BMW reverses its decision to make Apple CarPlay a subscription in the UK

BMW car
BMW car (Image credit: BMW)

What you need to know

  • BMW is to stop charging a CarPlay subscription in the UK.
  • The company previously charged £85 per year.
  • It's unclear whether this will be the case worldwide.

BMW has reversed its decision to charge customers an annual fee to access Apple CarPlay. At least, it has in the UK according to an AutoCar (via Cult of Mac) report.

While Apple says that it doesn't charge car manufacturers a fee to put CarPlay into their vehicles, BMW chose to charge UK car owners £85 per year to use CarPlay once their initial 12-month ownership period was up. That caused quite the outrage online, and now the UK arm of BMW is killing the fee off for cars that have the latest BMW infotainment system. Those with older cars will be able to get a discount on a lifetime subscription, according to the report.

Now, a BMW spokesperson claims, the system will be free for the lifetime of the car on all models operating the latest infotainment. Models that aren't, such as the i3, i8 and runout examples of the outgoing 2 Series and 4 Series, will need to pay £235 for a lifetime subscription - a £60 discount on before.

It isn't clear whether this is a move specific to BMW cars sold in the UK, or if users can expect similar sense to prevail internationally. BMW drivers the world over will no doubt be hoping that their cars woll follow suit, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.