Installing Android Auto / Apple Carplay retrofit in Mazda CX3

I just finished installing the Android Auto / Apple CarPlay retrofit kit into my 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD. It’s sweet! The process to get it installed was a learning experience for me.

The CX-3 is not as popular as its bigger brother the CX-5 and therefore there wasn’t nearly as much information on how to do the retrofit. Of great help were various posts over at CX3 forum and this youtube video.

The steps to accomplish the retrofit are as follows, taken from the official Mazda guide

  1. Update Mazda firmware to latest 70.00+ version
    1. Firmware can be found here
  2. Remove glove compartment
  3. Remove Audio Panel 1
  4. Remove Audio Panel 2
  5. Remove Central display
    1. Be careful here. This will scratch up your dashboard. Do not ignore recommendations to lay down protective tape/other layer
  6. Remove Center Console Tray (or, in my case, the armrest attachment)
  7. Remove shift bezel
  8. Remove upper panel
  9. Remove/detach shift panel (Removal not necessary)
    1. I didn’t want to undo the shift knob, so I just unplugged the panel and rotated the whole assembly to the side. It was enough for the installation – no removal required.
  10. Remove console side panels
  11. Remove front console box
  12. Remove DVD/CD Player (if installed)
    1. Removal keys were not easy to find. I ended up using two small cutting knives I found in my kitchen. Insert into keyholes, angle them slightly, and pull.
  13. Remove Front Console
  14. Remove old USB hub from front console
  15. Replace USB hub in front console
  16. Wrap wiring in foam
  17. Route wiring and add zip ties
  18. Replace components in reverse order from how you removed them

The biggest challenges for me were the armrest and CD player. The rest of it was pretty straightforward. Here are some pictures of the process:

Mazda CX3 CMU removal
CX3 bezel removal
CX3 upper panel removed
CX3 front console removed
CX3 everything removed

14 thoughts on “Installing Android Auto / Apple Carplay retrofit in Mazda CX3”

  1. thank you for this post!! I am about to attempt this on my 2016 Mazda CX-3 GT hoping it would go smoothly. Question , Do you believe removal of all those parts were necessary in order to refit the new wiring or do you feel that you could have done the same install with less parts removed?
    Thank You in advance

    1. Glad I can help! I read about a method where you can simply drill out the old USB hub. Then all you would need to do is remove the CMU and glovebox and fish the wire down and around. I was not confident in my drilling abilities so I opted to follow the installation manual.

      1. i drilled out the usb hub. no problem, used 1/8th inch drill bill. my hub cleared customs and arrives thursday

  2. Hi,

    Great guide! Looking to do the same to my 2015 Mazda 2. How difficult was it to remove the armrest and do you have any tips? I to am not confident in my drilling ability so this seems to be the way to go for me.


    1. In my case removing the armrest was pretty easy – take off protective plastic caps (I lost one of mine after removal – d’oh!) then unscrew & remove bolt, then lift upward and the whole thing came off. You will probably need to pry some plastic clips off as well. Good luck!

  3. I only need to remove the side red leather part where your legs rest during drive. What is the easiest way to remove them? Do I need to teardown everything to get to them? Thanks is advance

    1. Yes unfortunately they clip into the pieces above and below them. You need to remove everything on top of them in order to remove them.

  4. Thank You! It was very helpful!
    Do You have all interior part remove/install guide? Can You tell me where can I find that guides? I want to change the white leather decor on the dashboard to black. Thanks!

  5. Nicholas, I am motivated by your post and now I want to do same on my mazda 3.
    I cant find a PDF trim removal on a mazda 3 2017 (MT) wanted to ask if you could post a link for the PDF.
    Thank you for the content you created and shared with everyone!

  6. Can you add a little more about what you were actually trying to do? Maybe I need to read your references but though I’m sure this article will be helpful to many, just reading it on its own there’s a little missing context.

    You’re trying to replace a USB hub and some wiringv in order to get your infotainment unit to run Android?

    1. Hi, this is an article on how I got Android Auto/Apple Carplay working in my car. Android Auto & Apple Carplay allow you to connect your Android/Apple phone to the car and control your phone through the car’s interface system (screen/buttons/etc) It’s better than bluetooth because there are a lot more options, such as visual maps.

      To retrofit this for my car I had to replace the USB hub (so it can provide enough power) as well as update the software of the car’s entertainment system to support it.

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