It’s increasingly common for new vehicles to come equipped with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the in-car smartphone screen mirroring technology that lets you control your phone from your car’s dashboard. But Mazda doesn’t want owners of slightly older cars to feel left out. The car manufacturer is offering owners of vehicles dating back to 2014 to upgrade their infotainment systems to ones that are compatible with both Apple and Google’s car offerings.
If you own an older model of Mazda, you might be able to get the upgrade to the Mazda Connect infotainment system for $199 plus labor. Mazda did not provide a full list of eligible cars, so contact your dealer to find out if you qualify. According to the company, the upgrade process will take about two hours to complete. Depending on what your dealership charges for labor, it could end up costing you as much as $500 to complete the upgrade. But if you find yourself in your car a lot, it might be worth paying for. It’s about the cost of a phone to have access to your phone right on your dashboard.
The swap to the Mazda Connect infotainment system will require a hardware swap within your car, including a change to 2.1-amp USB ports. That’s an upgrade over the 1-amp USB ports found in most older Mazdas, which isn’t powerful enough to both charge a phone and offer mirroring features like showing directions from the Maps app. The higher power USB ports are needed to facilitate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features.
If you’re unfamiliar with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, systems effectively put your smartphone’s home screen right on your car’s infotainment system. Many apps are available through the system, which allows you to go hands-free and continue to stay connected. Apple just recently upgraded CarPlay with iOS 12 so that users are able to mirror Google Maps or Waze within their vehicles, opening up the option to use third-party navigation apps other than the company’s own Maps app. Both Google and Apple regularly update the system to expand support, especially as they become more common in modern vehicles.