BMW Android Auto Retrofit: Enhance Your In-Car Experience Today

Understanding BMW Android Auto Retrofit

BMW has been known for focusing more on providing Apple CarPlay compatibility for its vehicles, which left Android users looking for alternative ways to integrate their smartphones. A common solution for Android users who want a seamless connection with their BMW vehicles is a process called retrofitting. In this section, we’ll discuss the concept of BMW Android Auto retrofit to help you understand its implications and benefits.

Retrofitting involves installing an aftermarket unit or device, to make a car compatible with Android Auto. Android Auto is a popular in-car infotainment system that brings the functionality of an Android device to a vehicle’s dashboard. It allows users to access navigation, voice control, music, messaging, and more without having to touch their phones. To retrofit Android Auto into a BMW, you would need to choose the right upgrade kit or device, depending on the car model and iDrive version.

One viable option for retrofitting Android Auto in a BMW is through an IMI-1000 upgrade kit. It’s essential to note that BMW themselves do not support OEM Android Auto, making a retrofit kit necessary to enjoy this feature. The IMI-1000 kit is suitable for BMW owners with an Android device, no matter the iDrive version they have.

Another option is to install a BimmerTech’s Android Auto MMI Prime, which is a BMW-specific retrofit solution. This system enables a seamless connection between an Android phone and the BMW iDrive system. It brings the best of Android Auto – as well as Apple CarPlay for iPhone users – to the car’s infotainment system.

Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto can also be retrofitted into a BMW, offering the convenience of a wireless connection to your smartphone. There are several options available, depending on your vehicle model, budget, and desired functionality.

In conclusion, if you own a BMW and want to retrofit Android Auto, it’s crucial to choose an appropriate retrofit kit or device for your specific model. Retrofitting not only enhances your driving experience but also provides a safer and more convenient way to access your Android device while on the road.

Android Auto Compatibility with BMW iDrive Systems

Overview of BMW iDrive

The BMW iDrive system is the central control unit for entertainment, navigation, and communication in BMW vehicles. Throughout its existence, the iDrive system has undergone several updates, introducing new features and compatibilities. Android Auto is an essential feature to have in modern cars, allowing drivers to access their smartphone apps and functions while on the go.

There are different generations of iDrive, including Entry, EntryNav, CHAMP2, CIC, NBT, NBT EVO ID4, NBT EVO ID5/ID6, and EVO iDrive. Understanding the compatibility of Android Auto with these various systems is crucial for BMW owners who wish to retrofit their vehicles.

The compatibility of Android Auto varies across different iDrive systems. The first breakthrough in compatibility came with the introduction of Operating System 7 (iDrive 7), supported by every BMW model with a Live Cockpit Plus or Professional. To retrofit Android Auto into your BMW, you have two main options: OEM Android Auto activation or aftermarket Android Auto Retrofit. If your BMW was produced after 2019 and has iDrive 7.0, you can choose the OEM activation option 1.

For older BMW models or those with the previous iDrive systems (such as Entry, EntryNav, CHAMP2, CIC, and NBT systems), an aftermarket Android Auto retrofit might be the only viable option. A popular choice is the BimmerTech CarPlay MMI Prime Retrofit, which supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 2.

Regardless of the iDrive system installed in your BMW, it’s always essential to verify compatibility with Android Auto before investing in a retrofit. Always consult a professional and reliable source, such as BMW dealerships or certified retrofit specialists, to ensure the proper integration of Android Auto into your vehicle.

Comparison of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both advanced car infotainment systems designed to enhance the convenience, safety, and enjoyment of driving. They provide seamless integration between the vehicle’s native system and the driver’s smartphone to offer a robust array of features and apps.

Apple CarPlay is designed for iPhone users running iOS 7.1 or newer. It enables them to display their phone’s content on the car’s infotainment screen, making navigation, messaging, phone calls, and streaming music easier. Apple CarPlay is compatible with most BMW models that come with Live Cockpit Plus or Professional running on Operating System 7 (iDrive 7) source. It can be used wirelessly with iPhones running iOS 9 or newer.

On the other hand, Android Auto was created for Android devices running version 8.0 or newer, offering a similar suite of features as Apple CarPlay. Android Auto’s wireless feature is available for devices running Android 11.0 or newer. Retrofitting Android Auto into your BMW can be done through the BimmerTech CarPlay MMI Prime Retrofit, which also supports Apple CarPlay source.

Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offer a user-friendly and customizable interface, making the driving experience more enjoyable and less distracting. They incorporate voice controls, with Apple CarPlay using Siri and Android Auto using Google Assistant, allowing drivers to focus on the road while accessing apps, messaging, and navigation.

Apple CarPlay has a closed ecosystem, which means it is limited to specific apps approved by Apple, while Android Auto offers a wider range of third-party app compatibility source. Both systems offer popular navigation apps, with Apple CarPlay using Apple Maps as the default and Android Auto utilizing Google Maps. Users can also access different music and radio apps, like Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music.

In conclusion, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide a tailored and convenient driving experience for iPhone and Android users respectively. Compatibility with most BMW models ensures that drivers have access to an enjoyable and secure infotainment system while on the road.

Wireless Connection Alternatives

When considering a BMW Android Auto retrofit, there are various wireless connection alternatives for a seamless experience. One option is integrating an Android device with a BMW through the BMW Connected app. This app’s functionality may differ depending on the phone and car model, which could lead to connectivity issues or bugs. However, it remains a viable choice for some users.

Bluetooth is another widely used method for establishing a wireless connection between an Android device and a BMW. This technology allows users to stream audio, make calls, and access other essential features without the need for cables. With proper support and software updates, this can be a reliable solution for many BMW owners.

Apart from the BMW Connected app and Bluetooth, there are dedicated wireless adapters designed to support both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. One popular choice is the OttoCast U2-X Wireless CarPlay/Android Auto 2 in 1 Adapter, which can transform a wired connection into a wireless one. This adapter is compatible with most cars that support Android Auto or CarPlay.

Another great option for retrofitting wireless Android Auto or CarPlay is the BimmerTech CarPlay MMI Prime Retrofit. This solution works for both Android and Apple users and is an efficient way to integrate these systems into your BMW.

In summary, various wireless connection options exist to retrofit Android Auto into a BMW. Users can choose from the BMW Connected app, Bluetooth, or dedicated wireless adapters depending on their car model, phone compatibility, and desired functionality.

Characteristics of Aftermarket Android Auto Retrofit

Aftermarket Android Auto retrofits provide a convenient solution for BMW owners looking to integrate Android Auto into their vehicles. One such solution is the Android Auto MMI Prime, a reliable retrofit option designed specifically for BMW cars. The retrofit offers a seamless user experience, allowing drivers to enjoy the benefits of Android Auto without the need for complicated installations or lengthy updates.

The Android Auto MMI Prime features wireless connectivity, making it easy for drivers to connect their Android devices without the need for cables. This eliminates clutter within the car and ensures a clean setup. The retrofit is designed to integrate with BMW’s existing iDrive system, allowing drivers to control Android Auto using the car’s factory controls, such as the iDrive knob and steering wheel buttons.

In addition to Android Auto, the MMI Prime also offers support for the AutoLink app. The AutoLink app enables drivers to access various Android apps and streaming services directly from their vehicle’s infotainment system. This enhances the overall driving experience, as users can easily access their favorite music, navigate roads with real-time traffic updates, and even send messages without taking their eyes off the road.

The aftermarket Android Auto retrofit offers compatibility with a wide range of BMW models, making it a suitable choice for many drivers. It’s essential to ensure that the retrofit is compatible with your specific BMW model before making a purchase. The installation process is relatively straightforward, often requiring a simple plug-and-play solution and, in some cases, professional support.

In summary, aftermarket Android Auto retrofit options like the Android Auto MMI Prime provide a hassle-free way for BMW owners to enhance their vehicle’s infotainment capabilities. With wireless connectivity, seamless integration with iDrive, support for the AutoLink app, and compatibility with many BMW models, these aftermarket solutions offer a valuable upgrade for drivers looking to enjoy the benefits of Android Auto in their BMW.

How to Use Android Auto with BMW

Android Auto allows users to access various Android applications safely and hands-free through the BMW’s infotainment system. To begin using Android Auto with your BMW, you will need a compatible Android smartphone and a USB cable for initial setup.

First, connect your Android phone to your BMW using the USB cable. For wireless Android Auto, follow the on-screen prompts on the iDrive system to establish a connection. If your BMW does not have native support for Android Auto, you may consider a retrofit solution.

