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Does the Mercedes GLC 300 Have Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay is a revolutionary feature that allows seamless integration between your iPhone and your vehicle’s infotainment system. By mirroring your iPhone’s interface on the car’s display, CarPlay offers a safer and more convenient way to access your favorite apps, music, maps, and more while on the road.


One of the primary benefits of Apple CarPlay is its ability to minimize distractions while driving. With Siri voice control, you can make calls, send messages, get directions, and even control your music without ever taking your hands off the wheel. This not only enhances safety but also provides a more enjoyable and stress-free driving experience.


For owners of older Mercedes-Benz GLC models that lack this feature, adding Apple CarPlay can breathe new life into their infotainment system. By seamlessly integrating their iPhone with the vehicle’s display, they can enjoy the convenience and functionality of their smartphone in a safe and intuitive manner. The goal of this guide is to explore the various options available for adding Apple CarPlay to pre-2018 GLC models, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the process, costs, and potential drawbacks.

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When Did the GLC Get Apple CarPlay?

The Mercedes-Benz GLC has offered Apple CarPlay as a standard feature on models from 2018 and newer. According to Arrowhead Mercedes-Benz, all 2018 and later GLC models come equipped with the latest COMAND infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

However, if you own a pre-2018 GLC model, your vehicle did not come with Apple CarPlay from the factory. To add this functionality to an older GLC, you will need to either replace the entire head unit or explore software coding hacks and upgrades. While more labor-intensive, these aftermarket solutions allow you to retrofit Apple CarPlay into your earlier GLC.

 

Option 1: Full Head Unit Replacement

For GLC owners seeking a comprehensive Apple CarPlay integration, replacing the entire head unit (infotainment system) is the most seamless option. By installing an aftermarket head unit designed specifically for the Mercedes-Benz GLC, you can enjoy a factory-like look and feel while gaining full access to Apple CarPlay’s features.

This approach involves removing the existing head unit and installing a new one, typically an Android-based system tailored for your GLC’s year and model. Popular options include units from reputable brands like Seicane or Andream, which offer a plug-and-play solution with minimal wiring modifications.

While providing a near-OEM experience, a full head unit replacement is undoubtedly the most expensive route, with costs ranging from $500 to over $1,000, depending on the unit’s features and your installation location. However, it ensures seamless integration, retains the factory aesthetics, and often includes additional upgrades like wireless Android Auto compatibility or built-in navigation.

 

Option 2: Software Coding Hack

For Mercedes-Benz GLC owners looking to add Apple CarPlay without replacing the entire head unit, a software coding hack may be a more affordable solution. This method involves reprogramming or “coding” the existing infotainment system to unlock and enable CarPlay functionality. While less expensive than a full hardware upgrade, this route does come with some potential drawbacks and limitations.

According to discussions on enthusiast forums like MBWorld.org, coding the stock head unit has allowed some GLC owners to successfully activate CarPlay. However, the process requires specialized coding knowledge and tools. Many opt to have this service performed by third-party vendors or independent auto electronics shops with Mercedes-Benz expertise.

One key advantage of the coding method is cost savings compared to a new head unit installation. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars for coding alone to around $500-800 if also replacing components like the command knob or display screen. Still, it’s significantly less than the $1,000-2,000 typically charged for a full hardware swap.

On the downside, there are some functional limitations to this hack. Certain CarPlay features may not work optimally, graphics could appear distorted, and future software updates from Mercedes could potentially break compatibility. Perhaps the biggest concern, however, is the potential impact on the vehicle’s warranty coverage. While coding is technically reversible, any issues stemming from an unauthorized software modification will likely void the infotainment system warranty at minimum.

 

Pros and Cons of Each Option

When it comes to adding Apple CarPlay to an older Mercedes-Benz GLC, there are two main options: a full hardware head unit replacement or a software coding hack. Each approach has its own set of pros and cons to consider.

 

Hardware Head Unit Replacement Pros:

  • Seamless integration with the vehicle’s infotainment system
  • Retains the factory look and feel of the dashboard
  • Typically more stable and reliable than software hacks
  • May include additional features like wireless CarPlay or a larger display

Hardware Head Unit Replacement Cons:

  • Significantly more expensive, often costing $1,000 or more
  • Requires professional installation, adding to the overall cost
  • May have compatibility issues with certain vehicle systems or features

Software Coding Hack Pros:

  • Much more affordable, with costs ranging from $100 to $500
  • Can often be installed by the owner with some technical know-how
  • Retains the original head unit and dashboard layout

Software Coding Hack Cons:

  • May not integrate as seamlessly with the vehicle’s systems
  • Potential for bugs, glitches, or compatibility issues
  • Could void the vehicle’s warranty if not installed properly
  • May lack certain features like wireless connectivity

Ultimately, the choice between a hardware or software upgrade will depend on factors like budget, desired features, and personal comfort level with technical installations.

 

Step-by-Step Hardware Upgrade Process

Replacing the entire head unit is the most comprehensive way to add Apple CarPlay to an older Mercedes-Benz GLC. This process involves removing the factory-installed infotainment system and installing an aftermarket unit with CarPlay capability. While more expensive, it provides a seamless, integrated experience.

The hardware upgrade requires basic tools like plastic trim removal tools, a wiring harness, and potentially dash disassembly tools depending on the GLC model year. Having some experience with car audio installations is beneficial, but many find the process manageable with careful guidance. Sources like the MBWorld forums provide helpful step-by-step instructions from experienced Mercedes owners.

After the upgrade, the interior will have a fresh, modern look with a larger touchscreen display. The aftermarket head unit integrates cleanly into the dash while providing enhanced features like wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, improved voice controls, and sleeker aesthetics compared to the dated factory system.

 

Step-by-Step Software Coding Process

For tech-savvy GLC owners, it’s possible to activate Apple CarPlay on pre-2018 models through coding and software hacks. This method avoids the high cost of a full head unit replacement but does require some technical know-how and carries certain risks.

The process involves using specialized Mercedes coding tools and software to access and modify the car’s computer systems. By tweaking certain settings and activating hidden features, owners can enable Apple CarPlay functionality on their existing infotainment system.

 

Required skills and tools for this coding method include:

  • Working knowledge of car coding and Mercedes-specific software
  • Access to a Mercedes diagnostic tool like VDCS or DAS/Xentry
  • Patience and willingness to troubleshoot any issues

 

While cheaper than a hardware upgrade, the software coding route has some potential drawbacks. Improperly applied codes could “brick” the infotainment system or cause other glitches. There’s also a risk that future Mercedes software updates may disable the unofficial CarPlay activation. Owners pursuing this path should carefully weigh the pros and cons.

 

Cost Comparison of Upgrade Methods

When it comes to adding Apple CarPlay to an older Mercedes-Benz GLC, the two main options have vastly different costs associated with them. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to pay for each upgrade method:

 

Full Head Unit Replacement

This is by far the most expensive route, but it provides a seamless, factory-integrated solution. You’ll need to purchase a new head unit compatible with your GLC’s year and model, which can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for the part alone. On top of that, you’ll be paying for labor costs from the installation at a Mercedes-Benz dealership or certified third-party shop, which typically runs $300 to $800 depending on the complexity of the job and your location. So in total, expect to pay $1,300 to $3,800 for a professional full head unit upgrade with Apple CarPlay.

 

Software Coding Hack

If you’re looking for a much more affordable solution, coding your existing Mercedes head unit to enable Apple CarPlay is an option—but it comes with some trade-offs. You’ll need to find an independent automotive electronics specialist willing to code your system, which typically costs $100 to $300. However, this hack may have some visual quirks and isn’t guaranteed to work perfectly. It’s a much cheaper route at $100 to $300, but you get what you pay for in terms of integration.

