The German automaker has finally changed its stance.
Contrary to the rest of the automotive industry, BMW made the interesting decision to charge $300 for Apple CarPlay on navigation-equipped models. It then switched to an $80 annual fee after the first year (or $300 for 240 months). BMW explained that it charges for this feature because it was one of the only systems to offer wireless compatibility along with continuous updates to ensure it works properly as phones update and evolve. Using wireless CarPlay as the explanation for the $80 fee seemed like a reasonable explanation until Ford revealed its new Sync4 infotainment system, which includes wireless CarPlay at no cost.
BMW has taken a lot of flack for continuing to charge customers for Apple CarPlay and it seems like the German automaker is finally ready to make a change. BMW has confirmed to CarBuzz it will no longer charge a subscription fee to use CarPlay.
"We can confirm that this change does also apply to the US Market for 2019 and 2020 model year vehicles (equipped with Apple CarPlay) and that current BMW Apple CarPlay subscribers will, very shortly, no longer have to pay for a monthly or annual subscription," a BMW spokesperson told CarBuzz. "This process may take several weeks to complete for existing accounts."
"BMW is always looking to satisfy our customers' needs and this policy change is intended to provide BMW owners with a better ownership experience," they added. It appears that all new BMW models equipped with the latest generation of iDrive 7.0 (like the 2020 X7), will no longer charge extra for the ability to use CarPlay.
If you are a BMW owner who recently paid $80 for access to CarPlay, BMW Customer Relations will contact you via email with options. Customers can also log into the ConnectedDrive portal to check their Apple CarPlay subscription status. We feel this is a smart move for BMW as it finally puts the company in line with nearly every other automaker that offers CarPlay for free. Android Auto still remains forbidden fruit for BMW owners though.