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  • Car Audio Advice by Annie

Retrofit Apple CarPlay

Updated: Apr 16


Are you looking to retrofit Apple CarPlay into your vehicle? If you’ve recently driven a rental car or service loaner vehicle, chances are it was equipped with Apple CarPlay. Apple CarPlay provides safe and convenient access to various music apps, podcasts, GPS navigation and text messages while driving. It’s the kind of technology you never realized you needed until you experienced it.


If you’ve had the chance to use this convenient technology, you may be wondering if it can be added to your vehicle. Don’t trade your car in for a newer model just yet – in many cases Apple CarPlay can be easily retrofitted.


How to Retrofit Apple CarPlay to your car

There are various aftermarket companies that manufacture Apple CarPlay Retrofit kits. If your vehicle has an AUX input and a multimedia interface, commonly referred to as “MMI”, chances are there is an Apple CarPlay retrofit kit available.


Retrofit Apple CarPlay using an AUX input

How do you get Apple CarPlay through your vehicle’s AUX input? In order to retrofit Apple CarPlay, engineers have developed hardware designed to piggyback off your existing infotainment system. These plug-and-play modules, available from premium suppliers such as ZZ-2, Grom Audio and BimmerTech, enable Apple CarPlay to function through your factory radio.


Users first select “AUX input” as their media source on their infotainment system. The next step is to simply press and hold a designated button on the MMI controls (typically the “Menu” button) to launch Apple CarPlay. Once Apple CarPlay is activated, users can use their existing MMI controls to scroll through their various apps and make selections on screen.


One thing to keep in mind: because Apple CarPlay is functioning through the AUX input source, the features of Apple CarPlay – such as GPS directions and text notifications – are only functional when you are actively using Apple CarPlay. If you are listening to another audio source such as SiriusXM for example, you will not hear GPS directions or text notifications because you have switched audio sources from AUX input to SiriusXM. For drivers that use Apple CarPlay exclusively, this will not be an issue at all.


Retrofit Apple CarPlay using OEM hardware by Infotainment

For some vehicles, OEM hardware can simply be upgraded to add Apple CarPlay. This is a much more seamless interface for users because Apple CarPlay will function as if the car came equipped with it from the factory. However, this type of upgrade is typically more costly because of the use of original manufacturer parts.


Learn More

Whether you choose to go with an OEM hardware upgrade from Infotainment or retrofit Apple CarPlay through your vehicle’s AUX input and MMI controls, adding this feature is a great way to enhance your daily drive without the hassle and expense of upgrading to a newer vehicle. Contact an MES dealer in your area today to learn more.


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