Introducing MirrorLink™

An overview of the next wave of smartphone interactivity


Matt Freeman

A circuitous path, involving England, New York, rural Michigan, Indiana, and lots of parts in between brought Matthew Freeman to Charlottesville, where he's been writing about mobile audio/video for Crutchfield off and on since early 2000. He fosters an eclectic taste in film, and is fond of a wide range of music. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he found his way to the University of Notre Dame, where, in an act of charity unsurpassed in the history of Western civilization, he was given a B.A. in English.

More from Matt Freeman

If you’re like most people these days, you’ve made your smartphone your source for … well, pretty much everything. You store music on it, do things like get directions with it, and sometimes even make phone calls with it. So it’s only natural that you’d want to tap into it when you’re on the road.

MirrorLink diagram

With your phone connected and its MirrorLink friendly app launced, you’ll see its interface replicated on your receiver's screen. That’s your gateway to functions like your music, app-based GPS, and Bluetooth functionality.

It's easy for car electronics manufacturers to develop hardware and software that'll help their stereos connect to and control your iPhone® — there's only one platform they need to worry about. Working with Android™ and other systems presents a much greater challenge. With so many hardware and software platforms to contend with, it's been impossible to develop one simple solution for in-dash control.

To help solve this problem, nearly 100 electronics, phone, and vehicle manufacturers joined together to form the Car Connectivity Constortium. The goal: to create an industry-standardized system to provide in-car control over a wide range of smartphones using a wide range of stereo systems. The result: MirrorLink.

Your smartphone, your receiver, and MirrorLink — working in perfect three-part harmony

MirrorLink is designed to provide easy-to-use in-dash control over compatible smartphones. The system needs three elements to do its thing: a compatible in-dash receiver, a compatible smartphone, and an app that works with MirrorLink. The system works like this:

  • Download the app (prices vary) to your compatible phone. Launching the app provides a simplified graphical interface that’s ideal for use in the car, because it's easy to see at a glance, and much easier to use.
  • Connect your phone to the receiver. This can sometimes require a special cable or interface.
  • Launch the app on your phone, and tap the MirrorLink icon in the receiver’s source menu. The optimized carmode menu will appear on your receiver’s screen.

And that’s it. You’re ready to rock. You’ll be able to use your in-dash receiver to access the music stored on your phone, engage select navigation apps, and more. You’ll also be able to use your receiver's hands-free calling, if it has Bluetooth® connectivity built in. MirrorLink even offers up the “menu,” “home,” and “back” buttons you’re used to using.

What about Apple devices?

Apple devices (iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch) do not work with MirrorLink. That's because most stereos already work with Apple devices via the USB cable. MirrorLink is designed to be the bridge for all of the OTHER smartphones – eventually.

So, will my phone and receiver work with MirrorLink?

The Car Connectivity Consortium is currently working with its members to certify phones and receivers for use with MirrorLink. While the MirrorLink system has been in use in certain factory stereos in Europe, the list of compatible U.S.-based receivers and smartphones keeps growing — you can search for MirrorLink compatible products on MirrorLink's website.

Last updated August 03, 2015
  • mr burns from united kingdom

    Posted on 6/11/2015 2:52:19 PM

    does vodafone 785 work with MirrorLink

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/12/2015 10:03:29 AM

    Mr. Burns, the Vodafone 785 does not appear on MirrorLink's list of compatible phones.

  • Julian from Rotterdam NL

    Posted on 6/26/2015 2:31:58 AM

    Dear Sir, I have a small question, regarding Honda Civic Tourer 2014- European Car model. Do you know if the SD navigation which I have is compatible with MirrorLink system? or if is any way to connect? Thank you very much in advance, Julian

  • Daniel from United States

    Posted on 7/8/2015 9:13:52 AM

    Will this work with my Iphone 6 and my 2016 Mazda CX5?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/8/2015 10:14:52 AM

    Daniel, MirrorLink is designed for use with Android phones. If you're interested in next-level iPhone integration, check out Apple CarPlay.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/8/2015 10:23:21 AM

    Julian, our research is limited to vehicles sold within the United States. However, you may be able to find more information on the MirrorLink site, which does include information on European vehicles.

  • Brandon

    Posted on 7/14/2015 10:41:15 PM

    How does a mirror link cable differ from the cable I plug my phone into to charge?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/15/2015 11:56:35 AM

    Brandon, in some cases, there may be no difference. In other cases, you may need a specialized cable. If you're looking at a receiver with MirrorLink, be sure to check our "Details" tab to find out what is required for MirrorLink connectivity in that specific case. If it does end up being a type-A USB to type-B microUSB cable like many Android phones use for charging, etc., keep in mind you may want a spare cord to keep in your car for quick and easy access. Often, MirrorLink is only accessible through a rear input on your receiver.

