BMW 3-series and iPhone Compatibility User Report

3-Series | June 29th, 2007 by 108

Special thanks to PAMidge, a member of, for taking the time and I think he is the first person that posted a review, including …

Special thanks to PAMidge, a member of, for taking the time and I think he is the first person that posted a review, including some great pictures. Once again, thank you.

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This is the first report I’ve seen on the iPhone and the BMW 3-series compatibility, and let me just say that BMW and Apple are one of the most amazing companies because the iPhone is FULLY FUNCTIONAL with iDrive and the integrated bluetooth. These 2 companies can do great things together.

I’m going to quote the full report, so please, sit back and enjoy and please let’s hear your comments.

” Well my iPhone is as about as old as everyone else’s. Only waited 2.5 hours at #30 in line at my local AT&T store for one. Let me just say before the BMW Part… I’m one HAPPY customer.

If you don’t think this phone lives up to its hype (well other then no 3G), then you’re just fooling yourself. This phone at daybreak is everything and more then one could hope for in a portable device… and I haven’t even played with it as an iPod yet!

So what you lovely folks want to hear, its compatibility with our e9x’s. Let me give you my specs first:

1 week old 2007 328xi e90 with iDrive & Premium Package. That’s about all you need to know.

1 hour old iPhone 8GB

Fully loaded contact list, calendar, bookmarks, mail, and a few videos.

Our initial reports have listed our iPhone as “fully compatible” with the bluetooth. I fully agree and endorse that statement so far.

No more:
Incorrect incoming calls
Abbreviated Phone Book List
One name and number per user

This thing is FULLY FUNCTIONAL with iDrive and the integrated bluetooth.

Let me show you.

Bluetooth off:

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Sorry for the flash, this was done in a hurry.

Turn on bluetooth, turn on your car. They pair together in harmony just like any phone would:

iPhone BMW

Now, let’s look at those contacts. For now I have 276 stored contacts, and it shows every one of them in the iDrive display. The AAPA is a public number, so I’ll share:

BMW iPhone

Now would be a great time to point out the phenomenal AT&T service by my coverage indicator.

Oh boy, Mom & Dad are calling me… (well it’s really just me with a portable house phone)

iPhone BMW

Phone rings, car rings, as you hope and expect it should. Well, I’ll just ignore that call.
BMW iPhone

So with the little blackout, so no one calls anyone, you can clearly see full name, what type of number it is, the full telephone number, all displaying as BMW and Apple intended.

Again, you will just have to take my word for now that if a person has multiple numbers they show up in the correct format XXXXXXX (Home) vs (Mobile), etc.

I really don’t think there needs to be anything else said other then the call quality was what you would expect for a cell phone through bluetooth. I will provide more feedback as I have more time to use this device.

And on a side note, the keyboard… it’s awesome. You need half a brain and a trusting of the device to use it. It does take some time, but it seems very easy to pick up.”


For users with the iPod integration in the ARMREST:

Initially, the iPhone, when plugged in gives you an error warning message that “this accessory is not meant to be used with the iPhone, would you like to switch to Airplane mode”.

Once the iDrive and iPhone systems initialize together, your playlists and songs show up without a problem.

I briefly played a song. What happens is that the iPhone can be used like normal, but when you click on the iPod icon, a white screen says “In Use”.

When the phone is in its standby (not home) screen, instead of your background, the album art associated with the song shows up as the background and changes for every song… pretty cool.

When making or receiving a call, it shuts off the iPod and makes the call. I haven’t tried yet, but will tomorrow, keeping bluetooth as well as the iPod connected to the stereo – meaning to see if the iPod changes seamlessly to Phone when a call is attempted or received while playing iPod music.

Songs showed up and loaded much faster then Hard Drive based iPods.

Hope this helps, and answers MOST questions!”

I hope you enjoyed this report, now let’s get the comments rolling. What do you think? Was it worth waiting for the iPhone? Did BMW live up to the expectations?

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108 responses to “BMW 3-series and iPhone Compatibility User Report”

  1. William says:

    Great review!

    I also have a 2007 3 series with iDrive as well as the new 6FL USB/iPod option. Works pefectly, but I notice that the USB Pod/AUX connector (which comes with 6FL) does not seem to be charging my iPhone. Anyone else noticing this?

