2016 Subaru Legacy/Outback Mirrorlink Issues (Solved)

Self Driving and Driver Assist Technology

Not a self driving car topic, but I thought it was worth having a thread discussing the Subaru mirrorlink feature. Ever since I used a Garmin unit, I decided I would never pay for a navigation unit in my car again (although sometimes you have to get one now in order to get the other self-driving features you want in some cars – fortunately not Subaru). Then, once I started using Google maps and Waze which has real time traffic adjustments far better than what I had with Garmin, and also Waze has the ability to notify of police and red light cameras, I haven’t bothered with my Garmin any more. I now have a magnet which holds my phone to the vent in the center of the dash. This worked well on my Prius, but not quite as good on the Subaru. Since I like to have my phone plugged in to keep it charging, I find that the phone cord gets in the way of the nice infotainment screen on the new Subaru.

I was excited when I saw that the Subaru comes equipped with Mirrorlink. Simply put, Mirrorlink allows you to display your phone screen directly on the infotainment display screen. In the case of the Subaru Legacy/Outback, the display is a nice 7″ display. Even though the current Mirrorlink requires the phone to be connected by USB, that wouldn’t bother me one bit. I already keep my phone plugged in anyway, and now I could just keep it tucked into the armrest or the storage under the temperature controls. I could keep google maps or Waze on the screen and it would be like having a great navigation unit.

The bad news is that it does not work with almost all of the new phones (solved – see posts below). After trying and trying to get it to work, and reading other forums posts, I came to the conclusion that I probably won’t be able to get it to work. I was hoping that the 2016 Subaru models would have updated the software but they haven’t done that yet. The problem appears to be that the Mirrorlink unit in the Subaru uses Mirrorlink version 1.0. The newer phones user Mirrorlink 1.1 and the two are not compatible. I emailed Subaru asking if they had suggestions, as I can’t even plug my phone into the USB port to charge my phone – it causes my phone to think it is connected to Mirrorlink and the screen goes blank. Obviously, I like to have my phone available for navigation use while I’m driving. Subaru’s response was:

In order for your phone to work with the Mirrorlink function in your vehicle, it must be running Mirrorlink version 1.0., which is the version found in the Subaru head-unit. For these phones you may also have to install the gateway app, like Drive Link, on the phone. Without this app, compatible Mirrorlink devices won’t work. This app is what allows connectivity to the available apps maintained by the Mirrorlink consortium. Once installed, you can see and access the apps offered and maintained by Mirrorlink. Here’s the link for users of android devices: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta … .scm&hl=en.

You can also check for Mirrorlink approved devices and the versions that they are running by visiting http://www.mirrorlink.com .On the home page click on Device Developers/Certified Product Listing.

The latest version of Mirrorlink is version 1.1. This version is not backwards compatible with version 1.0. Subaru engineers are looking into the option of offering a possible update to the current Mirrorlink version found in our vehicles. Such an upgrade may be possible as a firmware update, and we hope to be able to offer this feature in the near future.

So far I have not found a way to run Mirrorlink 1.0 on my Samsung Galaxy S5. I was thinking I could try rooting my phone and install an old android operating system on it, but then I’ll miss out on the features of the newer operating system. It seems people with the Galaxy S3 are able to run Mirrorlink 1.0 and get it to work, but no luck for phones that came out in the last 3 years it seems.

If I find a reasonable solution and/or hear of an update to the Subaru software, I’ll post it here. If you are aware of a fix, please share!