BMW iPhone 5 integration

Recently Apple released the much anticipated iPhone 5, offering a larger screen, faster processor and LTE coverage. BMW and Apple have a strong partnership with Apple iPhone being featured prominently in concept cars and supported in production cars with ConnectedDrive and BMW Apps.

The new iPhone 5 hardware and iOS6 operating system has a lot of BMW owners wondering if they upgrade to the latest and greatest Apple product, what effects it will have on their BMW integration. Road warriors and weekend driving enthusiasts alike know that having a phone that smoothly interfaces with your car can make a big difference.

There are three key differences between it and earlier iPhone models that affect its integration in BMW vehicles. First, the physical dimensions of the body of the new phone are thinner and longer compared to the iPhone 4/4S. Second, the iPhone uses a new 8-pin 'lightening" connector in place of the traditional 30-pin connector and third is the elimination of the analog video signal.

BMW iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4/4s

The result of these changes is:
  • iPhone 5 is not compatible with any of the current snap-in adapters available from BMW.
  • The PlugIn feature as a means of accessing one's music library is not available on the iPhone 5. You are still able to access your music library using a USB cable. See the details under "Will I need an adapter to use my iPhone5?" section.
  • Watching videos stored on your phone on the car's screen is no longer possible.

Frequently asked questions about BMW and iPhone 5 integration

Can I connect my phone via Bluetooth to make phones calls, see my contacts and play music?
  • Yes
Can I still play music from my iPhone 5 in my BMW?
  • Yes, via the External Devices menu in iDrive.
Will I need an adapter to use my iPhone 5?
  • This depends on the options in the vehicle:
    • No, if you currently use an Apple "white cable" to connect your iPhone to your vehicle. In this case, all you need is the new Apple Lightning cable, included with your iPhone 5.
    • Yes, if you currently use a Y-Cable to connect your phone. In this case, you will need a "Lightning adapter" to connect your iPhone 5 to the Y-cable. See "USB vs. Y-cable" to determine when a Y-cable is needed for MY 13 vehicles.
    • The "Lightning adapter" is an adapter available from Apple to convert the old 30-pin plug to the new 8-pin connector or "Lightning cable". The adapter costs $29.99 or $39.99 for the adapter cable from Apple's website or retail outlet.
Can I use PlugIn and/or play videos from my iPhone 5?
  • No, the iPhone 5 Lightning connector does not support analog video, therefore making the PlugIn feature and video playback incompatible.
  • PlugIn and video playback are still supported when using an iPhone 4/4S with iOS 6.
When will the iPhone 5 Snap-In Adapter be available?
  • There is currently no timeline set for the release of an iPhone 5 Snap-In Adapter.
Is "BMW apps" compatible with iPhone 5 / iOS 6?
  • Yes, If you have iOS 6 (incl. iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5) and a "BMW apps" equipped vehicle can continue enjoying the same great app integrations, just as you did with iOS 5.1. This includes Pandora, MOG, Aupeo, Stitcher and BMW Connected.
Can I use Mobile Office with iPhone 5 / iOS 6?
  • With the release of iOS 6 (incl. iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5), Mobile Office is now supported for Text Messages and iMessages. This is available in cars with option code 639 / 6NL "BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth". Drivers will be able to see their text messages / iMessages on the screen, and can have them read aloud. ** Read-out of messages also requires Navigation.
  • Not all of the Text Messages / iMessages on the phone will be displayed in the vehicle. Only new messages received while the phone is connected to the vehicle will be available in the vehicle.
  • You will have to configure your phone as to activate this feature. Follow the attached directions to pair your iPhone 5.

USB vs. Y-cable
USB is offered standard on all 2013 BMW models, but the available functions differ based on vehicle equipment. Audio playback through the USB port is always included, but may require the Y-cable accessory in combination with an iPhone / iPod. The BMW Apps features are only available in combination with option 6NR "BMW apps". Some of the app features are accessible using the Apple cable, but video playback is only possible with Smartphone Integration (6NF) in combination with the appropriate snap-in adapter.

BMW USB vs Y cable

The Y-cable is needed unless the vehicle is equipped with 639 or 6NL "BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth and USB", which is standard equipment on all MY 13 5 Series, 5 Series GT, 6 Series, 7 Series, X5 and X6 models. On most other MY 13 models, 639/6NL is offered in combination with 609 "Navigation system" and/or in the Technology Package and/or as an option. Please see the chart below for more details about each model's Y-cable dependency.

BMW y cable dependency

Bluetooth comes standard on all 2013 BMW models, but again, the available functions are dependent on vehicle equipment. Please refer to your vehicle ordering guide to determine which options are available.

BMW Bluetooth functions

The new Navigation Professional system is available as SA609 on the following MY 13 vehicles:
  • 5 Series (incl. M5)
  • 5 Series Gran Turismo
  • 7 Series
  • ActiveHybrid 3, 5 and 7

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11 responses to Apple iPhone 5 and iOS6 integration with your BMW

swood02 commented:
December 1, 2012, 11:24 am

Nice job putting all this together. BMW should have done this long ago. Thanks.
krash commented:
December 1, 2012, 10:11 pm

This is excellent information.

I have a question though.

I'd like to continue to use my current iPod for music. It's old, but has ton of storage and virtually my entire CD collection on it. I can obviously do that with the USB connector. Correct?

I'd also like to use my iPhone 5 in concert with Bluetooth to make phone calls and see contacts. That doesn't sound like a problem either, right????

But my question is about BMW Apps. Can use them if I my iPhone 5 is connected via Bluetooth or do I have to be connected via the Adapter, or a Y or Apple cable?
tim330i commented:
December 2, 2012, 4:41 pm

BMW Apps only works when directly connected. As far as I know they do not work over BT.

rmjames007 commented:
December 3, 2012, 12:24 am

I guess I am still a lil confused. I have a E82 09 135i I have the 6FL So I use a Y Cable to connect my itouch to my Car. I have a few questions if some one could help me in relation to this that would be great.

Can you confirm from the article. If I get a 6th Gen ipod Touch I can used the lightening bolt to 30 pin adapter with the Y cable?

If i get a Iphone 4S Can i use the arm rest docking station for Bluetooth connection and My Audio connection (like the y cable?)

If so
can I get a 5th Gen Ipod Touch, Can I just used the Dock for the same thin like the y Cable?

Thanks anyone
tim330i commented:
December 3, 2012, 8:54 am

Can you confirm from the article. If I get a 6th Gen ipod Touch I can used the lightening bolt to 30 pin adapter with the Y cable?
Yes, that is the idea of the adapter.

If i get a Iphone 4S Can i use the arm rest docking station for Bluetooth connection and My Audio connection (like the y cable?)
I believe so.

If so can I get a 5th Gen Ipod Touch, Can I just used the Dock for the same thin like the y Cable?
I would think so but I cannot confirm this.

BimmerX5D commented:
December 4, 2012, 5:31 pm

Will both Y-cable and lightning cable charge the Iphone while it is connected?
soledoc commented:
December 5, 2012, 12:27 pm

Doesn't work with case on. Adapter won't fit.
soledoc commented:
December 5, 2012, 12:28 pm

This is frustrating. I'm not taking off case each time.
hockey-man commented:
March 23, 2013, 1:35 pm

Thank you for posting this information - extremely helpful. When we first took delivery of the 2013 328i, my iPhone synched perfect and I could play music. Now, music will not hunt continues.
rmjames007 commented:
March 26, 2013, 6:54 pm

Thanks tim

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Bimmer App
Scottytb commented:
October 16, 2013, 10:25 am


new connector will fit now