What is Android Auto? (Quick Guide and Review)

Do you know that you can use your car’s dashboard display to use your favorite apps? Using your smartphone while driving is definitely not advisable. Therefore, it’s a good thing if you can use your favorite Android apps in a safe and easy way using your car’s dashboard. In fact, a single app, called Android Auto, is just what you need.

Android Auto was developed by Google to provide smart navigation assistance to users on the road. Generally, it is a good alternative to the default infotainment system of an automobile’s dashboard.

Google has been continuously upgrading Android Auto to add more features and provide users a safer and better app experience. Today, it is now more than just a navigation app. It can also be used for entertainment and others like messaging, and podcasts.

As I’ve mentioned, Android Auto is driver-friendly. This is because it allows voice commands. Plus, its user interface works perfectly in both touch screens and button-controlled displays.

This app is available on the Play Store. Try it on your Android phone!

Related:

What to Do When Android Auto Is Not Working? 5 Quick Fixes

Android Auto Compatible Phones: 8 Best Phones for Android Auto

5 Best Android Auto Head Units

Why is Android Auto better than the usual phone-to-automobile connectivity?

Yes, you can play music and navigate using the default connectivity. But, can you use it to open Facebook Messenger, Skype, and other mobile apps that you frequently use on your Smartphone? There are a lot of compatible apps available on Android Auto compared to the default phone-to-automobile connectivity.

Also, Android Auto is designed to provide the simplest driver-friendly way for you to use your favorite mobile apps while driving.

You can do almost anything you love doing on your smartphone while you are on the road just by voice command. Start by saying “Ok, Google” and say what you want to do.

android-auto-app
Android Auto has voice command features via Google Assistant

Android Auto is already available as built-in on some new models of automobiles from different brands. It can also be bought as an aftermarket head unit if you already own a car with no built-in Android Auto and doesn’t want to use the mobile app. Here’s a recommended head unit that supports Android Auto:

Recommended Compatible Apps

compatible-apps-on-android-auto
Android Auto supports a lot of Android apps that are available on Play Store.

Since Android Auto is supposed to let you use your Android device’s apps on your car’s dashboard display, here are the recommended apps you can use to explore and enjoy the best features of  Android Auto on your car:

Navigation:

For mapping, you can use Google Maps and Waze to guide you while you’re on the road. You can also now use Google Assistant as your GPS assistant with voice automated navigation.

Messaging:

This is by far the best feature you’ll benefit from Android Auto. Texting while driving is a big no-no, but now, you can already do this safely using messaging compatible apps and voice control. The best apps you can use with Android Auto for messaging are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.

Music:

As we already know that Android Auto is developed by Google, then you shouldn’t be surprised because the best app I recommend for music playing is Google Play Music. I know most of you would probably protest but don’t worry because Spotify and Deezer are also supported by Android Auto.

Pros:

Android Auto has easier navigation systems compared to the default one and backed with much understandable voice command. Plus, its map and other features are cloud-based therefore it is always updated compared to the old navigator that costs too much for just updates.

The mobile app version of Android Auto is also a big plus. Only new models of cars have the built-in Android Auto and a lot won’t probably like the idea of additional costs by buying aftermarket head unit. Therefore, the app is a big money-saver for those who want to try the features but don’t have the built-in Android Auto on their cars.

Going back to the driver-friendly user interface topic, aside from its voice control features, Android Auto shows notifications and updates on the car’s dashboard display using cards. This way, the user can just swipe them away easily.

If you love the functionality of your smartphone, then what else can you ask for if it can be mirrored on your dash monitor in a modified view?

Cons:

Unfortunately, the mobile app runs only on Android 5.0 and higher versions. So, if your car doesn’t have built-in Android Auto and your smartphone runs on older version of Android. Then your only chance to get Android Auto is to buy the aftermarket head unit.

If you run Android Auto using the mobile app, you will have to physically plug your smartphone into your car’s console which is not something that some people would appreciate in today’s era as we are more comfortable with wireless connectivity.

Another drawback for Android Auto is that it doesn’t have the feature that most people love with navigation systems, Street View and Google Earth. Well, these apps aren’t really necessary when you are driving but they could be very useful especially when you are trying to confirm a specific location.

Suggested reads:

Google is ending Android Auto on phone screens, to switch to Assistant Driving Mode

Android Auto – The Things You Must Know and Understand

Android Auto quietly launches new ‘Suggested Media’ feature

FAQs

How to use Android Auto?

Android Auto is very easy to use. Just install Android Auto from the Play Store. Run the app. Then, connect it to your car’s dashboard using a USB cable. Refer to this article for more info.

What are the compatible apps for Android auto?

The only compatible apps for Android Auto, for now, is navigation, media, and messaging Android apps. To view the list of compatible apps for Android Auto, click here.

Can I save my contact list using Android Auto on my car

No. You can mark your favorite contacts for easier access but it won’t be logged on your car. It is basically saved on your phone only, specifically on your Contacts app.

Enjoy and Drive Safely!

It’s always a good thing to upgrade the dashboard’s infotainment system of your car. But, just don’t forget that you should stay focused while you are on the road to avoid unwanted accidents. So, whatever apps you would love to add on your app list, remember to always set it to driver-friendly modes.

Android Auto may not be widely used as of now but as time goes by, it will later be more convenient to most car owners as more and more automobile brands are looking forward to installing built-in Android Auto on their new models.

Does your car already have Android Auto? Refer to this article for a full list of current car models with built-in Android Auto.

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