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Friday, 13 July 2018 11:39

How to Retrofit CarPlay into a 2016 or Older BMW

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Apple CarPlay lets you connect your iPhone to your BMW and use the iOS apps on the built-in display. You can listen to music, make calls, get directions, send texts and more — all while staying focused on the road. With the help of Siri, you can do all these things without taking your hands off the wheel. It’s a very useful feature that enhances your driving experience.


For BMWs, CarPlay is quite a recent thing. It’s only available for 2017 and newer models, leaving many BMW owners left without an option to enjoy it in their car. If you're interested in upgrading your older BMW with CarPlay, read on.

Here’s the complete list of compatible BMWs, provided by Apple:


2017 - 2018 BMW 2 Series e.g. F22, F23, F45

2017 - 2018 BMW 3 Series e.g. F30, F31, F34, F80

2017 - 2018 BMW 4 Series e.g. F32, F33, F36, F82, F83

2017 - 2018 BMW 5 Series e.g. G30, G31, F90

2017 - 2018 BMW 6 Series e.g. F06, F12, F13

2017 - 2018 BMW 7 Series e.g. G11, G12

2017 - 2018 BMW X2 e.g. F39

2017 - 2018 BMW X3 e.g. G01

2017 - 2018 BMW X4 e.g. F26, G02

2017 - 2018 BMW X5 e.g. F15, G05

2017 - 2018 BMW X6 e.g. F16

2018 BMW X1 e.g. F48

Adding Apple CarPlay to your BMW

The reason CarPlay is limited to 2017 and newer BMWs is that it requires the NBT Evo head unit with ID5 or ID6 software. In other words, your BMW needs the latest computer and operating system. Even if you have a vehicle from 2016, 2015 or 2014 with recent technology, your vehicle may only have ID4, or the older head unit, regular NBT.


To find out if your BMW is compatible with CarPlay, enter your VIN into our CarPlay compatibility checker.


If it’s available, BimmerTech can perform a software activation to enable CarPlay. In some cases, you might need to install an aftermarket WiFi antenna if your car does not already have one.


If CarPlay is unavailable for your vehicle, there are two ways to get it upgraded in your BMW.


Retrofitting Carplay with BimmerTech's CarPlay MMI

A simple and budget-friendly way to get CarPlay in an older BMW is with BimmerTech’s special CarPlay MMI (MultiMedia Interface).

Simply put, it’s a module that connects to the head unit and iDrive screen. In other words, it’s an extension that seamlessly integrates with the iDrive system. No one will be able to realize you changed anything in your BMW until you actually turn on CarPlay.

Plus, it’s a simple plug-and-play upgrade that doesn’t require any coding or won’t void your warranty.

Turn it on with the switch of a button on your iDrive controller or radio panel. It provides the same great CarPlay features you’d expect from a 2017 or newer BMW. The main difference between our MMI and normal CarPlay is that the BimmerTech MMI requires your iPhone to be connected with a USB cable to your BMW.

CarPlay MMI will also let you play videos from a USB thumb drive connected to the same USB socket used for the CarPlay connection.

It's also compatible with our Rear View Camera Retrofit allowing you to get a backup camera for your BMW for much cheaper with the CarPlay MMI.

It’s compatible most with F-series cars with the following head units:
ENTRY, ENTRYNAV, NBT, NBT EVO ID4, CIC (F3x only) and CHAMP2 (F3x only).

To accurately check your BMW’s compatibility, use our CarPlay compatibility checker.

Retrofitting Carplay with a Head Unit Upgrade

To get the full original CarPlay experience in an older BMW you will have to upgrade your head unit to NBT EVO with the ID5/ID6 software. While this is a more advanced upgrade, it comes with a lot of added benefits such as an HD screen upgrade, iDrive Touch controller, full coding from BimmerTech, CarPlay & BMW Apps pre-installed, and more.

A full head unit and software upgrade include:

Full FSC retrofit activation including Navigation, Voice Control, BMW Apps and CarPlay
NBT Evo head unit with ID5/ID6* software
High Definition 8.8" screen
iDrive Touch controller
All other parts required to perform the retrofit based on your car specification
Full retrofit coding
Latest maps for your region
DVD/Video-in-motion activation


If you're not looking for all the bells and whistles that come with the upgrade and just want CarPlay, you most likely will not need to upgrade the entire head unit set; your vehicle may already have some of the required parts such as the HD screen, allowing you to save even up to $1000. This depends on your BMW model and year — please contact us with your VIN for more information.


Many BMWs from 2016 or 2015 come equipped with NBT EVO ID4. Luckily, in this case, your car will require only one or two parts — the aftermarket head unit and possibly the ATM module.


Older cars from 2015, 2014 and 2013 with regular NBT (not NBT EVO) will require a different head unit upgrade but are already equipped with the needed 8.8” HD screen and touch controller.


Cars with even older head units (CIC, ENTRY, ENTRYNAV), require a more complicated upgrade — the entire NBT EVO ID5/ID6 set will need to be retrofitted.


Once your BMW has been fitted with the right parts, the only step left is to activate CarPlay. In the case of upgrading the whole NBT EVO head unit set, it will come with CarPlay already installed.



For detailed information and assistance on retrofitting Apple CarPlay in your specific vehicle, please contact us. We’ll help you choose the right upgrade kit to make your CarPlay upgrade simple and without any extra parts that you don’t need to install.

Read 38491 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 February 2019 14:34
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