BMW in early 2018 decided to begin offering BMW customers CarPlay access for a subscription fee rather than a one-time fee, requiring BMW owners to pay $80 per year to use CarPlay after the first year of owning a BMW vehicle.
No other car manufacturer that offers CarPlay charges a monthly fee, so this change was understandably unpopular with BMW customers. Prior to the subscription fee, BMW charged a one-time $300 upgrade fee.
Given the negative sentiment over the subscription charges, BMW is now changing its plans. According to a BMW spokesperson that spoke with British site AutoCar, BMW will now offer CarPlay for free for the lifetime of the car on all models that have the latest ConnectedDrive infotainment system installed.
Models that do not use the latest system, such as the i3 and the i8, will now require a one-time fee instead of the subscription access. Going forward, in vehicles with the new system, CarPlay will be available at no cost.
U.S. site Autoblog has confirmed that BMW is also making this change in the United States. “BMW is always looking to satisfy our customers’ needs and this policy change is intended to provide BMW owners with a better ownership experience,” a BMW spokesperson told Autoblog after being asked why the change was made.
It’s not yet clear when BMW customers who already pay for a subscription will be able to stop paying for CarPlay access, nor is there word on whether BMW will be reimbursing customers who already paid for a longterm CarPlay subscription.