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Some new BMWs will need a software update to get Wi-Fi, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay

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The chip shortage is to blame

Economic Photo Illustrations Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

BMW is temporarily shipping some new vehicles without support for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Wi-Fi after changing chip suppliers, according to a report from Automotive News Europe (via 9to5Google). The chips from the new supplier need a software update to make Android Auto and CarPlay accessible through the Android / Apple interface. According to BMW spokesperson Phil Dilanni, this doesn’t affect any vehicles in the US or Canada.

“The chips built into these cars in the first four months of this year need updated software in order to be fully functional and offer Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Wi-Fi capability,” Dilanni said in an emailed statement to The Verge. “Rather than delay production / handover of these cars until work on the software update was completed, we have been delivering the cars to customers with the information that Apple/Android and Wi-Fi will become available via an update by end of June at the latest.”

Drivers may not have to wait too much longer to get these missing functionalities, though. Dilanni told The Verge that BMW will start rolling out an over-the-air (OTA) update to make the features available “in the coming weeks.” BMW didn’t specify which car models are affected or how many but says vehicles with “6P1” in their production code won’t come with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, or Wi-Fi.

This isn’t the first sacrifice BMW has made due to the chip shortage. Last November, BMW confirmed that it stopped shipping some of its new vehicles without touchscreens and a backup assistant feature and gave affected drivers a $500 credit in return.

Other car companies, like General Motors, were also heavily impacted by the shortage. GM dropped wireless charging from a range of vehicles, axed a fuel management module from some of its trucks, and cut the driverless Super Cruise feature in the 2022 Cadillac Escalade. More recently, Ford started temporarily shipping and selling Explorer SUVs without rear heating and air conditioning controls.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger predicts the chip shortage, which affects an array of industries in different ways, may last into 2024.

Update, May 9th, 9:06AM ET: Updated to add a statement from a BMW spokesperson and clarification regarding the missing functionality.

Update, May 9th, 9:46AM ET: Updated to emphasize that Wi-Fi is also missing from the affected vehicles.

Update, May 11th 2:39PM ET: Updated to add that vehicles from the US and Canada aren’t affected by this issue.