MINI Reboots its MINI Connected App With Less Functionality & More Sophistication

A month ago MINI released its new brand strategy focused on a less is more philosophy and a higher degree of sophistication. While the 2016 Clubman was held up as an example of this, the first tangible piece of the strategy to hit the market will be a completely redesigned MINI Connected App. Gone are the superfluous features that have littered the app for years. Instead we have a very focused set of functionality that seeks to solve a few key problems in a simple and effective way. The new app replaces the old MINI Connected and will be available on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store as a free update.

Official Release: After five years, the MINI Connected app is undergoing a major relaunch, with the new version available to download from mid-August. The design follows the same principles applied to the brand’s realignment as recently revealed, meaning that the focus has been clearly placed on the essentials. In the same way as the brand has now adopted a much more pared-down overall approach, MINI Connected will in future concentrate on driving-related functions.

From now on, the MINI Connected App will comprise the following features:

  • MINI Streetwise
  • The basic functions Status, Apps and Profile
  • Online Search
  • Sports Instruments and Force Meter
  • Calendar

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MINI Streetwise: the new central feature of the MINI Connected app.

MINI Streetwise, the MINI Connected app’s new application, lets users display the best route on their smartphone before the journey has even started. For this purpose, the app makes use of personal driving data together with the user’s own past journeys, and shows information such as journey duration and fuel consumption. The application determines the current location and displays all destinations recorded to date and the best routes on the smartphone. If several drives to the same destination have already been recorded, MINI Streetwise will calculate the user’s personal best route as the recommended option. Clicking on the destination pin calls up the estimated time of arrival together with alternative routes, including data such as distance, journey duration and fuel consumption. Users can choose to have the places displayed on a map or as a list. This same information can also be visualised in the Centre Instrument once the smartphone has been connected to the MINI. Drivers therefore always have a clear recommendation for the best way to get from A to B.

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The other menu items in the MINI Connected app at a glance.

The vehicle’s location, fuel level, potential range and the last journey recorded can be found under the menu item “Status”. Clicking on the location opens a map view showing the route to the parked car. All available and installed apps are listed under “Apps”, providing users with a quick summary of all the applications that can be used in the vehicle via MINI Connected, as well as the third-party apps that are available for their MINI in the App Store or are already installed on the smartphone and linked to the vehicle. In addition to this there is the “Profile” menu item, where users can enter a name for themselves or their MINI, upload a photo and call up their personal driving statistics, including total distance, total driving time and average consumption. Finally, users will find all app information and MINI Connected tutorials under “Information”.

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MINI Connected comes with the performance-oriented vehicle apps Sports Instruments and Force Meter.

The Sports Instruments and Force Meter applications can be called up directly in the MINI Centre Instrument to display performance data. Sports Instruments shows engine data including rev speed, torque, engine temperature and current engine output. The Force Meter application, meanwhile, visualises all accelerating forces on the screen while on the move, using graphics to indicate the current longitudinal and lateral acceleration in sectors surrounding a virtual MINI in the centre of the display.

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Online Search and Calendar complete the range of MINI Connected features.

Online Search can be used to quickly find places and addresses while in the car and transfer them straight to the optional MINI navigation system for route planning. It is possible to place phone calls directly from the Online Search function as well, for instance to make a reservation in a restaurant. MINI Connected also allows the vehicle to connect to the smartphone’s calendar. All appointments and the to-do list are then shown in the vehicle display, together with details such as attendees, phone numbers and addresses, and can be imported into the navigation system as destinations, while calls can be placed directly via the vehicle’s hands-free system.

  • RakSiam

    Android version only compatible with the new Hatch. Lots 1-star reviews.

    • r_k_w

      Ratings for the iPhone version are just as bad. MINI Connected has nowhere to go but up. They will celebrate if they can achieve a 3 star rating.

  • Eddie Cosme

    Looks more like an update to “MINI Connected XL Journey Mate” than “MINI Connected.” No love for the older app that is still used by cars they currently sell (Countryman, Paceman, and Convertible). Would love it if they updated this app too since I drive a ’13 R56 MCS. At the very least give me back Google send to car!

    • VYPUR

      Eddie you can use the send to car function in the Journey Mate app. I use it all the time and works great. You can in the phone just click send to app and it will be there. Tried to upload photo but says file is too big. I can send it to you thru facebooknif you want to see it.

      • Eddie Cosme

        Are you saying the Journey Mate app works with the 2nd Gen MINIs? Last time I tried it did not 🙁

        • VYPUR

          My bad….not sure I have a F56

  • bratling

    Whither Spotify?

    • Yeah, I’m also curious about Spotify, Audible, Pandora, etc. I’m assuming all of those would stay active in Mini Connected similar to how they are now. I’d also like to see an update to better support Apple Music/iTunes Radio Stations. Apple Music works pretty great in my 2015 MCS, but if you don’t make the new Apple Music songs you add to your library available offline (downloaded to the phone) the album art won’t show via Bluetooth or Snap-In Adapter on my iPhone 6. Radio stations sorta work like Beats One but the track listing is just the current title repeated over and over (They should make it work like how Radio does in the Spotify app). Hope they keep some of the driving excitement stuff like XP gains based on acceleration, braking, and cornering. They are kind of neat to mess around with and give it a little bit of that MINI character.

  • Sal

    Going to miss Mission Control. It was always fun to show passengers your car could speak to you.

    • VYPUR

      Me too

  • Justin

    I know this article isn’t about the ascetics But here’s a thought; Why not get rid of the wasted space above the screen by making it actual screen itself and relocate those buttons. Maybe add a “virtual” dial style speedometer screen option to keep the retro look? It just seems to me that it’s a bit of a contradiction to have all this cool technology (which I love and think the car is better with) look like an afterthought by putting a rectangular screen in a large round space.

  • r_k_w

    This is only a stopgap measure until they have to dump the system for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Apple and Android systems will take hold very rapidly and BMW/MINI will be scrambling when they find themselves at a marketing disadvantage.

    • Joey

      why should that be? All essential stuff I need is already there at good speed, great resolution (F56). I don’t need touch screens (though this will come in addition to the existing controller), or fancy stuff – i have this on my phone

      • Jason

        Because the apple and android systems simply things by just taking your phone screen and putting it on your car screen. There’s no need for the car manufacturers to spend countless R&D resources to design a system on their own when apple carplay does it much simpler.

        • Stephen Curry

          As previously stated, MINI seems to be wandering in the wilderness with its app. I’m ready for CarPlay.

        • While this does make sense and is in some way inevitable, car companies are loath to give up the branding in the interface. But, as we all see, the car manufacturers are ready bad at digital interface design so they have really opened the door to iOS and Android. They’ve lost the war already, whether they know it or not.

  • robble

    Wait.. Is driving excitement going to go bye bye?? If so I might not update the app.