Mazda is now offering owners of older vehicles the ability to upgrade their infotainment systems to ones that are compatible with both Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.
Vehicles equipped with Mazda Connect from the 2014 model year and newer are eligible for a dealer-installed upgrade with smartphone integration capabilities. But it’s not a free update.
If you own an older model of Mazda, you may be able to get the upgrade to the Mazda Connect infotainment system for $199 plus labour. 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.
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 Mazda’s, 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.
Mazda Connect has been available in Mazda vehicles since 2014, which is also the year that Mazda first pledged support for CarPlay. Mazda has been listed as a CarPlay partner since shortly after CarPlay first debuted, but only introduced Carplay and Android Auto capabilities on the 2018 Mazda 6 and further extended the technology to the 2019 CX-9 and CX-5 utility vehicles.
Most other infotainment systems from every other major brand offer Apple and Android compatibility either as standard or an optional feature. The systems integrate messaging, navigation, music streaming, and more via their respective app platforms to better allow you to safely access your phone’s capabilities while driving.