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A New Subaru Software Update Will Help Apple Users But Android Auto Is Left Out For Now

Subaru updated its Starlink Apple CarPlay software for the 2020 Subaru Outback but what about Android users?

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If you are frustrated with Subaru’s Starlink there is good news. Starlink gets a needed software update that will affect the 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy models. One of the main complaints with the new wagon after it received a remodel was the car’s smartphone pairing using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The newly released update should help Apple users run CarPlay in portrait mode.

According to a post on Reddit, an employee of Subaru says the automaker released the software update on June 24. Although the bulletin does not say it will work with Android Auto, the post says the update will be coming soon. Unfortunately, this update will only affect 2020 cars and not older models.

2020 Subaru Outback

Dominick Infante, Subaru of America Director, Corporate Communications, told the update is currently available only via USB through Subaru retailers, but the automaker is aiming for an over-the-air update by the end of July.

The report says Apple users will also benefit from improved Siri response time, turn by turn directions, improvements to the backup camera, shortened satellite radio startup times, improved equalizer settings, and changes to the auto stop-start setting in the shortcut menu.

2020 Subaru Outback

The automaker says Android users should see improved responsiveness with this new software update. But it’s unlikely Android Auto will run in portrait mode yet.

Subaru has had multiple issues with Starlink and just settled a $6.25 million lawsuit affecting 2018 Subaru Forester, 2018 Subaru Outback, 2018 Crosstrek, 2018 Legacy, 2017-2018 Impreza, and 2018 BRZ. A New Jersey Judge signed the order earlier this month that will benefit 785,000 Subaru owners and lessees.

The good news is that the portrait mode is coming to 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy models, first on Apple CarPlay and possibly Android Auto will be updated soon. The bad news is, the update does not affect older Subaru models. Look for a future Torque News report on upcoming Android Auto software updates.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Starlink Lawsuit - New $6.25 Million Agreement Benefits 785,000 Owners

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 and the founder of 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

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Svi Roussanoff (not verified)    July 14, 2020 - 8:14AM

Have they fixed the condensation issues that stops your connection in the ac/heater is running full blast? Every hot day or every cold day when I start the car, about 15 min later the stereo freezes out on me I can't do anything, not even change the volume. It's worse on a road trip. Super unsafe.

John Fischer (not verified)    July 14, 2020 - 12:28PM

In reply to by Svi Roussanoff (not verified)

No idea, I have not seen this issue on any of the forums either. Worth getting upgrade to new firmware though to see if it helps in your case.

John Fischer (not verified)    July 14, 2020 - 9:36AM

Why do the pictures in the article show something other than a 2020 Outback? Why not actually *show* the new functionality in the article? Portrait CarPlay is great on this display, and they fixed most of the other annoyances like constantly losing your EQ settings. This is the software the unit should have come with since day 1.

A sybinsky (not verified)    July 14, 2020 - 1:04PM

What was the starlink settlement abt? I am currently looking at one 2 buy now. Thx

Ed. Gergel (not verified)    July 14, 2020 - 9:06PM

I still lose all my pre sets can't up load repair thru wi fi. & Subaru dealer says not set up to help down load. 2019 crostrek

DustoMan (not verified)    July 14, 2020 - 9:19PM

I think Google would need to enable portrait mode in Android Auto first before a car can take advantage of it.

FoonTheElder (not verified)    July 15, 2020 - 4:41PM

It took my dealer a week working with Subaru to get Starlink to connect on my 2020 Legacy. You would think that after costing them millions in settlements they would get this system right.

Hal Melnick (not verified)    July 24, 2020 - 11:11PM

What is portrait mode for Apple Car play n 2020 Outback Touring model? Will Waze appear larger on the display now. I can barely see the map on the display when in Waze or Maps mode. Here's hoping.

