2017 Audi A3 map update

Wanted to update the maps in my car’s navigation system. To Audi’s credit they provide twice-yearly upgrades via a variety of methods, some free. (Sadly they don’t seem to have any way to update the MMI firmware though). The map updates are badly documented, so here’s the details.

First, the easy options that cost money. You can pay the dealer to do it. Or you can pay for the Audi Connect service (the cellular data for your car) and updates come over the air.

Now the free manual option. Discussed here, also see this video. It’s not hard or scary, the only real nuisance is their Java download program. Detailed walkthrough:

Downloading update

  1. Log in to myAudi.
  2. Click the “Audi connect services” button. I had a lot of trouble with their SSO redirects, maybe related to my ad blockers and privacy stuff.
  3. On the Audi Connect website go to Services / Map Update and select “Complete Package”, then click the “Prepare Package” button.
  4. Download the map update! Ha ha just kidding. Download a tiny JNLP file for Java Web Start to run a download program that Audi requires you use.
  5. Run the JNLP program. I managed finally by enabling it in the Java control panel (Security / Enable Java content for browser and Web Start applications) and then running “javaws foo.jnlp” from a command line. Perhaps there’s an easier way.
  6. Wait for the download. The full US maps were about 11GB.
  7. The download program creates four files. Two small files: one named metainfo2.txt and one named randomhexstring.md5. And two directories with the data: Mib1 and Mib2. Apparently all 4 are necessary for an update.
  8. Copy the 4 to the root directory of a FAT32 system on an SD card. (A USB drive will work as well.)

Installing update

  1. Go to the car and put the SD card in one of the slots for the MMI. (I used SD2).
  2. Turn the MMI on. (I do this by turning the radio on, not the ignition).
  3. Go to Settings / System Maintenance / Version info to check the versions of things on your system already. This shows the MMI software version (0694 for me) and some basic navigation database info; you have to navigate to the Navigation database submenu to see all the databases you have. My car had about 20 2016/2017 databases for North America, plus a single 2017/2018 for USA, Region 4 (California, where I live). That was an OTA update I got right after buying the car.
  4. Go to Audi Connect and select “Software update”. Select the source you plugged in (SD2 for me) and it begins. It takes awhile, about 30 minutes for me.
  5. Leave the car and close the door. Lights will turn off but the MMI will continue to be running with the screen lit and updating. Eventually the screen will close and it seems to keep updating. Hopefully none of this drains the battery too much. The update is automatic and requires no extra input
  6. Once it finishes you may have to enter a single click  to acknowledge the update.
  7. Go back to Version info to check the version numbers. Now all my car’s maps are labelled “2018”. Success!

Of course I’m curious about the contents of the update files but couldn’t find a lot of info. Mib1 has a directory named “Eggnog” and Mib2 has “Truffles”; internal product names? Mib1’s datafiles seem to be named “.psf” and Linux guesses some (but not all) are FoxPro FPT files, which seems plausible. Mib2 is mostly compressed data I couldn’t figure out, which some small SQLite tables without much interesting it. Probably all proprietary data, of course, and if they’re smart it’s encrypted too to prevent casual snoops like me from lifting all the data out.

Shame Audi doesn’t also let you upgrade MMI firmware. Mine has a bug where it’s limited to indexing 10,000 music files. Admittedly that’s a lot of music, but it’s a nuisance if you just want to copy all the music you own into the car. Static array sizes: not even once!

One thought on “2017 Audi A3 map update

  1. heh static array sizes remind me of the old joke that programmers only know three numbers: 0, 1, and infinite.

Comments are closed.