 

Finding a Reputable Installer in Canada

When it comes to adding Apple CarPlay to your older Mercedes-Benz GLC, finding a reputable and experienced installer is crucial. While some DIY options exist, having a professional handle the upgrade process can save you time, effort, and potential headaches down the road.

Start your search by asking for recommendations from fellow GLC owners in online forums or local Mercedes-Benz enthusiast groups. Many owners have successfully had CarPlay installed by knowledgeable professionals.

When evaluating potential installers, look for those who specialize in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and have experience with infotainment system upgrades. Reputable installers should be able to provide references, examples of their work, and a detailed quote outlining the process and costs involved.

It’s also a good idea to inquire about the installer’s warranty policy and whether they offer any guarantees on their work. Reliable installers should stand behind their services and be willing to address any issues that may arise after the installation.

Finally, don’t be afraid to shop around and get multiple quotes. While cost shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, comparing pricing from different installers can help you find a fair deal. Keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better, and investing in a quality installation from a reputable provider can save you money in the long run.

 

Will an Upgrade Void My Warranty?

One of the biggest concerns for Mercedes-Benz owners considering an aftermarket upgrade like adding Apple CarPlay is the potential impact on their vehicle’s warranty coverage. The good news is that, according to discussions on enthusiast forums like MBWorld.org, coding and software modifications generally do not void the factory warranty as long as they are performed properly and do not cause any damage.

However, it’s important to note that any hardware modifications, such as replacing the entire head unit, could potentially void certain aspects of the warranty related to that component or system. Mercedes-Benz has strict guidelines about maintaining the integrity of their vehicles, and any unauthorized alterations or installations could be grounds for denial of warranty claims.

To mitigate this risk, it’s crucial to work with a reputable and experienced installer who specializes in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. They should have a deep understanding of the manufacturer’s policies and procedures, as well as the necessary expertise to perform the upgrade without compromising the vehicle’s systems or components. Attempting a complex hardware installation yourself or using an inexperienced technician could increase the chances of voiding your warranty.

Additionally, it’s recommended to keep detailed records of any modifications or upgrades performed on your vehicle, including invoices, receipts, and documentation from the installer. This can help substantiate the work done and potentially prevent any warranty disputes in the future.

 

Backup/Restore Process Before Upgrades

Whether you opt for the full head unit replacement or the software coding hack, it’s crucial to back up your current system settings and data before proceeding with any upgrades. This will ensure a smooth restoration process after the installation, minimizing data loss and configuration hassles.

For the hardware replacement route, most professional installers will handle the backup and restore process as part of their service. However, if you’re attempting a DIY install, you’ll need to use Mercedes’ DAS (Diagnostic Assistant Service) software to create a complete system backup. Refer to the DAS Offline Programming & Telematics Update, DIY guide for step-by-step instructions.

If you’re going the software coding hack route, the backup process is equally crucial. Utilize tools like Abrites Diagnostics for Mercedes to create a complete backup of your current system configuration. This backup will allow you to revert to your original settings if needed, providing a safety net during the coding process.

Regardless of the upgrade method you choose, always create a comprehensive backup before proceeding. This simple step can save you from countless headaches and ensure a seamless transition to your new Apple CarPlay-enabled system.

 

Post-Install Setup and Tips

Once you’ve successfully added Apple CarPlay to your older Mercedes-Benz GLC, there are a few steps to get everything set up and customized for the best experience. First, make sure your iPhone is running the latest iOS version and that you have an active data plan or WiFi connection.

To connect your iPhone, simply plug it into the USB port using the cable that came with your device. Your GLC’s infotainment system should automatically detect the iPhone and prompt you to enable Apple CarPlay. Follow the on-screen instructions to grant permissions and pair your phone.

Once connected, you can customize various CarPlay settings to your preferences. Tap the CarPlay icon on your infotainment screen to access the settings menu. Here you can adjust things like dark mode, app layout and organization, “Hey Siri” voice control activation, and more. Play around with the settings to find the optimal setup for your needs.