  2. dweeks says:

    I’m not able to get the iPhone to pair with my 2006 530i. Can someone list the exact steps for choosing and inputting the passkey?

  3. Irv Robinson says:

    dweeks, do you have the iDrive or no?
    William, I didn’t notice that, I would have to go back and see.

  4. dweeks says:

    It’s iDrive.

    I figured the problem; I was not cursoring up to confirm the passkey I entered on the iDrive.

    I’m now synced up and loving it.


  5. Irv Robinson says:

    dweeks, I’m glad you got it working. And you’re right, the entry needs to be confirmed.

    Let us know if you find anything new

  6. William says:

    Any word on the 6FL USB cord powering their iPhones?

  7. Irv Robinson says:

    William, it seems like that function is not working. I asked around and nobody seemed to be able to charge it. If you find anything new, let me know

  8. geoff says:

    Hey all — had a total seamless integration into my ’08 535Xi — Bluetooth enabled the device for full phone functionality. iPod part of the new iPhone integrated like a champ to the BMW. Full song lists, music mutes when an incoming call is sensed. The iPhone is a lot faster at retreiving the songs then any of the disc based iPods I have.

    Great products working together….now I just need to see if the voice command system works.!!

  9. Irv Robinson says:

    geoff, I’m glad everything works well, I was also impressed how Apple and BMW got everything right the first time. Now that’s a partnership. Let us know if the voice command system works.

  10. dweeks says:

    I don’t have the Nav option, but the voice command for the phone works fine

    I did not have to re-record any commands!


  11. rvuwogwpxa says:

    Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! tucbnsefwt

  12. Aakar says:

    I’ve been able to pair my 06 325xi with the iPhone rather easily. Though I’ve run into really two main issues.
    1.) Previously I’ve been able to leave the bluetooth on with my previous phone at all times and the car would automatically pair the devices when I started up the vehicle. But I’ve noticed that this isn’t consistent with the iPhone. Has anyone run into this issue? Where the phone doesn’t get paired automatically when the car is turned-on, even with the bluetooth radio on?

    2.) The feedback I’ve received is that I’m barely audible when I’m using it in my car. Any one run into this?

  13. Irv Robinson says:

    Hey Aakar.

    1) I haven’t experienced that, but in my case, i have the iDrive. What you should do is try to delete the partnership from your phone and then re-pair it again, see if that helps

    2) Nobody complained about the sound quality, so I’m not sure to be honest. Are you having the same problem when using another phone?

  14. Abicus says:

    I can’t seem to pair it with my 2006 X5. Is it only in the newer models? 3 series?
    It keeps coming back as “cannot connect to BWM 39432. It sees it but does not connect. Any advice would be helpful.

  15. Abicus says:

    Figured it out, you have to turn off the WI-FI in order to pair the bluetooth.
    Still having issues with the ipod aspect, it sometimes works and sometimes does not, is anyone else experiencing this?

  16. Irv Robinson says:

    Abicus, yes, the Wi-Fi trick works, but some people were able to pair it without turning it off, I guess it depends on the bluetooth software version in your car. What’s the iPod aspect you were mentioning?

  17. Abicus says:

    Usually, with my Ipod, I just plug it in and it plays. With my iphone, The screen comes up and says, this device does not support, and if I ignore it, it goes to white screen, then sometimes it works and plays whatever I was listening to last, or sometimes it doesn’t play at all. Also I love the shuffle songs on my ipod, but the iphone only shuffles the playlist….I don’t like that, and I can’t control any other playlist songs, except the current forward and backward….I mean I love my iphone and my car and all, this makes me sound kinda whiny…I just think if something is designed to work, it should work well, like my BMW! Love the Germans!

  18. Abicus says:

    Is there an updated bluetooth software I am not aware of? My BWM dealer sent me an advert wanting to update my Navigation software for $400! is it worth it? am I missing out?

  19. Irv Robinson says:


    honestly, I haven’t encountered the problems that you’re having with the iPod function of your iPhone but if I hear anything similar and a resolution, I will post it here.

    Second, if your car is still under warranty, the update should be free. If it’s not, then I’m not sure if $400 is worth it. If you can tell me what version you have now, I can ask the BMW technicians about the most recent update and what it does

  20. Abicus says:

    My iphone will not charge whilst plugged into my ipod connection. Anyone else having this problem? any solution?

