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After A 6-Month Wait, The Subaru Outback Touchscreen Update Is Finally Here

When will the 2020-2022 Subaru Outback software update be available? It's finally here for Outback owners; check the details.


After six months of waiting, Subaru has finally released a software update for the 2020-2022 Subaru Outback. Check out the details here. The new update makes the Outback touchscreen easier to navigate and control than the previous version but only has some capabilities of the 2023 Outback.

Subaru changed the newly-refreshed 2023 Outback's touchscreen, and now some features are available for 2020-2022 Outback midsize SUVs. The update also included the 2020-2022 Subaru Legacy, which uses the same multimedia display screen.

2020-2022 Subaru Outback software update

The Outback's infotainment touchscreen update includes easier heating and A/C controls, one-touch heated seat controls, and an AVH or "Auto Vehicle Hold" feature shortcut. The AVH holds your car in place when it comes to a stop.

In the video below from Alex Prestigiacomo (Bachman Subaru), he covers the Subaru touch screen update that is now available for 2020-2022 Subaru Outback midsize SUVs. This retroactive update makes the Subaru 11.6" infotainment touchscreen look and performs similarly to the newly-updated 2023 touchscreen.

2020-2022 Subaru Outback software update

How do you get the new Outback touchscreen update?

You can reference the technical service bulletin (TSB) when talking with your Subaru service department: 2020-2022 Outback/Legacy: TSB 15-261-20R - March 13th, 2023. The updated link is here. This update is from March 2023 for North American Subaru Outback models (Canada and US only).

The new update offers some 2023 Outback system features.

David Meltzer, who works at a Subaru retailer, says, "The new Outback update added new features but not everything the 2023 and 2024 can do. Think of it like an iPhone each fall. While an iOS update adds some new features, it does not add them all. For that, you need a new phone. The same thing here applies to the 202-2022 Outback update. In 2023, Subaru added more features because the system, which was CP 1.0, is now CP 1.5."

The 2023 Outback added Wireless CarPlay, Android Auto, and full-screen Android Auto. Meltzer says, "And while the over-the-air update is available in this car, this particular update was too big for that and does require dealership installation. One of the most underutilized features in this car is voice commands. So many things people do by touch can be done by voice command. On the 2023 version CP 1.5, the voice commands are extended to control the heated seats. The CP 1.0, even with the new features, cannot do that."

Subaru's new CP 1,5 system has been added to the 2023 WRX and 2023 Ascent. In addition, it's available on the next-generation 2024 Impreza and 2024 Crosstrek.

The 2020-2022 Subaru Outback touchscreen update should take about one hour to complete. Now improvements will include some of those in the 2023 Outback model year.

The update showcased in the video below was performed on a 2022 Outback Wilderness, but it's the same for all Outback trim levels.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru


Tim (not verified)    April 23, 2023 - 12:51PM

It took that long to make basically 2 software changes/ updates?
How about the 3-4-5 second lag time between button pushes? How about 5-8 minutes of “searching “ for XM stations when you just had a connection before you stopped and restarted?

Pamela Roan-Gelskey (not verified)    April 28, 2023 - 9:07AM

In reply to by Laura Burton (not verified)

There is an item that can be purchased & installed to override making it necessary to turn it off every time the vehicle is started. It is $99.99 & there is a Youtube video that addresses installation.

Hans Rudolph (not verified)    April 24, 2023 - 1:02PM

Thanks for the info on the update thats available for our 2020 Subaru Outback. Your for clear precise to the point and gave us the information needed to get updated touchscreen information. Thanks and great work.

Pam Calegari (not verified)    April 24, 2023 - 5:39PM

Hi Denis ~ I just got off the phone with my Subaru dealership (Royal Moore, Hillsboro, OR) who was adamant that they do not do this update "it's up to the customer to do". He explained that the only way he could do it is if we are currently having trouble with our screen, I spoke excitedly about all the cool new updates that would make my driving so much more enjoyable, then he went on to say that he doesn't recommend it due to display freezing, delayed response of rear view camera, etc., etc. Jeez. Maybe I should call another dealership. Have you heard from anyone who has had a similar response from their service department? Many thanks!!

Brian (not verified)    August 4, 2023 - 10:52AM

In reply to by Pam Calegari (not verified)

I just had this exact same issue. Even when I pointed out the fail code listed in the bulletin to use for the warranty claim. They even said it doesn’t really change anything on the screen. I laughed and then told them everything that is changed in the update which caused them to take a step back. Eventually I just had to say something like “My CarPlay keeps disconnecting” before they would do it. This seems to happen with any warranty claim. If there’s no money coming out of my pocket then they will try anything and everything to not do it.

Kenneth (not verified)    April 24, 2023 - 5:39PM

Performed this update on my mid Legacy 2020. Everything mentioned is confirmed BUT, like other owners have reported, it did NOT come with full screen Android Auto support. The wait continues ...

Russell Casey (not verified)    May 19, 2023 - 11:06PM

Did the update myself on my 22 XT Touring. Went smoothly and pleased with the updated features. Just wish they would enhance the functionality of the navigation system. FYI, I also did the newest map updates in a separate update.

Lothar Erkens (not verified)    May 21, 2023 - 8:12PM

How come my '22 Outback frequently changes the radio station when parked with the engine off? And it's always the same station, one I do not have as a preset station, but it very popular around my area. Is the AI self aware and has different music taste then I or is Subaru being paid by networks to change the station to get more ears listening to their commercials? This is the first car I have ever driven which does this on a regular basis.