For the best experience, keep your iPhone’s Bluetooth turned on as well. This will allow you to make hands-free calls, stream audio, and use Siri voice commands seamlessly through your GLC’s speakers and microphone.

 

Buyer’s Guide Recap

When it comes to adding Apple CarPlay to an older Mercedes-Benz GLC, there are two main paths you can take: a full head unit replacement or a software coding hack. Each option has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh your priorities before making a decision.

The full head unit replacement is the more expensive route, but it offers a seamless, factory-like integration of Apple CarPlay. This option is best for those who prioritize a premium, OEM-approved experience and are willing to invest more money upfront. The downside is the higher cost and increased complexity of the installation process.

On the other hand, the software coding hack is a more budget-friendly alternative, but it may come with some limitations or potential compatibility issues. This route is ideal for those who want to add Apple CarPlay functionality without breaking the bank, but it may not provide the same level of polish as the hardware upgrade. Additionally, there’s a risk of voiding your warranty if the coding process goes awry.

Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your budget, your level of comfort with potential risks, and your preference for a factory-approved solution versus a more affordable workaround. Regardless of your choice, working with a reputable installer is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful integration of Apple CarPlay into your older Mercedes-Benz GLC.

 

Apple’s Next Car Integration Plan

While Apple CarPlay has been a gamechanger for in-car infotainment, Apple has even bigger plans for seamless car integration on the horizon. The next generation of CarPlay, expected to debut in late 2023, promises deeper integration between your iPhone and your vehicle’s hardware displays and systems.

According to reports from 9to5Mac, the new CarPlay will be able to power the instrument cluster, head unit, and even additional displays throughout the cabin. This level of integration will allow for a unified experience that feels like your iPhone has essentially become the brain of your car’s infotainment and digital cluster systems.

Another exciting development is the growing adoption of Apple’s digital car key technology. Mercedes-Benz is the latest automaker to embrace this convenient feature, which allows you to unlock and start your car using just your iPhone or Apple Watch. No more fumbling for traditional keys!

As cars become increasingly connected and software-defined, Apple is positioning itself to be at the forefront of this automotive tech revolution. The seamless integration of hardware, software, and services from a single ecosystem could redefine how we interact with our vehicles. While the future looks exciting, the path to upgrading current and older models like the GLC remains a priority for many owners seeking to enjoy Apple’s latest car features today.

 

Other GLC Infotainment Upgrades

While adding Apple CarPlay is a popular upgrade for GLC owners, there are several other infotainment enhancements to consider. According to Benz-Yourself.com, some of the top aftermarket upgrades include:

  1. Ambient Lighting: Installing customizable LED lighting strips can give the GLC’s cabin a modern, upscale ambiance.
  2. Backup Camera: If your GLC didn’t come with a factory backup camera, you can have one installed for improved rearward visibility and safety.
  3. Sound System Upgrades: Swapping out the stock speakers and amp for a premium audio setup can dramatically enhance sound quality.
  4. Rear Seat Entertainment: Keep backseat passengers occupied on long trips by adding headrest monitors or tablets.

Many of these upgrades can be bundled together for a full digital cockpit transformation. Discuss your goals and budget with an experienced Mercedes-Benz specialist to explore all the infotainment customization possibilities for your GLC.

 

Closing Thoughts

Adding Apple CarPlay to an older Mercedes-Benz GLC is undoubtedly worth the effort for most owners who rely heavily on their iPhones. The seamless integration and ability to access key apps and features like maps, messaging, music, and Siri hands-free provides immense convenience and improved safety while driving.

While the hardware replacement route via a new head unit is more expensive, it offers a factory-like experience and retains the premium Mercedes look and feel. The software coding hack is more affordable but may have some functional limitations. Weighing the pros and cons of each method is crucial based on your budget and priorities.