Chupcabra (not verified)    July 25, 2020 - 10:53AM

In reply to by Hal Melnick (not verified)

Yes, portrait mode lets the CarPlay display run in portrait mode! Waze, and all other applications, are much bigger now. It doesn't use the entire screen but most of it. If you use iOS 14 beta, you also get the icon bar moved to the bottom of the screen and they are bigger as well.

Definitely get the firmware upgrade to version 504. You can do it yourself too by going to for instructions. That's how I did mine vs waiting for dealer to do it (or brick it in many cases).

David Karau (not verified)    July 25, 2020 - 8:05PM

I was due for an oil change on my 2020 Outback so I scheduled it for that and the radio update. I had the work done today and the update makes a huge difference when using Apple Maps with apple CarPlay. Navigation now fills more than 2/3rds of the screen. It’s huge! It’s not a static image anymore and it pans and zooms in and out as you drive. It’s truly a premium product now. The start/stop function is now on the shortcut screen so it saves you from navigating through one less screen. The back-up camera now seems to be a higher resolution. Those are the main differences that I’ve noticed.

Hal Melnick (not verified)    August 12, 2020 - 9:14PM

In reply to by Frank (not verified)

Same thing happened to me in NY. The dealers were unaware and resistant. I called Subaru of America and they called the dealer and instructed them about the fix. I am having my Touring's 2020 Outback infotainment update installed by my dealer this Friday. They are grumpy about it but .......SOA says if they give me any further grief on Friday I should phone SOA from the dealer to confirm what has to be done. That is a good thing. There is no wireless over the air upgrade for this 504 upgrade as of yet. It is supposed to come but who knows. Hope my dealer tech people can follow directions. I will bring the directions that I downloaded with me just in case. Here's hoping. I gotta be able to see the streets on WAZE again .

Ahmed (not verified)    August 21, 2020 - 10:48AM

I just purchased a 2018 Forester. Am I SOL on any updates to my Infotainment system to have Apple CarPlay? Is there hope that the update to the 2020 models will eventually be available for any previous models? Really wish I would have read these reviews before I purchased my vehicle. I would have reconsidered....

Martin Shapiro (not verified)    August 21, 2020 - 8:15PM

In reply to by Ahmed (not verified)

I did e over the air update yesterday. It failed to install properly two times. After turning the car off and then turning it back on I found that Starlink was corrupted and would not load. Panel remained black except for the few seconds when it would try to restart. Bricked. I brought it to the dealer. They ordered a new entire infotainment system to install this week. I suggest only letting the dealer do the upgrade

Ahmed Gallab (not verified)    August 24, 2020 - 11:31AM

In reply to by Martin Shapiro (not verified)

Wait... was this update on a 2018 Forester? And did your dealer say he would install a new infotainment system that’s updated to the new one with apple CarPlay? I am at a loss with why the 2018 Forester is the ONLY car that doesn’t have this update? Such an LOL....

Jill (not verified)    August 24, 2020 - 3:46PM

In reply to by Martin Shapiro (not verified)

This same thing happened to me. I have a 2020 Legacy. I did the 'over the air' update and followed the directions to a tee. It said the upload failed so I attempted it again but then the entire system went black. It only works when I use my back up camera. I can't control anything - no radio, no climate control, nothing that gets controlled from the infotainment center works right now. I called Subaru of America and they told me to take it to the dealer to have the computer re-set. They said they released it with a glitch and are now receiving many calls similar to mine. I'm going tonight and hopefully they can fix it. It's torture to not be able to change the air conditioning or heat... or to be able to listen to the radio. I'm so disappointed. I came to this article to see if anyone had a similar experience and found a solution - doesn't seem like it though.

MARTIN SHAPIRO (not verified)    August 24, 2020 - 5:29PM

In reply to by Jill (not verified)

Yes, that's exactly what happened to me. My dealer said they have to replace the infotainment system and am waiting for it to arrive. Please let us know if your dealer is able to reset the computer w/o replacing it. That would be a much better option if it works.

