The MIBII headunit found on a fair amount of VW’s 2016 and above can support Android Auto/Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink. I have very little experience with the Android Auto feature and none with MirrorLink but some of these tips may also work for it too.
First lets explain what this feature is and get you used to some terminology. The purpose of these features is to allow your cars entertainment unit to communicate with your phone and some of its apps over a USB connection. Wifi/Bluetooth connection with App-Connect is not supported at this time. App-Connect is the VW software that allows your phone to connect to Android Auto/Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink.
The biggest benefit to this is getting programs like navigation software such as Waze, Google Maps and Apple Map as well as lots of other music related apps like Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music on the MIBII display that you can interact with them in a safe fashion. It also will do the same things you used to when bluetooth connected like making/taking phone calls and listening/responding to text messages.
The issue I have head with headunits in the past is eventually the navigation maps get out of date and you are out of luck if they even had navigation. Now with these new features as long as your phone supports Android Auto/Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink and you can plug it in via USB A connection you will still have up to date navigation apps available. The other great option is streaming music through apps like Spotify and Pandora instead of physical media or radio.
Apple Carplay is really nice but a bit restrictive on what apps it allows you to use. Developers have to submit their apps for approval before they can be used on Apple Car play and they are very particular about what gets accepted. Pretty much only navigation and music apps get approved.
Android Auto is less particular about which apps they approve but still limits what can be used on Android Auto. They have a lot more communication apps available such as WhatsApp, Kik, WeChat and Hangouts.
MirrorLink is almost wide open on what apps it allows but is very finicky and not supported by a lot of phones. I hear lots of complains about it but personally have not tried it.
Now that you have a better idea about what these features are lets go over some common issues. Again I primarily use just Apple Carplay but these might apply to the other two.
Issues with the phone not being recognized by App-Connect.
- Make sure you have recently unlocked your phone, Apple released a newer feature to iOS that locks out USB connections if the phone has not been unlocked recently called USB Restricted Mode.
- Use the OEM USB cables, the MIBII unit is finicky with a lot of the cheaper cables, so the original or official cables for you phone are suggested.
- Make sure you have the App-Connect screen up on your MIBII headunit before you connect your phone. I have found that if my iPhone is plugged in before the App-Connect program is fully loaded my iPhone will go into an endless loop of connecting/disconnecting. The only thing that solves it is for the car to go to sleep. What I mean by the car going to sleep is the car is turned off for over an hour without any interaction. Newer MIBII headunits don’t seem to have this issue, like the one in my girlfriends 2018 Tiguan. But my 2016 GTI does this 100% of the time if I am impatient and plug my phone in too soon.
Music or other audio is delayed or jittery.
- Change the source a different type like AM/FM radio or Media. Then switch back to App-Connect.
- Also try disconnecting your phone from USB for a few seconds and connecting it back.
App stops working or phone disconnects
- Make sure the App and OS for the phone are the latest available version
- Make sure you are not also connecting to Bluetooth with the car at the same time. You may need to have your phone or car “forget” the connection.
- Replace your cable with an official one from the phones manufacture.