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Tips and advice

What is MirrorLink?

MirrorLink lets you connect your phone to your car. We explain what it is and how it works

what is mirrorlink?

In-car technology has evolved massively over the last few years, and MirrorLink is a prime example of this. MirrorLink is a system that allows you to access your smartphone's features through the car’s own infotainment system while driving.

Smartphone connectivity is becoming a big thing in new cars and is being more widely adopted by manufacturers as they look to retain customers in an increasingly competitive market. 

Whether it’s simply to receive calls while you’re on the move, to use a live navigation system such as Waze or Google Maps to guide you, or perhaps even to listen to podcasts or access other apps through a car’s built-in infotainment system, smartphone connectivity is becoming a key requirement for many people.

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In this guide, we look to inform readers on all things MirrorLink, to help them understand if it could be of benefit to them. Read on to find out more.

What is MirrorLink?

You may be familiar with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which essentially act as substitutes for a car’s own infotainment system and provide similar features and apps. MirrorLink is an alternative to these, and offers another means of linking your phone to your car’s media system.

But while the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay software are made by Google and Apple, respectively, MirrorLink is a non-profit company, with the aim of working with as many different phones as possible. You can check to see if your phone is compatible by using the MirrorLink website

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The benefit of MirrorLink not being tied to a specific company is that a number of different apps can work with it, rather than just those approved by Apple and Google as they are with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But while this may raise concerns for some regarding network safety and privacy, MirrorLink is verified as safe to use because it has met all the standards set by a body called the Car Connectivity Consortium.

Which cars and phones have MirrorLink?

MirrorLink is supported by a number of car manufacturers, with prominent examples including Citroen, Fiat, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes, Subaru, Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda among others. In fact, most manufacturers offer models that can use MirrorLink, but just to be on the safe side, it’s always best to check this with a dealer before purchasing a car if it’s a priority for you.

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The list of phones that are compatible with MirrorLink includes models made by HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung and Sony. Unfortunately, Apple iPhones are not supported – and it’s not known as yet if plans are in place for this to change, given that it is, essentially, a competitor to Apple CarPlay. Additionally, you can purchase aftermarket media systems for your car from Alpine, Bosch, Clarion, Denso, Harman, Panasonic and Pioneer that have MirrorLink.

How does MirrorLink work?

Before we run through how to connect your phone through MirrorLink, it’s worth noting that you’ll need at least one app that’s supported by MirrorLink for it to be able to establish a proper connection. Though the chances are that you’ve already got one of these apps installed, it’s worth having a glance over the official list on the MirrorLink website to be sure.

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  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. Once you’ve found the right option - refer to the handbook if it’s difficult - the MirrorLink display should appear on the screen.
  4. Apps can be selected and accessed using the car’s screen. Voice control systems and the controls on your steering wheel will also work with MirrorLink.
  5. Go ahead and configure your MirrorLink display as you see fit, adjusting your navigation, music, or any useful apps that you may use on your journey.

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 become familiar with 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.

Curious to know more about in-car technology? Why not read our guide to dash cams, or learn the benefits of adopting a black box? 

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Shafiq has had a serial obsession with all things automotive since he experienced his baptism of fire as a seven-year-old in the passenger seat of a fourth-generation Toyota Supra. He then decided to turn this passion into a profession by becoming a double journalism graduate and cutting his teeth at publications like CarThrottle, Electrifying, and The Intercooler.

He now works as a Content Editor at Carbuyer, and looks to keep the nation informed on the latest trends and news in an industry that is embracing its most significant period of change since Bertha Benz’s historic drive in the Patent Motorwagen. 

Shafiq says…

“Whether you’re a traditional enthusiast looking for your next big super saloon or someone who simply wants to find their perfect back-to-basics supermini, there is common ground to be found for both parties right here at Carbuyer. Our goal is simple: to provide you with all the advice and the details that you need to make a calculated decision that satisfies both your head and your heart.”

Shafiq Abidin’s expertise and interests:

  • Mini SUVs
  • Luxury electric saloons
  • Used performance cars

Shafiq Abidin’s top tips for car buyers:

  1. So often, buyers have their hearts set on a particular colour combination or specific cabin details. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a willingness to compromise on trim and design will often pave the way for big savings. At the end of the day, buyers should first and foremost be looking at whether or not a car satisfies their needs, and only secondarily on the more materialistic things.
  2. Having a full log of service stamps and the entire documented history of a used car is everything you need to understand how its life has been lived. Where one car may have just 10,000 miles on the odometer, but has been plagued with issues over its lifespan, another with 50,000 miles could be completely trouble-free – it’s all an indication as to how its previous owners have treated it. Remember, you’re not just buying that car, but you’re also taking on the responsibilities of what its former owners have done with it, so it’s paramount that you don’t underestimate the value of good maintenance.
  3. Do you really need that bigger, more powerful engine? These days, even the mid-level options for a particular model range provide everything you need to make a statement while retaining a large portion of the economy provided by the more ‘boring’ option. Fuel isn’t going to get any cheaper, and finding the right balance is key to ensuring that you won’t be spending more than you’d be happy to.

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