      • AOL On
      • Dailymotion
      • Fusion
      • The Scene
      • VEVO
      • Qello
      • Vimeo
      • Flickr
      • Crunchyroll
      • Korean TV
      • TED
      • Tastemade
      • Young Hollywood
      • Podcasts

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.

How to watch Netflix, HBO, Hulu or Amazon Prime on BMW?

The only way to watch those VOD apps is via one of our SmartView HD Apple TVs. Although our Flex and CarPlay solutions do offer 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.

Which screen mirroring device is better?

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.

SmartView HD Flex, on the other hand, would be your go to option if you have an iPhone but would like to pair up with your family’s Android devices, or the other way around. This solution is definitely more flexible in terms of software support and perfect for those who are only looking for a  screen mirroring option.

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.

Take a look at all products comparison and choose the perfect one for yourself!


Comments
Rate this product
[[comment.name]]
[[comment.text]]
BimmerTech
[[comment.reviewresponse]]