What is MirrorLink?
MirrorLink lets you connect your phone to your car. We explain what is is and how it works
MirrorLink is a system that lets you use certain features of your smartphone while you’re driving via the car’s infotainment system. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
If you’re buying a new car, it’s likely you’ll want and expect it to have smartphone connectivity - whether that’s simply to receive calls while on the move, or to use maps, podcasts or other apps through the car’s own infotainment system. MirrorLink sits alongside the popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a way to link your phone to your car’s media system.
While the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay software is made by Google and Apple respectively, MirrorLink is non-profit software, with an aim of working with as many different phones as possible (you can check compatibility on the MirrorLink website).
Since MirrorLink is not tied to a specific company, all kinds of apps work - rather than just the ones approved by Apple or Google. Yet it’s still safe to use because all have to meet standards set by a body called the Car Connectivity Consortium.
Which cars and phones have MirrorLink?
Car makers that support MirrorLink in their cars include Citroen, Fiat, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes, Subaru, Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda. Phones made by HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung and Sony are supported. Apple iPhones aren’t supported - you’ll have to use Apple CarPlay instead.
You can also buy aftermarket media systems for your car from Alpine, Bosch, Clarion, Denso, Harman, Panasonic and Pioneer that have MirrorLink.
How does MirrorLink work?
Let’s run through how to get connected with MirrorLink on your car. Note that in order for MirrorLink to work, you’ll need at least one app that’s supported. Chances are high that you already have many installed, but you can check the list on the official website to be sure.
Once in your car and with the ignition on or engine running, plug your phone into the car’s USB port with a USB cable (be aware that some cheaper cables may not work). In some cars you can connect with Bluetooth as well. In many models a menu will pop up on the screen asking you whether you want to use Android Auto, Apple CarPlay or MirrorLink - just select the one you want. If this doesn’t happen, navigate to the correct option using the menus in the car’s media system.
Once you’ve found the right option - refer to the handbook if it’s difficult - the MirrorLink display should appear on the screen. Apps can be selected and used using the car’s screen. Voice control systems and the controls on your steering wheel will also work with MirrorLink.
Using MirrorLink Apps
The MirrorLink name suggests that the system might mirror your phone screen onto the car’s, but this isn’t the case. Instead it’s displayed in a way that’s safer and easier to use while driving. Not all your apps will appear, as some won’t be approved for use in this way.
Many of your favourite apps will work - just click on them and get used to using them before you set off. Some interesting apps that you might also want to add to your phone include Parkopedia, where you can find parking spaces nearby, or Glympse, which allows you to send your position to friends or family so they can track your journey.
There are all sorts of apps available for smartphones that work with MirrorLink - the official website has them all so you can find ones that suit you there.
Read our guide to Vauxhall's Intellilink infotainment system here.