Adding Apple Carplay/Android Auto In F60 2017 Mini Countryman
So if you’re like me, you found a great deal on a 2017 F60 Mini Countryman. It has everything you want options wise…except it doesn’t have Apple Carplay or Android Auto. And now you’re researching to figure out if you can add it so you don’t have to spend $5k more on a newer model with the navigation package.
Google’s search results aren’t the best for this…hence why I’m writing this SEO-friendly Medium article to hopefully give you the answer faster than I got it.
Does 2017 F60 Mini Countryman have Apple Carplay or Android Auto?
No it doesn’t. Mini didn’t start including Apple Carplay and Android Auto until the 2018 models, AND they don’t offer a software upgrade for older models…I assume because they’re greedy and just want you to buy a newer model, but that’s just my capitalistic pessimism talking so maybe it’s for a legitimate reason.
Does my Mini Cooper need to have the touchscreen navigation package in order to install Carplay/Android Auto?
No, it doesn’t need it. The units I recommend below can be operated with just the xDrive controller. If you have a touchscreen navigation package, I’m pretty sure you just need a software upgrade from BimmerTech here.
What Mini Models does this work with?
The listing states it works with the F54 F55 F56 F60 aka all 2014–2018 NBT models.
What’s the difference between NBT and EVO units?
From what I can tell, NBT units are non-touchscreen older models with the smaller screen. The EVO models are touchscreen models with the wider screen.
Aftermarket Options To Add Apple Carplay and/or Android Auto To F60 Mini Countryman
You’ve got two options really…
- EXPENSIVE US OPTION — Bimmertech CarPlay MMI Prime Retrofit for BMW — $650 + tax: This is the safe options. I didn’t buy it due to the price, but it’s from a trusted source and I’m sure it works.
- WHAT I ORDERED — AliExpress Aftermarket Apple Carplay + Android Auto for Mini Countryman — $250: I found this unit via a YouTube tutorial and due to its price, I decided to give it a shot. While a lot of people don’t trust AliExpress, I’ve bought from it quite a bit and have always had good experiences. To be honest, most of the products on it are exactly the same as what you buy on Amazon, just with an added middleman and Prime shipping up-charges. Is the Chinese government stealing all of your data and using it somehow? Who knows? Does it work and cost $400 less than the US alternative? For sure.
Can I Install the Apple Carplay Unit On My Mini Cooper Myself?
Yes, you can. Just follow the YouTube Tutorial video here.
I’m a tech person and know nothing about cars, and did it without issue in about 2 hours — most of which was me pulling out cables super slowly because I was worried I was going to break something. The unit comes with everything you need aside from a T20 Torx Screwdriver.
That video tutorial pretty much covers everything you need to know. Here’s a few other tips…
- Watch this video tutorial on how to easily remove the head unit. The main video says it’s hard, but doesn’t point out that you can release the pressure easier with a screwdriver from up top like this other one does.
- You don’t need to include the external video cable that comes with the unit if your car already has a rear-view camera built in.
- I’d recommend getting some stick-on velcro or wall hanging stick and attaching the Carplay unit to the original unit on the inside. If not, the unit will just slip down into the abyss below. I don’t know what’s down there, and it may be okay, but my anxiety couldn’t risk it.
- It likely won’t require a software update. My unit worked right after I installed it, and I didn’t need to reach out to the seller for a separate USB software update.
Is Apple Carplay worth installing?
100% yes it is so worth it. Here’s why…
- Navigation: Your default screen is split between live maps navigation and the music that’s playing. If this was the only thing it did, I’d still think it was worth it as it improves the driving experience so greatly.
- Siri: Just say “Hey Siri” and you can talk like you’re talking to your phone. It directs to all apps, can start playlists, update your navigation, etc.
- Spotify & Other Music: Mini’s App connections are hard to even find, let alone utilize. This makes it so easy to navigate between music apps, find playlists, and more.
- Texting: First off, don’t text and drive, but with Carplay it’s way safer though. When texts come in, Siri will read you the text out loud and then record your response through the car mic, translate it to text, and send it.
- Wireless Connection: You just get into your car and Apple Carplay connects wirelessly. The UX is seamless and so satistfying.
- Once in a while, the unit doesn’t start up right away when I turn on my car and I’ve had to restart my car to get it on. Also, once in a while if I reverse too soon after I turn on the car, it goes to the regular interface after the rear-view camera shuts off.
- Using the xDrive knob for navigating the OS is easy, but definitely not as good as having a touchscreen. At $250 vs $2–5k more for a newer year or a model with the Mini Technology Package though, it’s a steal and still super easy to use.
I highly recommend the upgrade. Carplay is a massive improvement to the driving experience, and retrofitting your car is much cheaper than buying a newer model.