Once your phone is connected, Android Auto will display a simplified interface on the iDrive screen to provide easy access to several phone apps, such as Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, Tidal, YouTube Music, Audible, and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Google Messages.

You can control Android Auto features using the iDrive controller, steering wheel buttons, or voice control via Google Assistant. To initiate voice control, press and hold the voice command button on the steering wheel and say commands, such as “Play Spotify” or “Navigate to the nearest gas station.”

For navigation, you can use Google Maps or Waze, which will provide real-time traffic updates, alternate routes, and turn-by-turn directions. To utilize music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, or YouTube Music, simply select the desired app from the Android Auto interface.

Managing phone calls and messaging with Android Auto is simple as well. Incoming calls can be answered or rejected using the steering wheel buttons, while outgoing calls can be initiated through Google Assistant. Voice control enables hands-free messaging by simply dictating your message and recipient to Google Assistant, which then sends the message through apps like WhatsApp or Google Messages.

Please note that not all Android applications are compatible with Android Auto. However, the selection of available applications covers a range of functions to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable.

Remember to always focus on safe driving while using Android Auto. Use voice control whenever possible to minimize distractions, and avoid using your phone directly when the vehicle is in motion.

Screen Settings on Android Auto

Screen mirroring is a feature that allows you to project your smartphone’s display onto the car dashboard. This can be done wirelessly or through a USB cable. In a BMW Android Auto retrofit, screen mirroring allows users to enjoy their Android applications on the larger dashboard display for ease of use and better viewing experience.

Full-screen mode is another valuable feature of Android Auto, which enables users to maximize the view of their Android Auto applications on the dashboard display. This feature permits a seamless look and additional comfort when using the car’s infotainment system. By entering the full-screen mode on Android Auto, users have the advantage of a more immersive experience and less distraction while driving.

The dashboard display plays a pivotal role in the integration of Android Auto into a BMW vehicle. The retrofit process ensures compatibility between the vehicle’s native iDrive system and Android Auto by upgrading the dashboard display with the necessary software and hardware components. The revamped dashboard display serves as the interface that connects the smartphone to the vehicle’s infotainment system, allowing users to access essential functions like navigation, phone calls, and music streaming.

To optimize the user experience, Android Auto offers various customization options for the dashboard display. Users can modify their preferences on the display layout, font size, and color themes, catering to individual needs and tastes. This level of personalization allows users to create a driving environment that is both efficient and visually appealing, enhancing the overall Android Auto experience in a BMW vehicle.

In conclusion, screen settings on Android Auto play a vital role in enhancing the user experience with a BMW Android Auto retrofit. With features like screen mirroring, full-screen mode, and customizable dashboard display options, drivers can have a seamless and enjoyable in-car experience with their Android smartphones integrated into the car’s infotainment system.

Navigation and Entertainment Features

BMW vehicles offer a variety of navigation and entertainment features, which significantly enhance the driving experience. The inclusion of Android Auto retrofit in BMWs allows drivers to access a range of functions seamlessly through their vehicle’s multimedia interface.

The navigation system available in BMW vehicles is highly accurate and user-friendly. Drivers can make use of voice commands or the iDrive controller to input destinations, view real-time traffic updates, and receive turn-by-turn directions. With the Android Auto retrofit, BMW drivers can also access Google Maps, providing even more options for route guidance and destination search.

Entertainment options in BMW vehicles are vast, enabling drivers and passengers to enjoy their favorite music, podcasts, and more effortlessly. BMW connects with devices supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, giving users access to a vast selection of music and podcast apps, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Stitcher. The multimedia interface is intuitive and visually appealing, making it simple for users to navigate through various options and select desired content.

BMW’s connected interface allows drivers to enjoy their favorite podcasts, satisfying their cravings for knowledge and entertainment during long drives. Stitcher integration enables easy access to thousands of shows on various topics, catering to different interests. Moreover, Android Auto retrofit also supports other popular podcasting apps like Google Podcasts and Pocket Casts, ensuring that drivers have a wide range of options to choose from.

In conclusion, BMW vehicles with Android Auto retrofit provide drivers with a comprehensive and user-friendly navigation and entertainment experience. The seamless integration of various multimedia applications, together with a visually appealing interface, ensures that drivers can effortlessly enjoy their favorite music, podcasts, and more, all while safely navigating the roads.