Regardless of the path you choose, ensuring the installation is performed by a reputable and experienced professional is paramount. This mitigates potential issues and helps protect your vehicle’s warranty coverage. With proper research and a qualified installer, you can confidently enhance your GLC’s tech capabilities and enjoy the modern comforts of Apple CarPlay. The upfront investment will pay off through years of intuitive iPhone integration on the road.

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Questions About Mercedes GLC 300 Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay is a software feature that allows seamless integration between your iPhone and your vehicle’s infotainment system. By mirroring your iPhone’s interface on the car’s display, CarPlay offers a safer and more convenient way to access your favorite apps, music, maps, and more while on the road. With Siri voice control, you can make calls, send messages, get directions, and control your music without ever taking your hands off the wheel, enhancing safety and providing a more enjoyable driving experience.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC has offered Apple CarPlay as a standard feature on models from 2018 and newer. All 2018 and later GLC models come equipped with the latest COMAND infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. However, if you own a pre-2018 GLC model, your vehicle did not come with Apple CarPlay from the factory, and you will need to explore aftermarket solutions to add this functionality.

There are two main options for adding Apple CarPlay to an older Mercedes-Benz GLC: a full head unit replacement or a software coding hack. A full head unit replacement involves removing the existing infotainment system and installing an aftermarket head unit designed specifically for the Mercedes-Benz GLC, providing a seamless, factory-like integration of Apple CarPlay. The software coding hack involves reprogramming or “coding” the existing infotainment system to unlock and enable CarPlay functionality, which is a more affordable solution but may have some functional limitations and potential warranty implications.

A full head unit replacement is the most expensive route for adding Apple CarPlay to an older GLC, with costs typically ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 for the part alone. On top of that, you’ll need to factor in labor costs from the installation at a Mercedes-Benz dealership or certified third-party shop, which can range from $300 to $800 depending on the complexity of the job and your location. In total, expect to pay between $1,300 and $3,800 for a professional full head unit upgrade with Apple CarPlay.

The software coding hack is a more affordable option for adding Apple CarPlay to an older GLC, with costs ranging from $100 to $300. However, this method may not integrate as seamlessly with the vehicle’s systems, and there is a potential for bugs, glitches, or compatibility issues. Additionally, improperly applied codes could “brick” the infotainment system or cause other glitches, and there’s a risk that future Mercedes software updates may disable the unofficial CarPlay activation. On the plus side, it retains the original head unit and dashboard layout, and it’s a much more budget-friendly solution for those willing to take on the potential risks.

According to discussions on enthusiast forums, coding and software modifications generally do not void the factory warranty as long as they are performed properly and do not cause any damage. However, any hardware modifications, such as replacing the entire head unit, could potentially void certain aspects of the warranty related to that component or system. To mitigate this risk, it’s crucial to work with a reputable and experienced installer who specializes in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and has a deep understanding of the manufacturer’s policies and procedures.

Start your search by asking for recommendations from fellow GLC owners in online forums or local Mercedes-Benz enthusiast groups. When evaluating potential installers, look for those who specialize in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and have experience with infotainment system upgrades. Reputable installers should be able to provide references, examples of their work, and a detailed quote outlining the process and costs involved. Additionally, inquire about the installer’s warranty policy and whether they offer any guarantees on their work.

Whether you opt for the full head unit replacement or the software coding hack, it’s crucial to back up your current system settings and data before proceeding with any upgrades. For the hardware replacement route, most professional installers will handle the backup and restore process as part of their service. If you’re attempting a DIY install, you’ll need to use Mercedes’ DAS (Diagnostic Assistant Service) software to create a complete system backup. For the software coding hack, utilize tools like Abrites Diagnostics for Mercedes to create a backup of your current system configuration, allowing you to revert to your original settings if needed.

Once you’ve successfully added Apple CarPlay to your older Mercedes-Benz GLC, make sure your iPhone is running the latest iOS version and that you have an active data plan or WiFi connection. To connect your iPhone, simply plug it into the USB port using the cable that came with your device. Your GLC’s infotainment system should automatically detect the iPhone and prompt you to enable Apple CarPlay. Follow the on-screen instructions to grant permissions and pair your phone. You can then customize various CarPlay settings, such as dark mode, app layout, and “Hey Siri” voice control activation, to your preferences.