  • Tristan Garrett from Houston

    Posted on 7/17/2015 4:02:05 AM

    How does it work

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/17/2015 1:32:23 PM

    Tristan, MirrorLink uses a wired connection between your Android smartphone and your receiver. The cable required may vary, so if you're interested, be sure to check the Details tab for your receiver of choice. The end result is that your phone screen is mirrored on your receiver screen. MirrorLink gives you a simplified menu for touchscreen access on your receiver to the most essential apps on your phone.

  • Nick Bradford from Atlanta

    Posted on 8/2/2015 8:46:17 PM

    I'm not seeing any indication of Windows Phone being a possibility for usage with MirrorLink in the near future. Is there any detail you can provide to show there is a chance for the Windows Phone OS, and if not, what all is involved with getting the app certified and ready to be used with MirrorLink?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/3/2015 2:50:12 PM

    Nick, the only information we have is what is provided on MirrorLink's official website. That's where you'll find any news about compatible phones and updates to MirrorLink.

  • Derek from Toronto

    Posted on 8/3/2015 8:08:10 PM

    Will mirrorlink work with the galaxy S2 ?

  • Aaron from Newburgh

    Posted on 8/3/2015 9:27:39 PM

    Will your car stereo's with mirror link still work with the radio controls built into the car steering wheel? Specifically, I have a Toyota Prius and I like just hitting the plus button to go to the next song in the list or the steering wheel mounted volume controls.

  • Ken Nail from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/4/2015 10:06:04 AM

    If you purchase a new car stereo you'll need an adapter to allow your steering wheel controls to work with it. The adapter will let you continue to use existing functions (volume, track selection, etc.). Since MirrorLink operates to "mirror" what's on the display of your phone, your existing steering wheel controls won't have any control over that. You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on what adapter is required to keep your steering wheel controls.

  • Kalpesh Mewada from Ahmadabad - India

    Posted on 8/19/2015 10:32:06 PM

    Sony Xperia Z 2 is not connecting with Fujitsu Ten Head Unit. Only one msg 'connecting to headunit '

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/20/2015 12:32:25 PM

    Kelpesh, your best bet is to contact Fujitsu tech support. Good luck!

  • Cynthia Harrison from Greenville

    Posted on 9/6/2015 9:22:17 AM

    I have a 2014 honda odyessy, is this compatible if you dont have the option to watch a movie?

  • maceo from st.Paul mn

    Posted on 9/7/2015 4:22:36 PM

    How do I download the mirror link app to my Microsoft smart phone so I can use the services on my pioneer car stereo

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/8/2015 1:39:04 PM

    Cynthia, if you don't have a MirrorLink-compatible stereo with a touchscreen monitor, you will not be able to use MirrorLink. If you'd like to upgrade your stereo, just give us a call.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/8/2015 2:52:46 PM

    Maceo, first make sure that your phone is compatible with MirrorLink. If your Pioneer receiver is compatible as well you may need to download a Pioneer-specific MirrorLink app (check your manual) which you'll find in your phone's app store. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system.

  • Lawrence Cohen from Mont Vernon

    Posted on 9/11/2015 1:39:37 PM

    Hi Alexander, Do applications installed on the phone (assuming it has a compliant version of mirrorlink) need to be "mirrorlink certified" to run on the cars receiver (again assuming a compliant mirrorlink client) ? Or can we expect that any app to run ... but perhaps in a less car friendly mode? Thanks ! -Larry

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/11/2015 2:10:39 PM

    Lawrence, your first thought is the right one. MirrorLink does not support all the apps on your phone, but rather a shortlist of compatible apps that fit into the categories of music, maps, and phone. App compatibility will depend on your receiver and your phone. For an idea of what you may be able to use, do a "mirrorlink" search in your phone's app store.

  • AJ A. from Gainesville

    Posted on 10/15/2015 6:58:24 PM

    Is there A way to connect without a wire?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/16/2015 9:05:14 AM

    AJ, no, you'll always need a wired connection.

  • Murali Vasanthi from Erode

    Posted on 11/10/2015 5:13:40 AM

    will here maps work in mirrorlink?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/10/2015 6:19:05 AM

    Murali, for more information on MirrorLink, you can visit their website.

  • Andra from Tallinn

    Posted on 11/17/2015 5:15:57 AM

    Does Sony Xperia M4 Aqua (Android 5.0) work with MirrorLink? I can't see it on the list - also other newer Sony phones are missing from the list. Doesn't it support newer phones?

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/20/2015 1:25:58 PM

    Andra, I don't see that phone on MirrorLink's list either. Your best bet is to ask the MirrorLink people directly if they have any plans to include your phone. You can contact them here.

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