Google unveiled Android Auto back in 2014, and ever since, vehicle manufacturers have been integrating support for the technology in their cars. The offering itself has evolved in the years, with support for wireless connections – albeit for a limited number of devices – arriving in 2018. However, one major carmaker that held out on adding support for Google’s offering was BMW.
That changed in December last year, as the company announced that it will be adding support for Android Auto in July 2020. With July almost coming to an end, BMW customers with cars running BMW Operating System 7.0 have begun receiving the update. Android Police reports that their car had to be updated from a service center. It is not clear if only select models need a visit to authorized service centers.
As announced last year, support for Android Auto comes only in the wireless form, and users cannot use the functionality via a wired connection. The service integrates with the entire digital cockpit, which means that apps such as Google Maps will be able to display information on the digital drivers’ display and the heads-up display.
While the addition of Android Auto is a welcome addition for customers of one of the world’s largest carmakers, there are a few downsides. Firstly, the omission of support for wired connections means that only a handful of devices from Samsung and Google can be used with the system. Additionally, the experience is reportedly buggy. The Android Police report adds that the phone lost connection frequently and there was a noticeable lag in switching between songs on Spotify.
Eligible cars include all models that are running the BMW Operating System 7.0 or newer. It is possible that some 2020 models – such as the new 5-series – could have shipped with support built-in. You can head to the Remote Software Upgrade menu in the car to search for upgrades - in case it is being made available via an over-the-air upgrade. However, if you do not see an update, you might have to get the upgrade installed from a service center. BMW has not provided the specifics of how the update is supposed to be distributed.