Why Your BMW iDrive 7’s Apple CarPlay Might Not Be Working

As a potent amalgamation of technology and luxury, BMW has always been at the forefront, offering state-of-the-art features to its customers. One of the prime examples is the seamless integration of Apple CarPlay in BMW vehicles equipped with the advanced iDrive 7 system. However, it’s not uncommon for BMW owners to face occasional glitches where Apple CarPlay fails to work as expected. This article will guide you through the complexities of these issues and provide simple solutions to restore the functionality of Apple CarPlay on your BMW iDrive 7.

Is Your BMW Compatible with Apple CarPlay?

Before delving into the troubleshooting steps, it’s crucial to verify if your BMW model supports Apple CarPlay. For instance, models prior to 2016 might not be compatible with this feature. To check for CarPlay support, navigate through the following path on your BMW’s infotainment system: Menu > General > Apple CarPlay.

Identifying the Underlying Issues

There could be myriad reasons causing the CarPlay to malfunction in your BMW. Let’s unravel these factors and provide solutions to restore your seamless driving experience.

Is Your iPhone’s iOS Version Updated?

For the CarPlay feature to function correctly, your iPhone must be running on iOS 9.3 or later versions. The introduction of wireless CarPlay began with the iOS 9.0 upgrade. In BMW, Wireless is the exclusive mode for CarPlay, as older OS versions only support Wired CarPlay. Therefore, it’s recommended to keep your iOS up to date.

Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Siri Enabled?

If you’re having difficulty connecting your Apple CarPlay, ensure that Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Siri are enabled on your iPhone’s settings before restarting it along with your BMW unit. If Siri is still enabled on your iPhone, your Apple CarPlay should be functioning again. However, if CarPlay is restricted, you may have to navigate to “Settings” > “Screen Time” > “Content & Privacy Restrictions” > “Allowed Apps” and enable CarPlay.

Check Your Connections

Connection issues could potentially disrupt the functioning of your Apple CarPlay. If you’re connecting using a cable, ensure it’s either an Apple Lightning cable or an Apple certified Lightning cable. If you’re attempting a wireless connection and facing problems, you might have to reset your device’s name via “Settings” > “General” > “About” > “Name”.

Resetting the BMW ConnectedDrive

If all else fails, a reset of the BMW ConnectedDrive could be a potential solution. Here are the steps:

  • Put your vehicle in “Park” mode.
  • Press and hold the volume button for about 20-25 seconds until the screen turns off.
  • Press the volume button again to turn it on; the BMW logo will flash on the screen.

You might also consider a full reset, but be aware that this action will clear all your settings and data from the system, so it’s advisable to back them up first.

Updating Your BMW’s CarPlay Software

There might be instances where the problem might require a certified technician’s input or a system update. In such cases, contacting your trusted car dealer would be the best course of action.


While technology advances make our lives easier and more connected, they can sometimes bring their own set of challenges. This guide was meant to help you navigate through one such challenge related to Apple CarPlay on your BMW iDrive 7. With these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to resolve most of the common issues and enjoy your driving experience.

How do I activate CarPlay on my BMW?

You can activate Apple CarPlay on your BMW by navigating to ‘Communications (COM)’ on your iDrive screen, then in ‘Mobile Devices’, tap ‘Settings’ and ensure that Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and CarPlay are all enabled. Go to ‘New Device’, tap ‘Phone calls and audio’. On your iPhone, go to ‘Settings’, then ‘General’, and tap ‘CarPlay’. Select your BMW PIN from the menu, confirm pairing between your iPhone and iDrive screen. On your iDrive screen, tap ‘connect to Apple CarPlay‘ and wait until the setup is complete.

Why is Apple CarPlay touch screen not working?

A software glitch is the most common cause of a CarPlay touchscreen not working. This can be resolved by performing a hard reset on your Apple device. Go to iPhone ‘Settings’, then ‘General’, tap ‘CarPlay’, remove your car from the devices list, and restart the pairing process between iPhone and Drive.

Can I retrofit Apple CarPlay in older BMWs?

Yes, Apple CarPlay can be retrofitted in older BMWs in three different ways: Activating your Factory BMW Wireless CarPlay, retrofitting CarPlay with an extension that integrates with the infotainment system, or retrofitting CarPlay with a Head Unit Upgrade.