  21. Irv Robinson says:

    Abicus, apparently, it’s a common problem, I’ve heard from several people. Everyone is waiting for a firmware upgrade on the iphone or for a manufacture to come up with a different way to connect them.

  22. jeffk says:

    I have a ’07 e92 335i with the 6FL iPod option and an iPhone (firmware 1.0.2). Functionality works as expected, however the iPhone still complains that the BMW is a an unsupported accessory (by offering to go into airplane mode and shutoff the RF module). My iPhone will not charge when connected to the 6FL supplied connector. My BMW is still running whatever version of it’s software from my ED pickup at the end of April. Has anyone else had success on the charging front (perhaps with updated iDrive software)?

  23. Philip Gray aka NTP says:

    It’s only a matter of time before the public finds a way to play the videos on the iDrive display….ok, who is up to the task? Anyone with the iPhone hacks number wanna give him a call!

  24. Jesse G says:

    hi, I am thinking about getting the iphone but here’s my one concern. i have a 2007 325xi with bluetooth capability installed but it is without the iDrive. Will this still work? I don’t want to buy this damn thing if it’s not compatible

  25. Jesse G says:

    hi, I am thinking about getting the iphone but here’s my one concern. i have a 2007 325xi with bluetooth capability installed but it is without the iDrive. Will this still work? I don’t want to buy this damn thing if it’s not compatible

  26. Krakow says:

    I have 2005 e46 318cab and while I can pair seamlessly my iphone to the BMW (both recognize each other withour a problem), I am unable to make or receive calls. After I pair, my phone rings but not my BMW when I receive a call. In fact, the first time I receive a call after pairing (I redid the steps several times to make sure this), I do get a message on my Iphone asking how do I want to anwer the phone (BMW or Iphone) but when I pick BMW, it still goes only to Iphone. Any idea why this is happening?

  27. damdai says:

    I have a 2007 328xi. I’ve noticed 2 bugs concerning iPhone so far.

    1. After a call is received while a song is playing, can no longer manually skip songs and current song name is stuck on display, even when next song comes on. Have to reconnect iPhone to fix.

    2. I play the iPhone from the car with ‘RND’ (random) enabled. It tried to play a video and crashed. Not sure if this was a freak occurrence or will happen anytime a video is randomly selected, or even if videos are included in the random selection. Has only happened once so far.

  28. 335i says:

    Just got 2007 335i with IPOD $400 connection package (connector in hand rest compartment)

    As noted by reviewer, when I connect iphone into the USB slot, iphone displays “this accessory is not meant to be used with the iPhone, would you like to switch to Airplane mode” I select no. Then I choose ipod from the stereo dash menu and it lists musics from my iphone and I can play it just fine.

    Problem is that somehow after it plays a while (I think about 4~6 minutes max) it kicks back to FM and I haven’t figured out why. Is there a setting in iphone that I’m supposed to disable/enable?

    Any help or suggestion is greatly appreciated!

  29. Scott says:

    I dont use an iPod or iPhone. I am using a Rhapsody Sansa to connect Rhapsody music subscription service to the MP3 player. I am USB into iDrive on a 2008 550i. I DO NOT get a full read of the MP3 flash drive. I get partial album, songs, artists, etc. I REALLY like the music subscription of Rhapsody vs iTunes/iPod model. However I would like to get the MP3 player to work in the car. Any ideas would be much appreciated? Links for other “how to” threads?

  30. Siva Shan says:

    I recently bought an 328Xi with an IPOD interface which doesn’t work with my 30Gig Ipod. It keep saying “Loading Data from Audio Device”. The same IPOD works in all other BMW card with the same IPOD interface. If we try a different ipod in my car the ipod interface works fine. The dealer is refusing to fix it since they don’t know how to fix it. They keep blaming on my Ipod which works fine with all other BMW in their show room. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  31. Vince says:

    Just got a 2008 335i and the iPod integration was working ok (lags compared to other cars). Then one day I turned it on and it the random doesn’t work anymore. Reconnected it, tried other combinations with turning the car off inbetween and it still won’t do random, gonna have to take it in after 2,000 miles.

