What is MirrorLink?

Operate phone apps safely through your car's screen: find out which cars and phones work with MirrorLink

BuyaCar team
Apr 17, 2019

Traditionally entertainment systems have been a weak point of modern cars. While they would be modern and up-to-date from new, it didn’t take long for them to become woefully left behind - not helped by the tech industry’s desire to reinvent the wheel every fortnight.

MirrorLink is the logical solution to this problem. It connects and reflects your smartphone’s screen onto a car’s entertainment system. There are limitations to the apps you can use, but features such as music, navigation and messaging are all taken care of.

MirrorLink was one of the first systems to successfully enable this, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto since entering the fray.

How does Mirrorlink work?

You’ll need a MirrorLink-compatible smartphone and a MirrorLink-enabled car. Assuming you have both you connect your phone to the car, either by a USB lead or wirelessly with Bluetooth, and watch as music, navigation and phone apps are displayed as large images on your dashboard.

Compatible apps include the navigation app Coyote and parking data from Parkopedia. Download an app called RockScout and you'll be able to control Spotify, Stitcher and Deezer in the car. Skoda even has a compatible app called MFA Pro that can tell you how efficiently you’re driving.

It is possible to run apps such as Twitter, Waze and Facebook using software such as Floating Apps, but this isn’t a sure fire way to get the results you want. Essentially Floating Apps using glitches in the system to overcome safety features built into MirrorLink. While not being able to reliably use social media in the car is a good thing, Waze is one of the most popular navigation apps in the world.

You can control the apps by using your car’s entertainment screen, as well as with any steering wheel buttons or voice control system in the car. They continue to run on your smartphone, but the display in your car mirrors that of your phone (below).

MirrorLink knows whether you’re stationary or moving, too, so can restrict features that might be a distraction.

MirrorLink vs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

Put simply, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are better than MirrorLink, so depending on your phone’s operating system buy a car which comes with the one you need irrespective of whether it has MirrorLink.

That said, if you are looking at buying a car that is over 3 years old, (roughly when Android Auto and Apple CarPlay came on the scene) MirrorLink is still a useful feature to have.

Are iPhones compatible with MirrorLink?

Most Android phones are compatible. However, iPhones aren’t. You’ll need to use Apple CarPlay if you want a similar experience.

MirrorLink compatible cars

Most Citroens and Peugeots, VW Group cars (Skodas, Seats and Volkswagens), Hondas, Toyotas and some Mercedes are compatible. MirrorLink may only come as standard on some higher-specification cars, so it's always worth checking whather a particular model that you're interested in has it installed.

MirrorLink compatbile phones 

Even though iPhones are off the table, many of the big names in the Android world are present and correct. Samsung, Sony, LG, Huawei, HTC and Fujitsu are to name but five brands which offer compatible devices. If in doubt, of course, check with the phone manufacturer.

What else can MirrorLink do?

Depending on the ingenuity of app developers, there’s no limit. For example, Skoda has a compatible app called MFA Pro that can tell you how efficiently you’re driving.

How else can I get MirrorLink?

Some aftermarket car stereo systems, most notably those by Pioneer, have MirrorLink.

    

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