Wired Connection and Charging Options

When retrofitting Android Auto into a BMW vehicle, one of the important considerations is the availability of wired connections for both data transfer and charging. A wired connection can bring additional reliability and benefits to your BMW Android Auto setup.

A common method for connecting Android Auto to a BMW is through the car’s USB port. These ports are often found in the center console or glove box and provide a simple plug and play option for users. By connecting your Android device to the USB port, you can access Android Auto’s features on your car’s infotainment system, while also charging your device.

If your BMW does not have a built-in USB charging port or it is not compatible with Android Auto, there are aftermarket solutions available. One popular option is to use a dedicated charging port adapter that plugs into the car’s power socket. This adapter will allow you to connect your Android device to the car’s infotainment system using a USB cable, providing a seamless connection and charging solution.

Some BMW Android Auto retrofit options, such as the one offered by BimmerTech, provide both wireless connection and wired connection via a USB cable. This can offer increased flexibility and compatibility for users with different expectations and requirements.

In summary, a wired connection for Android Auto retrofit on a BMW offers users a more stable and reliable connection, while also providing the added convenience of charging their phone while driving. By using an existing USB port, or by installing aftermarket adapters, BMW owners can enjoy all the benefits Android Auto has to offer, with the added peace of mind that a wired connection can bring.

Applicable BMW Models for Android Auto Retrofit

There are a variety of BMW models that can be retrofitted with Android Auto to enhance their infotainment systems. Starting with the 1 Series and 2 Series, owners of these BMWs, especially those built after 2020, should not face significant issues as they upgrade their vehicles with Android Auto. This is equally applicable to the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series; particularly, the 2019 models onwards are well-suited for Android Auto integration.

Moving to the higher series, the BMW 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, and 8 Series can also be retrofitted with Android Auto. BMW has made sure that these luxury vehicles provide excellent compatibility with their well-equipped iDrive systems. Similarly, owners of BMW X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 models are in luck, as these models, especially those with Live Cockpit Professional from 2019 onwards, offer suitable compatibility for Android Auto.

BMW’s sporty Z4 roadsters and MINI models are not left behind, as they can also be updated with Android Auto to improve their infotainment experience. Just as with other BMW models, Android Auto retrofitting is most compatible with the BMW Z4 from 2019 onwards.

When it comes to more specific model series, such as the F-Series, G-Series, and E-Series, it is essential to check the compatibility based on their production years and iDrive systems. Later models of G-Series BMWs typically provide better compatibility with Android Auto and are more straightforward to retrofit.

In conclusion, a wide range of BMW models, from the 1 Series to the 8 Series, X models, Z4, and even MINI, can be retrofitted with Android Auto for an enhanced driving experience. Refer to the specific model’s production year and iDrive system to ensure the best possible compatibility during retrofitting.

Additional Features with Android 11

The integration of Android Auto in BMW vehicles brings several benefits, particularly for users with devices running Android 11. This version of Android offers enhancements that improve the user experience and overall functionality of Android Auto in a BMW.

Wireless Connectivity

One major advantage of Android 11 is wireless support for Android Auto. This allows users to connect their smartphones to their BMW’s infotainment system without the need for a USB cable – providing a seamless and clutter-free experience.

Improved User Interface

Android 11 introduces a redesigned user interface for Android Auto. The new UI is more intuitive and user-friendly, making it easier to navigate through various apps and settings while driving. This is facilitated by the large and clear touchscreen displays found in most modern BMW vehicles.

App Categories

In addition to the improved interface, Android 11 also provides better organization of apps by categorizing them according to their function. This means that users can easily access their preferred music, navigation, or communication apps without having to scroll through a long list of options.

Enhanced Voice Assistant

Google Assistant, the voice control feature that enables users to perform various tasks hands-free, has also seen improvements in Android 11. Users can now enjoy better voice recognition, more accurate responses, and the ability to control a wider range of in-car functions such as climate control and navigation settings.

In conclusion, Android 11 brings notable enhancements to the Android Auto experience in BMW vehicles. The combination of wireless connectivity, an improved user interface, better app organization, and a more powerful voice assistant make for a more enjoyable and efficient driving experience.

Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996. I began my automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership in Munich. With years of experience and dedication, I garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW and MINI vehicles. The love/hate relationship with the brand led me to found BIMMERIST where I share expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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