Auto Tech

2018 Mazda6 gains Apple CarPlay, Android Auto upgrade in September

It's a free upgrade through the dealership for Touring trims and higher.

Anything that helps reduce phone-based distraction is good in my book, even if it requires a two-hour trip to the dealer.

Mazda

When the updated 2018 Mazda6 sedan went on sale this April, the automaker promised that certain trims would get a free upgrade that added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although it didn't say when. Now, that's all cleared up.

Mazda announced today that 2018 Mazda6 vehicles in Touring trim or higher will be able to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto added to their infotainment systems in September. It will be a free dealer-installed upgrade -- usually, it either comes installed from the factory, or it doesn't. All 2018 Mazda6 models in qualifying trims will come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from the factory starting in November.

But the upgrade doesn't end there. At the same time, the Mazda dealer will also upgrade the car's USB port to put out 2.1 amps of juice, which is enough to provide a net positive charge while the phone is running an intensive app like Google Maps. Mazda expects the whole shebang to take about two hours from start to finish.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are slowly becoming ubiquitous across the industry. They allow iOS and Android users to essentially mirror their phones on the infotainment screen, which reduces distraction by allowing owners to access phone-based apps without actually picking up a phone. It even works with cars' built-in voice recognition, further reducing distraction.

The 2018 Mazda6 was given a whole host of mild upgrades. In addition to aesthetic tweaks, it gained standard automatic emergency braking and LED headlights, in addition to the latest version of the Mazda Connect infotainment system. With a starting price of $21,950 for a Sport-trimmed Mazda6 with a manual transmission, it's plenty competitive against more popular offerings like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.