Why is everybody getting excited about having Android Auto in BMW? For years we have tried to keep our mobile phones and our cars separate.
For safety reasons, it was always best to keep your phone out of sight to stop yourself from using it when driving. But it was only a matter of time before our mobile technology infiltrated our vehicles.
Before we start going into the details about the Android Auto BMW now offers, it’s important to understand that this new technology is not intended to be a source of entertainment in your car. Using Google Assistant to find your kid’s favorite Peppa Pig episode was not what the designers had in mind.
Instead, this is a tool for what is now known as infotainment and a very useful one. It’s the latest method to access your GPS navigation app, catch up on the world news, or to access music and select your favorite song without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes of the road.
A brief history of Android Auto
Way back in 2015, a well-known rival of Android released their version of an infotainment system for BMW – it was Apple CarPlay integration. Surprisingly, it took a few years for Android to catch up.
The much-anticipated news regarding the availability of Android auto on BMW was that the wait would soon be over. The wait for BMW Android Auto 2020 will end in July. BMWs featuring the latest 7.0 iDrive Operating System will be able to receive Android Auto upgrades over the air.
What can I do with Android Auto for BMW?
The main idea of the Android Auto infotainment system is to provide a service where people are able to use the features of their Android phone without actually using your smartphone. Some of the best features will enable you to:
- Take advantage of real-time GPS with an accurate ETA and travel alerts with Google Maps or Waze;
- Use voice control commands to answer the phone with Google Assistant;
- Send and receive SMS messaging, use other messaging apps or other social media messages with Google Assistant;
- Listen to the music of your choice;
- Listen to internet radio and podcasts;
- Catch up with current affairs with your preferred news app;
- See what is happening on your calendar;
- Find out the latest weather reports.
There is actually an amazing array of things you can do with Android Auto BMW with access to over 200 apps such as Spotify, Messenger, Play Books, etc.
How Do I Use Android Auto for BMW?
So that you can safely drive without taking your eyes off the road and having to use your smartphone, there are four principal ways to use Android Auto.
By using Google Assistant
You can start by touching the voice button on your steering wheel or by saying “OK Google”. Then, you can use Google Assistant in the same way as you would from your smartphone, whether that’s to make a phone call or set your directions.
By using your steering wheel controls
These buttons will let you adjust the volume, activate Google Assistant, and switch between songs or menu options. All the while you will still have complete control of the steering wheel.
Through iDrive Controller
You can navigate around the Android Auto menu by tilting, turning, and pressing the iDrive wheel.
Using the touchscreen
The built-in touchscreen in your BMW will allow you to access all of the apps available from Android Auto.
How do I connect to Android Auto for BMW?
Perhaps it was worth the wait. BMW Group is one of the few car manufacturers that feature a plug-free connection for its infotainment system. Rather than having to rely on Bluetooth, you will be able to connect using the wi-fi that comes with iDrive.
Either download the Android Auto app via a wireless connection or you can connect your smartphone to your car’s built-in system with a USB to download the app. If you are running Android 10.0, the Android Auto app is already built-in.
You can download the Android Auto app from the Google Play Store.
What phones will be compatible with BMW Android Auto 2020
When choosing the wireless option, you are slightly limited with compatibility at the moment:
- Android 8.0 or higher- Google Pixel, Pixel 2, Pixel 3, and their XL versions, Nexus 5X or 6P;
- Android 9.0 or higher- Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S10, and their + versions, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 9, and 10;
- Android 10.0 or higher- Pixel 4 or Pixel 4XL.
For a wider range of options, it is a fact that you will be better off with a USB connection. In this case, you can run any smartphone brand as long as you are running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.
That being said, you will have better results with Android Auto in BMW if you are using the 6.0 (Marshmallow) or higher version.
Which BMW cars will be compatible with Android Auto 2020
Again, it will depend on whether you are choosing the wireless option or USB connection. You will be able to use Android Auto in all cars that have BMW’s iDrive software (7.0 version). It will also be available in all of the 2019/2020 BMWs with Live Cockpit Professional (the new largest touchscreens).
- 3 Series sedans;
- 4 Series convertible/coupe;
- 5 Series sedans;
- 7 Series sedans;
- 8 Series sedans;
- X3 SUV;
- X5 SUV;
- X7 SUV;
- 2020’s X6 SUV;
- Mini Clubman and Countryman.
Before downloading the Android Auto app, you can check your car’s compatibility here.
BMW Android Auto for cars that aren’t compatible
Not every car is going to be able to run this infotainment system. So, for example, Android Auto BMW F30 will need to look at an alternative solution.
If your car doesn’t come up on the list of compatible cars, you can purchase Bimmertech’s MMI Prime Retrofit. This Multi-Media Interface will allow you to enjoy all of the features of the BMW Android Auto with older BMWs.
Don’t worry, this is not a hack or illegal! MMI Prime has been specifically designed for BMWs that are not compatible with Android Auto.
So, Android Auto in BMW is becoming a reality and many will be sighing with relief that this day is finally coming. It will be worth the wait!
Android Auto BMW will bring a whole new level of sophistication to your driving experience while maintaining the utmost safety. While not every Android phone or BMW will be compatible, there are retrofits available so that more of us can enjoy this infotainment system.
Take a look at the following articles to find suitable head units for your BMW model:
- Best Android Auto head units for BMW E46 (1997-2006 BMW 3 Series)
- Best Android Auto head units for BMW E90 (2004-2013 BMW 3 Series)
- Best Android Auto head units for BMW F30 (2013-2929 BMW 3 Series)
- Best affordable Android Auto head units
- Best 2-DIN CarPlay head units
- Most affordable CarPlay head units