When BMW decided to offer CarPlay in its vehicles last year, the company made the unusual move of charging its customers a monthly subscription fee for the privilege.
Though CarPlay is free for users at the point of purchase, baked into the iOS operating system and running off of an iPhone during a journey, BMW forced owners to pay an eye-watering $80 per year to use the feature if they wanted it in their new BMW vehicle.
It was the only manufacturer to charge a monthly fee for CarPlay access, and naturally it did not go down well amongst its customer base, especially considering Apple’s transparency in how CarPlay works, and how manufacturers only have to comply with the company’s software policies, requiring no ongoing investment, development, or upkeep on their side.
Before a monthly fee, BMW charged $300 as a one-time upgrade fee to customers, though again, many popular car manufacturers have offered CarPlay for free since its inception.
When will BMW make CarPlay access free?
However, given the ongoing negativity surrounding the charges, the company has now confirmed that CarPlay will be offered for free on all models that feature the company’s latest ConnectedDrive infotainment system.
Speaking to AutoCar, a spokesperson said that the majority of newer models will be able to access CarPlay for free, and those who don’t have the latest system (including the i3 and the i8) will have to pay a one-time activation fee.
Autoblog has also confirmed that the changes will be rolling out in the United States, with a spokesperson telling the blog that “BMW is always looking to satisfy customers’ needs and this policy change is intended to provide BMW owners with a better ownership experience.”
There’s no word on when current subscribers will have their subscriptions cancelled or even refunded, but it’s clear that the company is rolling out free CarPlay access very soon indeed.
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