BMW in early 2018 decided to charge BMW customers an $80 annual subscription fee to use CarPlay with their vehicle’s infotainment center after the first year of ownership, in place of the flat $300 upgrade fee it had charged previously. To say the least, the move was unpopular among BMW owners, as no other car maker charges such a fee.
In the face of this public relations backfire, the car maker is now changing its plans, as a BMW spokesperson told British car site AutoCar BMW will now offer CarPlay for free for the lifetime of the car on all models that have the latest ConnectedDrive infotainment system installed.
However, owners of vehicles that do not use the latest system, such as the i3 and i8 will still be required to pay a one-time fee in place of the annual subscription fee. Going forward, CarPlay will be available in vehicles with the new infotainment system.
The car maker will also be making the change in policy in the United States, a BMW spokesperson told U.S. auto site Autoblog,“BMW is always looking to satisfy our customers’ needs and this policy change is intended to provide BMW owners with a better ownership experience.”
As for BMW drivers that are currently paying for the CarPlay subscription, it isn’t clear if they’ll no longer be required to pay for the service, or if customers that have already paid for a long term CarPlay subscription will be reimbursed.