Buying a new BMW? No Apple CarPlay for you!

BMW car
BMW car (Image credit: BMW)

What you need to know

  • Buyers of new BMW cars might have to wait for CarPlay support.
  • BMW has switched chip suppliers due to shortages, meaning CarPlay isn't supported initially.
  • A software update is due by the end of next month that will add support for CarPlay.

Buyers of new BMW cars around the world are going to have to live without CarPlay support, although the company says that people will be able to take advantage of the feature via a future software update.

There is currently a worldwide shortage of chips required by manufacturers when trying to build their cars. In an attempt to make sure that cars can be completed, the German carmaker decided to switch suppliers according to a report by Automotive News Europe that was picked up by AppleInsider. That change means that CarPlay and Google's Android Auto aren't supported out the gate. But panic not, support will be added via a software update within the next few weeks.

"The chips built into these cars in the first four months of this year need updated software in order to be fully functional and offer Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Wi-Fi capability" BMW confirmed via a statement. The company says that people shouldn't have to wait beyond the "end of June" for a software update to be released, enabling CarPlay.

Notably, not all BMW cars will be affected and only those with production codes that include the string "6P1" will require a software update to add the expected functionality.

While this is all a little odd, it's a move that actually makes sense. People who have tried to buy a new car over the last year or so will attest to the shortage of vehicles, with some taking more than a year to be delivered. Reports of completed cars waiting for entertainment systems to be installed have also been seen, suggesting BMW did the right thing by getting its cars ready to hand to customers with the caveat that a software update will be required to enable CarPlay and more. That's surely better than waiting even longer for the entire car.

Apple CarPlay is one of the best iPhone features that drivers should all be making use of when on the move thanks to its hands-free calling, messaging, and mapping capabilities.

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.