Jill (not verified)    August 25, 2020 - 3:50PM

In reply to by MARTIN SHAPIRO (not verified)

They said they weren't able to fix it last night. They did the same thing as what you said your dealership did. They sent me home and said they ordered a replacement infotainment center & that it should be here in about a week. He said they weren't able to keep the screen on long enough to put the update that is not corrupted on there. The new infotainment center should come with the update already on it, so he told me it should only be a 30 minute appointment to have the replacement installed. So frustrating!

Scott Kirk (not verified)    August 27, 2020 - 2:10PM

Same deal here with my 2020 Outback. Took it in last week and expected to get it this week. I talked to them last night and they said the display is on back order and they don't have an estimate of when it will be here. I'm thinking this hit a lot of people. They are supposed to follow up with me today with the status. Very hot with low ac here in Orlando.

jill (not verified)    August 27, 2020 - 2:57PM

In reply to by Scott Kirk (not verified)

So sorry to hear that. I'll have to check in on Monday to see what they say. That will make a week since I went to the dealer. If you have the app, that has been a workaround that I am using to adjust my climate settings. I start my car from the app and I can adjust the AC from that prior to getting in. Once I'm in, just like yours, I can't change or adjust it at all. Maybe that will help you get by till your screen comes in. Good luck!

Scott Kirk (not verified)    August 28, 2020 - 10:19AM

I would definitely check in to hopefully move things along. I heard back from my dealer last night and they are still waiting for a response from Subaru. They might give me a rental. Is the app through starlink? I don't think it is activated right now and can't get to it because of the display.

David Farrah (not verified)    September 7, 2020 - 5:23PM

I've had nothing but issues with the new infotainment center. Sound cutting out, slow response time, poor design and location of controls on the screen and then a total crash of the system when I tried to install the latest update. This meant the eyesight system didn't work, no cruise control, unable to control temp, fan or location of air flow. Took the better part of a week to get the part and now Android auto isn't even recognized. IMO this is a terrible system and should be replaced entirely.

Scott Kirk (not verified)    September 9, 2020 - 9:39AM

Update. They gave me a rental for a week and ended up replacing the display. Working like a champ and nice that Car Play is now full screen. A pain but enjoying it now.

Martin C Shapiro (not verified)    October 6, 2020 - 7:27PM

In reply to by Scott Kirk (not verified)

They did the same for me. Yeah, it took a while but they gave me a loaner and Subaru has treated me very well. The replacement infocenter has worked very well. I love the car

John Greene (not verified)    October 5, 2020 - 10:47PM

Dennis, for the life of me, why wouldn’t you spell out in greater detail what the 6.2 million dollar Starlinlk settlement is all about. Poor reporting. And in kinda of a related subject, I find the Starlink system on my SUBURU along with Starlink App on my phone totally confusing conceptually and operationally. And don’t get me going about the heating/ac system in the my SUBURU 2020 Outback. What the heck were the SUBURU designers of that system smoking when they created that monster?

William Cosgrove (not verified)    October 7, 2020 - 6:14PM

Cant tell you how disappointing the Infotainment system is in my Outback Touring XT. My 2017 Premium system was simple and did everything I asked of it. Average sound, poor connectivity for my bluetooth and unable to connect to my iPod classic. I was aware of the iPod issue prior to purchase but was assured the USB and Carplay would make up for the issue. It might as well be a jukebox with three records.

I'm hoping the software upgrade at least improves the Apple issue. Other than that, is there an aftermarket solution?

John Chapin (not verified)    November 24, 2020 - 9:50AM

Anyone else having trouble with Outback 2020 beep overload. When driving in the mountains it beeps constantly. When a car appears in front of you it beeps. When the car disappears going around a curve it beeps and when the car reappears it beeps. When your in the center of your lane but going around a curve, it thinks you are going to go out of your lane and it beeps. When the light changes on your face it thinks your eyes are not on the road and beeps. It's driving, pun intended, me crazy.