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BMW’s Apple CarPlay System Malfunction Wasn’t Completely Fixed As Some Owners Still Don’t Have It

BMW's short-lived decision to charge subscription fees for CarPlay continues to haunt owners who keep getting prompted to pay fees to restore it.

Over the weekend, a technical issue affected some BMW ConnectedDrive features and knocked out Apple CarPlay in the process. While BMW confirmed to The Drive that they promptly pushed out a fix on Sunday, owners who spoke to The Drive say that no, the feature still doesn’t work. 

Apple CarPlay on newer BMWs has become the poster child for automakers’ push to bleed more cash out of customers by requiring them to subscribe to access certain features that previously would have been included. BMW briefly charged $80 per year or $300 for the life of the car to add CarPlay, but reversed that decision only a year later after considerable backlash to the idea. 


Based on what owners are saying, that subscription weirdness is still haunting the system—and frustrating owners who just want their phones to pair with their cars. 

“It wasn’t working for me since Saturday,” said The Drive commenter MadFunny Bruh. “Called them today and they told me that there is no ETA on fix and if I want, I can check with them in 48 hours. Did hard reset for the iPhone and the car’s internal settings and still no CarPlay.”

Another owner who wished to remain anonymous experienced similar issues: BMW said there was a fix, but his 2017 BMW 330i’s system wasn’t. He even paid for the $300 CarPlay lifetime add-on to the car, so in theory, it should be there even if the system suddenly thought subscriptions were still needed for CarPlay to function. 

Yet the 330i owner says he’s had a frustrating time calling the BMW Genius hotline for answers, claiming that he’s been given different information every time he’s called, and he’s called several times. One rep even told him that he needed a current ConnectedDrive subscription in addition to the CarPlay add-on in order for CarPlay to work, which isn’t true. Another representative thought it had been fixed, but was unsure. Another said it would happen “soon.” His last conversation with a BMW Genius told him that a fix was originally scheduled for Friday, but now that due date is to-be-determined. 

Even asking for his $300 back didn’t get a definite answer, as the representative he spoke with advised him to call back in a few days. 

So, we reached out to BMW yet again, in hopes of guiding people to the right place for a very frustrating issue. A BMW spokesperson advised owners stuck in Dead Feature Purgatory to reach out to customer care, writing to The Drive

“Although service has been restored for the majority of Apple CarPlay users, there appears to be some cases that require more personal attention. We urge anyone experiencing an issue with their vehicle to reach out to BMW Customer Care at 800-831-1117 so we can resolve it as quickly as possible.”

It’s clear that this is still a work in progress right now. No one likes paying for functions that aren’t usable, but in the meantime, that’s where things are stuck. The conflicting messages from customer service representatives over extra fees adds another layer of frustration, especially when owners are prompted for fees they already paid or didn’t need to pay.

Advocates of subscription services and features you can add on-demand argue that they’re meant to simplify things and make it easier to add features to your car, but that’s clearly only the case if they work.

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