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Mazda Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility explained

New Mazdas now ship with Apple CarPlay, but the brand offers a wide-ranging retrofit for models dating back several years.

Phone mirroring technology in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto has revolutionised the way we interact with car multimedia systems.

It makes good sense too, as so much is now available to do through our phones, why should automakers even attempt to compete with the software of Silicon Valley masters? To boot, CarPlay and Android Auto are essentially safety features, reducing distractions and allowing important calls and texts to be made without the need to take your eyes off the road.

Even so, Mazda was a little late to the punch. Not as late as key rival, Toyota, mind you, but Mazda stuck to its guns on its primarily dial-controlled MZD Connect multimedia system (introduced in 2014) for a long time without phone mirroring.

Facing strong demand though, the brand decided to not only introduce CarPlay and Android Auto to new vehicles, but also offer upgrades to all cars with the existing MZD systems as far back as 2014.

This means every Mazda vehicle with MZD, from the entry-level Mazda2 hatch to the flagship CX-9 are able to be upgraded at a flat cost of $503.53 as of July 2020.

The Apple CarPlay and Android Auto retrofit are a dealer-fit option which requires the installation of physical hardware. Owners of pre-2018 vehicles wanting to inquire about the upgrade should do so at their local dealer.

It's worth noting that on many Mazda models, touch capability is limited or non-existent, with even phone mirroring controlled through the brand's dial system - a method which some consider to be an annoying alternative for user interfaces designed with touchscreen surfaces in mind.

Mazda's phone mirroring retrofit kit can be applied to some models as far back as 2014. Mazda's phone mirroring retrofit kit can be applied to some models as far back as 2014.

If you are perhaps looking at purchasing a used Mazda and are looking for details on whether a car you are considering has the upgrade – consult our list of model years and generations that either have the hardware or are capable of receiving the upgrade.

Mazda3The Mazda3 received the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software update in late 2018. Cars from before that date can be upgraded dating back to 2014 when the BM Series was introduced so long as the variant in question has the MZD screen.

Mazda CX-5The CX-5 shortly followed the BT-50 with the Apple CarPlay update alongside its CX-9 big brother in late 2018. Models from before that can be upgraded so long as they have MZD Connect from the 2014 (KE Series 2) model year.

Mazda CX-3The CX-3 received the update along with its model year 2019 facelift unveiled in August of 2018. Cars prior to that can be upgraded so long as they had the MZD Connect system which launched in the CX-3 in 2015.

Mazda CX-9The CX-9 large SUV received the Apple CarPlay update along with the CX-5 mid-sizer from late 2018. Models from before that time can receive the dealer upgrade as far back as 2016 when the current TC generation launched.

Mazda6 The Mazda6 sedan and wagon received the CarPlay and Android Auto update from late 2018 onward, but can be retrofitted from 2014 when the GJ Series 2 was introduced.

Mazda2The Mazda2 received Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in late 2018, although variants with the MZD multimedia screen can be retrofitted back to 2015 when the DL Series was introduced.

Mazda MX5The MX-5 (that some from overseas may know as the Mazda Miata) received Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with its 2018 model year update. Cars with the MZD screen hardware can be updated back to the year in which the ND Series was introduced – 2015. The Abarth 124 (introduced 2016) which shares its underpinnings and multimedia system with the ND MX-5 can also be upgraded with the Mazda part kit, but this method is unofficial and not endorsed by Fiat.

Mazda BT-50 – Funnily enough, the Ford Ranger-based BT-50 ute was the first Mazda to receive the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto update in May of 2018 – though mainly because it came standard with a third-party Alpine head unit rather than the brand’s MZD Connect system. When it comes to retrofitting Apple CarPlay to BT-50s before then, you’re on your own with a third-party unit.

Mazda5 – The Mazda5 was the brand’s people mover (the replacement for the once-offered-in-Australia Mazda Premacy). While there are some grey-imported examples on Australia’s roads, the slow-selling minivan was discontinued in 2018 and never shared the current line-up’s styling, interior, or multimedia system. As such, phone mirroring tech was never available on these models.