It’s bad enough that BMW owners have to pay a subscription fee to access CarPlay on their vehicles (most car makers offer it for free), but now BMW owners report they’re having issues accessing CarPlay, thanks to a “ConnectedDrive” subscription service suffered an outage early this week.
The German carmaker has yet to comment on the reported outage, but U.S. owners believe the service became inaccessible when ConnectedDrive suffered an outage on Monday. BMW owners outside of the U.S. say they haven’t had access to CarPlay for over a month.
The BMW ConnectedDrive service integrates a BMW’s intelligent interfaces, smartphones, and other technologies (like CarPlay). It controls access to connectivity features, like Apple’s infotainment features.
Multiple reports found in a Reddit thread spotted by 9to5Mac appear to support the theory that if a vehicle can’t confirm payment of the subscription fee, a car’s network-connected head unit will not authorize access to select apps and services.
Some owners of older BMW vehicles not covered by the subscription service but which have CarPlay as part of a factory upgrade are reporting that they are also affected.
The German car manufacturer added CarPlay to its vehicle in 2016 and charged customers a $300 fee to activate the feature. Last year the carmaker revealed a new pricing structure that puts CarPlay access behind the paygate of a ConnectedDrive subscription plan.
BMW is one of the few carmakers that charge their customers for CarPlay access. Which is similar to how a Days Inn motel offers free parking and Wi-Fi, while a Hilton hotel charges a daily fee for both, in other words, it’s a rip-off.