  32. Mike says:

    Last Friday, I just purchased a new X5 with the armrest iPod connectivity. On Friday night, I connected my iPod and everything worked great. On Saturday morning, I kept getting “Loading Data From Audio Device …” and nothing happens. Took it in, and they said it was a problem if you have less than 26 songs on your iPod. So, I loaded up 70 and I am still having the same issue. Help !!

  33. Irv Robinson says:

    Mike, I have never heard of this issue before. Sorry.

    Can you try another ipod to see if you can reproduce the error?

  34. mary says:

    I just bought a 2007 328 xi with the armrest iPod connectivity and everytime i plug in my ipod , an error message comes up. I havent been able to figure out what im doing wrong … any ideas?

  35. damdai says:

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary… perhaps it would help if you could maybe, possibly include the error message, maybe?

  36. mary says:

    the message says “ERROR”

  37. bsd107 says:

    Has anyone installed the “Apple iPhone Snap in Adapter” available from BMW dealers? (PN: 84 10 9 182 792) It looks like an awesome dock for the phone in the center armrest. Described as “The system provides a safe and secure place to dock your Apple iPhone while driving and will charge your phone battery when the vehicle is running. Adapter also provides a connection to the roof mounted telephone antenna on your car for improved cellular reception. ”

    Great features, but my question is, if you use this Snap in Adapter, does it also perform the iPod integration (assuming that the car also has that option factory installed)?

    As “Snap in” adapters are available for several different phones, I’m worried that it will not allow connection to the iPod/USB adapter at the same time (which would be needed for the iPod integration to the iDrive and audio system)….

    Anyone tried this? (You can find this accessory at This is available for the 335i Sedan, for example….

  38. Laith says:

    Regarding the question of the BMW Iphone snap in adapter. Just bought a couple of minutes ago, tried to plug it in with my friends Iphone. The phone started charging but there’s no life signs from the Ipod towards the Idrive – can’t see and it doesnt show/say anything when connected.

    When you enter the Ipod interface on the Iphone, you can navigate as usual and when playing music it is played back through the Iphone internal speaker.

    We suspect that the USB interface is missing from the Snap In adapter to the IDrive system. What do you think?

  39. bsd107 says:

    I found this info on the BMW Wireless site :

    They mention a “Y-cable for connecting iPod/iPhone to the USB connector”.

    Is this the standard cable that comes with the car’s factory iPod/USB option? Or is it a new cable that allows use of the Snap In adapter? No part number is given….

  40. Laith says:

    Thanks for the reply – that’s my point exactly. If you use the Y Cable (which is a usb and a 3,5mm cable) you have full functionality since usb is charging and transferring songs while bluetooth uses the phone. But the snap in adapter is made to keep the Iphone neetly in place and also connect it to the car antenna. Therefore using the snap in adapter would be preferred and you avoid the cables etc.

    My guess at this point is that the dealership needs to split my usb port underneeth the armrest to point at the “old” usb port and also to mapp against the snap in adapter interface. Only then will the Iphone get (through the cable) Ipod, Antenna and Power and through bluetooth the phone functionality like any other phone


  41. bsd107 says:


    I’m surprised that BMW makes you choose between having the Snap-in cradle for iPhone, OR using the iPhone as an iPod. This is extremely disappointing. I would certainly want to use the Snap-in adapter, but want full phone & iPod functionality at the same time.

    I couldn’t find any way to contact BMW about this issue. I have to think that it’s possible for BMW to make a new cable that performs all the connections neccessary using the iPhone snap-in adapter.

    Do you know an email address where we can inquire? (I expect that most dealers would be useless in solving an issue like this….)

  42. Laith says:

    Sorry for the late reply – didn’t get an email like last time reminding me of your input.

    I just sent an email describing the problem to BMW Sweden and they told me they’d forward the question to Germany. Hopefully we’ll get a solution for this…

  43. bsd107 says:

    Laith, thanks for the update. If I can find out where to send such a request in the US, I will do so. I hope that BMW Germany will come back to you with some indication that they will work on it….

  44. Bavar says:

    For anyone looking for the dual-use functionality mentioned above, bsd107 seems to have found some good info.

    There are some great posts at describing a new option that will allow use of the iPhone as both a phone in cradle, and access to the music on it. Cheers!