While adding Apple CarPlay is a popular upgrade for GLC owners, there are several other infotainment enhancements to consider, such as ambient lighting, a backup camera, sound system upgrades, and rear seat entertainment systems. Many of these upgrades can be bundled together for a full digital cockpit transformation. Discuss your goals and budget with an experienced Mercedes-Benz specialist to explore all the infotainment customization possibilities for your GLC.

Adding Apple CarPlay to an older Mercedes-Benz GLC provides several benefits, including seamless integration between your iPhone and your vehicle’s infotainment system, access to key apps and features like maps, messaging, music, and Siri hands-free, improved safety by minimizing distractions while driving, and enhanced convenience and enjoyment of your driving experience.

While Apple CarPlay has been a gamechanger for in-car infotainment, Apple has even bigger plans for seamless car integration on the horizon. The next generation of CarPlay, expected to debut in late 2023, promises deeper integration between your iPhone and your vehicle’s hardware displays and systems, allowing for a unified experience where your iPhone essentially becomes the brain of your car’s infotainment and digital cluster systems. Additionally, the growing adoption of Apple’s digital car key technology, which allows you to unlock and start your car using just your iPhone or Apple Watch, is another exciting development in Apple’s automotive tech revolution.

Replacing the entire head unit involves removing the factory-installed infotainment system and installing an aftermarket unit with CarPlay capability. This process requires basic tools like plastic trim removal tools, a wiring harness, and potentially dash disassembly tools depending on the GLC model year. After the upgrade, the interior will have a fresh, modern look with a larger touchscreen display, and the aftermarket head unit will integrate cleanly into the dash while providing enhanced features like wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, improved voice controls, and sleeker aesthetics.

The software coding method requires working knowledge of car coding and Mercedes-specific software, access to a Mercedes diagnostic tool like VDCS or DAS/Xentry, and patience and willingness to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. It involves using specialized coding tools and software to access and modify the car’s computer systems, tweaking certain settings and activating hidden features to enable Apple CarPlay functionality on the existing infotainment system.

Regardless of the upgrade method you choose, always create a comprehensive backup of your current system configuration before proceeding. This simple step can save you from countless headaches and ensure a seamless transition to your new Apple CarPlay-enabled system. Additionally, working with a reputable and experienced professional installer is paramount to mitigate potential issues and protect your vehicle’s warranty coverage.

While the software coding hack is a more affordable option for adding Apple CarPlay to an older GLC, there are some potential drawbacks to consider. Improperly applied codes could “brick” the infotainment system or cause other glitches, and there’s a risk that future Mercedes software updates may disable the unofficial CarPlay activation. Additionally, certain CarPlay features may not work optimally, and graphics could appear distorted.

While a full head unit replacement is a complex process, some experienced GLC owners have successfully attempted a DIY installation. However, it’s important to have some experience with car audio installations and carefully follow guidance from resources like the MBWorld forums. Attempting a complex hardware installation yourself or using an inexperienced technician could increase the chances of voiding your warranty or causing damage to your vehicle.

To protect your warranty when adding Apple CarPlay, it’s crucial to work with a reputable and experienced installer who specializes in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and has a deep understanding of the manufacturer’s policies and procedures. Additionally, keep detailed records of any modifications or upgrades performed on your vehicle, including invoices, receipts, and documentation from the installer. This can help substantiate the work done and potentially prevent any warranty disputes in the future.

When choosing between the hardware and software upgrade options for adding Apple CarPlay to your older Mercedes-Benz GLC, consider factors like your budget, desired features, level of comfort with potential risks, and preference for a factory-approved solution versus a more affordable workaround. The full head unit replacement offers a seamless, premium experience but is more expensive, while the software coding hack is more budget-friendly but may have some limitations and potential compatibility issues.

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