iDrive USB & Cable Coding: What, Why and How

Anastasiia Husieva
Oct 20, 2020

Driving a BMW is not just the convenience of getting somewhere with comfort and delight. It’s a way of life - and when you choose to follow it, there are certain expectations lingering in the air. While BMW is pretty good at creating the right image as well as chic and classy design, it also encloses loads of cool features into the factory vehicle configuration … but keeps them locked (we all know why $$$). And that’s why there is a separate domain called BMW coding.

BMW iDrive usb and cable coding: what, why and how

What Is BMW Coding and Why Do People Do It?

Bimmer coding is tweaking and changing the configurations of different modules in the car you've already bought in order to unlock or remove certain features. For instance, it is possible to unlock BMW video in motion so that passengers who ride with you could watch a movie or YouTube (we don’t recommend drivers to engage into video watching while steering). You can also disable that pain-in-the-neck legal disclaimer that pops up every time you start the car. In fact, there are dozens of BMW coding options that let you customize your vehicle exactly how you want it to be instead of settling with the factory preset configurations.

And here comes the big question: will BMW iDrive coding void the warranty? The thing is that it doesn’t change the functionalities of the head unit or the configurations of your BMW in general. It’s not an aftermarket downpipe that you can try to install and accidentally break the hangers. iDrive coding just unlocks the features that were set up by the manufacturer right from the start without being activated.

Which BMWs Can Be Coded?

If your BMW has at least some built-in electric and electronic features, then there is hope :) As for how much can be done with BMW USB or cable coding, this is another story.

Firstly, there’s a wee bit a BMW coding service can do with a car older than 1995. So, the newer the vehicle is, the more various the possibilities are - meaning the year of manufacturing is the main condition. Secondly, it also depends on the software your iDrive has - older versions may limit the features you can get. Thirdly, don’t forget about the factory preset vehicle configuration - for example, if the car has a head-up display, then you can code it to have head-up turn signals. If your BMW doesn’t have it, then ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

Want to know what can coded in your car? Go to our iDrive coding page, type in your VIN and the website will show you all the available options for your BMW.

What Is the Difference Between USB & Cable iDrive Coding?

BMW Coding: Cable

If you wish to do some BMW F10 coding, F30 coding or any other model upgrading, a coding cable and laptop with an Ethernet port or external USB-RJ45 adapter can work their magic. Of course, special coding software for BMW (specific to certain series or models) and, preferably, relevant skills are needed to unlock the hidden functionalities (with BimmerTech, you will need only a Windows laptop).

Key difference: the cable coding is for any module - the whole car can be coded.

BMW Coding: USB

Another BMW coding tool, which is much easier, faster and less cumbersome than the previous method, is a USB stick with a specially coded file. You just insert it into the port in the center armrest or glove compartment (depends on the type of the head unit - BMW NBT, NBT Evo or CIC), and complete a series of actions (like turning off the car, locking the doors, etc.) that finish the coding process.

Key difference: USB coding is just for the iDrive (head unit).

Why BimmerTech?

Apart from the options mentioned above, there is certainly a BMW coding app, e.g. Carly, or forum that can help you do all the coding on your own. But if you have never had any prior experience in this domain, it is not recommended to tamper with the head unit or any car modul by yourself because if you mess something up, there can be consequences that your warranty won’t cover.

We, on the other hand, have a dedicated team of specialists who perform BMW remote coding via cable or create coding files for USB upgrades. The choice between those two options depends on the configurations of your vehicle - right now iDrive USB coding is possible for NBT, NBT Evo and CIC head units, while cable coding can be performed for the rest.

If you’re considering heading to an auto shop that provides coding services, we have several advantages over this option as well. You don’t need to type “BMW coding near me” and spend hours on search for the cheaper, yet not so far away location to go to. Instead, on our website, you just need to make a few clicks, and wait for the shipping which takes approximately 2-3 business days (in case of the cable) or several hours in case of USB coding (we send everything via email in the shortest time period after the order is made). You don’t even need to leave your home!

Do you need any more reasons to choose BimmerTech?

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