  45. JSP says:

    I have a 328i with the I-Pod adapter. The I-pod (nano 4gig 3rd generation) worked for a few months, then I went away for a week and now when I plug it in it is stuck on “loading data from audio device”. Its reading the I-pod, because I can see the I-pod name at the bottom left of the screen. I took it to the dealer and they were able to connect other I-pods to the car. Anyone know how to fix this? (saw a few similar posts but no response on how to fix it.)

  46. bsd107 says:


    No idea, but have you tried force-rebooting the Nano?

    If that doesn’t work try doing a factory restore of the Nano?

  47. JSP says:

    bsd107, thanks for the reply,

    i have tried the following to no avail;
    – uninstalled i-tunes & reinstalled an older version (7.6)
    – restored factory settings via itunes
    – deleted all playlists
    – reset the i-pod by holding the menu & select keys
    – called apple support; while friendly they were clueless & didnt offer support on this issue.

    Kinda sucks, seems to be a black hole in the support world, since bmw & apple wont support it. like someone said, i guess i have a $400 car charger!

    If anyone else has any suggestions please let me know.

    Im going to take my i-pod to an Apple store to see if they can do anything on site. Will post something if i get results but doubtful.

  48. rob hall says:

    Hi, I have just purchased a BMW 3 series with usb interface for use with my ipod (No idrive). I have used the standard ipod usb cable without the bmw AUX connector and the ipod work ok (ish) My only problem is I am unable to scroll through the artists quickly (reaching the B’s and C’s takes 10 minutes) – does anyone know if using the proper BMW usb cable with Aux connector will fix this? Dont wanna pay for one if the results are the same!

    Also I understand you are able to create ‘lists’ for playback – does any one know how to do this? (Not playlists on the ipod -a list in the BMW?)

  49. ashwinder says:

    i downloaed music on my iphone with lime wire and i tunes but it does not play in my 328i 2008 can you help me what might be the problem

    • Luis says:

      beside bluetooth call & receive, contact list I could play Pandora with the IPOD adapter. It said that i wont charge the phone but my dead battery phone sprang to life after couple minutes connected

      • Daniel says:

        Luis, how did you get Pandora to play? On my iPhone, the radio keeps using the Ipod function and when I start Pandora, it takes over for a second then stops playing returning control to the Ipod app…

  50. That is indeed a very nice review report. One of my friends has got his BMW installed with the iphone facilities. It’s compatibility issues have been resolved and it provides an eternal experience.

  51. Michiel says:

    I have a problem with music. I have succeeded in pairing the BMW and the iphone 3gs. Contacts work fine, charging the battery works well but I can’t access the music. I don’t get the message: “this accessory is not meant to be used with the iPhone, would you like to switch to Airplane mode”.

    any tips?

    Thanks in advance

    PS: I checked the options on the car and the snap kit. it should work.

  52. Mzteekay says:

    I can not pair my iphone with my 525i can someone help

  53. Jpickett8 says:

    I have a 2007 335I and no card in the user manual with a passkey in it and I looked at the sticker in the trunk and there is an entry PK: And it is blank. Where can I get a passkey for Bluetooth?

  54. John Bench says:

    I have a brand new BMW 520d (September 2011). It has the professional sat nav and a cradle for an iPhone 4.

    Phone etc all work fine and music plays as well, but the music track details are not displayed. Is this correct or can I see them if I change some settings?

  55. Ray says:

    My Ipod playlist does not show in my 08 BMW 650i although i can view and play all the songs from the ipod the playlist just doesnt appear. Can someone advise.  Thanks

  56. Overtimespace says:

    Another concern: Does the iphone ipod plays through the car and can you see the playlist. Thanks

  57. John H says:

    I have a New BMW 3 Series and an iPhone 4S

    On my contacts I have Work Microsoft Exchange Account and a Yahoo Account. On the iPhone the only contacts that show up are my work numbers and these pair with names and numbers onto the car display via Bluetooth. I agree that pairing is not a problem, but when I have an incoming call it displays the number without the name and you then need to look at the iphone display to see who is calling. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have been to a BMW Dealership and they paired an iphone and the Name & Number came up as I would expect so BMW are pointing me in the direction of the iphone being the problem. Any hel would be much appreciated. Many Thanks JH 

  58. Darkman says:

    My iPhone doesn’t pair woth my BMW 320i anymore can someone help.

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