Apple recently introduced the new iPhone 5. 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 connector in place of the traditional 30-pin connector used on all other iPhone variants as well as iPod touch and iPod nano. The third is the elimination of the analog video signal.

Taken together, the result is:
    1. iPhone 5 is not compatible with any of the current snap-in adapters available through BMW.
    2. The PlugIn feature as a means of accessing one’s music library is not available on the iPhone 5. (Owners are still able to access their music library using a USB cable, see details under “Will I need an adapter to use my iPhone5?”.)
    3. Also, watching videos stored on the device, on the car’s screen while parked is no longer possible.
Below is an FAQ regarding the use of iPhone 5 and iOS6, as answered by BMW:
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. (See our member’s DIY guide for creating a cradle and integrating the lightning cable)
        ◦ 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” on below to determine when a Y-cable is needed for MY 13 vehicles.)
        ◦ The “Lightning adapter” is an adapter available via Apple to convert the old 30-pin plug to the new 8-pin connector or “Lightning cable”. It is already on sale by Apple and retails for $29.99 (for the adapter) or $39.99 for the adapter cable.
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?
    • BMW’s official word on this is that there is currently no timeline set for the release of the iPhone 5 Snap-In Adapter, but as we recently reported, our sources indicate that its currently in developemtn and to expect it sometime around June 2013.
Is “BMW apps” compatible with iPhone 5 / iOS 6?
    • Yes, owners with iOS 6 (incl. iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5) and a “BMW apps” equipped vehicle can continue enjoying the same great app integrations, just as they did with iOS 5.1. This includes Pandora, MOG, Aupeo, Stitcher and BMW Connected.
    • Pandora is still not compatible with the New Navigation Professional System (SA609) vehicles, but an update is expected from Pandora by November 30, 2012.)
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”. Owners 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.
    • Owners will have to configure their phone as follows to activate this feature:
    1. Pair the phone to the vehicle as normal.
    2. Under “Settings” and “Bluetooth”, press the blue arrow to the right of the paired vehicle:
 3. Then turn on “Show Notifications”:
 4. Also,notifications must be turned on for “Messages” as well:
5. Owners then have to reconnect their phone to the vehicle. This is done by scrolling over the paired phone in the vehicle’s “Bluetooth” menu and pushing the iDrive controller.
6. Returning a phone call via the displayed text message / iMessage is not possible. Owners should either dial the number directly or select a contact from their address book using iDrive.


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.

 * Plug-In is not currently compatible with the new Navigation Professional system (SA609); a fix is expected later this year.

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. See the chart below for more details about each model’s Y-cable dependency.


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