Modern cars have to be safe, beautiful, but also keep up with modern technology. That includes smartphones and apps. Navigation or entertainment systems are a reminiscence of a past era. That means that when a car is launched, drivers use their phones to use some of the features.

However, when you drive, you shouldn’t use your phone. It is distracting and can lead to an accident. This is why modern cars incorporate an interface. Thanks to this, your car uses the great technology of your phone. Phone apps appear on the car’s infotainment screen. You can control all the functions using buttons and microphones located on your phone. That means you can use all the best apps without any risk.

Android auto system - full study

Quick Links

What Is Android Auto?

Google created a system called Android Auto. This technological solution connects your phone with your car. Thanks to that, you can see some options from your phone on the screen of the infotainment display of your car.

Not all the options and apps are displayed on the infotainment system. It’s to make it easier and safer to operate with the Android system while driving. Thanks to that, you can also reach apps you might need, for example, navigation, phone calls, and music much faster.

Do All New Cars Have Android Auto System?

Buying a new car doesn’t mean you are going to receive Android Auto in the price. Some carmakers don’t include this option. Others make it an expensive additional option or even ask for a subscription fee. Apple CarPlay works the same way – a similar system that operates on Apple phones.

Even though the options are still limited, more and more cars come with Android Auto System. The demand for this option is growing, so carmakers want to meet customers’ needs. For example, Mitsubishi removed the built-in navigation on some of their models, as they know that customers prefer using their phones to navigate. Connecting a smartphone is simple and has navigation with constant updates, as the Google one is much more accurate.

Advantages of Android Auto

One of the biggest advantages of the Android Auto system is that all apps are always updated (read here how to keep them updated). You don’t have to wait for a new update of your built-in navigation or worry that the map is not going to show you the place of an accident or a traffic jam. Android Auto embraces all new data and developments.

Maps and apps that are on your phone can locate brand-new roads. They can also warn you about potholes and speed traps. Some apps even have a sat-nav system, thanks to which you can see real-time traffic.

Let’s be honest. Car manufacturers work mostly on developing car technologies. This is why small electronic devices that come with them are not the main priority. On the other hand, your phone brand constantly works on delivering the most accurate information and the most advanced solutions. You don’t have to reach for an out-of-date infotainment system when you can see brand new maps and recently updated music streams.

Not only your Android phone is updated. The Android Auto system also has regular updates. Thanks to that, your simplified layout is always accurate. You can see it with the navigation icon and follow turn-by-turn directions while using maps.

What Do I Need to Use the Android Auto?

It is very simple: you need a smartphone with the Android operating system. It has to be the Lollipop or above version of Android. Of course, you also have to have a car with Android Auto. Then you can connect your mobile with the streamlined user interface.

What Do I Need to Use the Android Auto


How Is It Different From Just Using My Phone?

While being developed, Android Auto was created with the thought to work in a car. This is why it is much easier to use Android Auto while driving. You don’t have to be distracted with your mobile or stick it to the dashboard.

With Android Auto, you can rely on Google’s speech recognition software. That reduces frustration connected with missing buttons. With just the voice command, you can run most of the system’s features, so you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel. Use your car’s buttons to run some features, for example, track selection or voice activation.

How Much Does Android Auto Cost?

With the basic connection of Android Auto, you can get it for free. Just enter the Google Play store on your mobile and download the app. You must remember that the system works thanks to data connection and it might be a bit data-heavy. Almost every feature depends on the data connection, so when you drive and your signal drops out, the displayed data might be not accurate. Also, if you use mobile data, the costs might be high, depending on the deal you have with your mobile phone company.

You can find a few great free apps that can be used with Android Auto. However, you might notice that some services don’t work as you wish. In that case, you might want to invest in better, paid apps.

How Do I Connect My Android Auto?

The whole process is very easy and similar to hooking up through Bluetooth. Before starting, make sure that you are in an area with good phone coverage, as it needs to be connected to Google to proceed with the set-up. For safety reasons, always connect Android Auto when you are not driving. Moreover, the Android Auto can block the configuration while the car is moving.

When you already have the Android Auto app on your phone (as mentioned before, you can download it for free from the Google Play Store), you have to turn it on. While it’s running, plug in the phone via USB into your car and check your car’s system screen.

After doing so, you are going to see information to connect a new device. Select your smartphone to connect and then authorize the connection on your device’s screen.

You don’t have to do it each time, just once. The connection is memorized and your phone and car are going to connect automatically.

In case your phone has an Android Auto app, but the screen of your car is blank, try to update the software. Remember that your Android has to have version 5.0, known also Lollipop, or a newer one.

What Apps Work With Android Auto?

The range of apps you can use with this system is constantly growing. One of the best apps is Google Maps. Thanks to it, you can follow detailed navigation and check real-time traffic info. Even if for some reason you take a wrong turn, the navigation is going to find the best route for you. You can also use the voice command to change your destination.

Google Maps uses data stored by Google, so it can give you an accurate commercial destination, without you knowing the exact address. It also has access to your search history. That means you can check the destination at home or the office, and then quickly find the suggestion that pops up in the Android Auto.

You can be sure that traffic information is updated and more reliable than, for example, manufacturers’ radio or camera-based data. When the app locates traffic, it can quickly show you a different route, which might be longer, but quicker.

With Android Auto, you can also forget about listening to the same radio hits all over again. The most popular music streaming apps that works with Android Auto are subscription-based: Google Play Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

Almost every week, some app is launched to be compatible with Android Auto. For example, you can use WhatsApp or Skype. Thanks to this, you can use those apps to call instead of using a traditional phone call.

There are also a few apps that offer eBooks and Podcasts. Some of them work perfectly fine, while others still have errors. You might take a while before you find an app that suits your needs best.

What Are the Disadvantages?

For safety reasons, Google is restrictive regarding the browsing that you are able to do on Android Auto. You might have a Spotify library with 100 artists, but you are going to be allowed to scroll through maybe ten. After this, you are going to get a pop-up notification to stop the car before continuing browsing. You are not going to get this info on the Apple version of the system. However, being safe might be more important than having a bigger choice of music.

One of the weakest points of Android Auto is bad phone access. You can reach sound, and it can read your texts or Google Hangouts and reply to them. Fortunately, thanks to a good Android Auto on-screen environment, you can easily make a call through the system. However, if you want to switch the radio station, you might need to turn on the Android Auto system first.

In any case, the Android Auto system can make your drive much more pleasant and safer.

More articles that should guide you: