Free and clear: BMW relents on charging for Apple CarPlay

December 5, 2019

Our editorial team doesn't agree on many things, but we were unanimous in calling out BMW for fleecing shoppers by charging a subscription fee for Apple CarPlay. 

"BMW still irks us with an $80 annual CarPlay user fee that begins a year after purchase," Editorial Director Martin Padgett wrote in his 2019 BMW X7 review. "It’s a chintzy equivalent to an ad valorem tax on devices we already own."

"Apple CarPlay is free for a year, $80 per year after that. Too expensive?" Managing Editor Aaron Cole asked, then docked the 2020 4-Series a point in his review.  

Prior to the $80 subscription fee, BMW in 2018 was charging $300 for the feature but only if equipped with navigation. 

We can stop our collective kvetching because BMW has joined most other automakers by offering Apple CarPlay as standard equipment, and it is now waiving the ludicrous subscription fee, BMW Blog first reported on Wednesday. 

The change applies to 2019 and 2020 BMW vehicles currently on sale in the U.S., BMW confirmed. 

“BMW is always looking to satisfy our customers’ needs and this policy change is intended to provide them with a better ownership experience,” BMW said in a statement.

For those current BMW owners still on the CarPlay hook, patience is advised. 

"Current BMW Apple CarPlay subscribers will, very shortly, no longer have to pay for a monthly or annual subscription," BMW spokesman Oleg Satanovsky told us over email. 

Android Auto users will need even more patience. BMW, along with Lexus, are the only major automakers still not offering Android Auto compatibility, and BMW has made no announcement about when it might be available.

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