Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: what are they and how do they work?


Smartphones are considered the complete personal device for a number of reasons beyond the basics; Your smartphone can help you navigate, play music, communicate and much more. Of course, it’s an invaluable tool when driving a car or motorcycling, and many people tend to clip their smartphones to the dashboard or windshield for easy access while driving. This is where Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come in, offering a safer, more seamless, and much more user-friendly solution for accessing content on your smartphone while you drive or drive.

As the names suggest, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work with Apple iPhones and Android smartphones. However, there is much more to these telematics platforms and this article will help you understand exactly how they work, what their features and benefits are, and how they can help you drive.

How do I use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

First, you need an in-car entertainment system (ICE) that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Many automakers offer factory-fitted internal combustion engines that provide this compatibility for smaller and cheaper vehicles as well, and most of them that support one platform support the other as well. Interestingly, there are also some motorcycles outfitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible entertainment systems.

If your vehicle doesn’t already have one, you can also purchase an aftermarket system that supports CarPlay and Auto. Different brands like Pioneer, Sony, Alpine, and Blaupunkt sell systems with these capabilities, so it’s pretty easy to get onto the platform even if your car doesn’t support it on its own.

When you have installed your compatible ICE system, you can easily connect your iPhone or Android smartphone to the ICE system with the right cable using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Most vehicles and systems have USB Type-A input ports, so you really only need one data cable for your smartphone.

Once connected, the ICE system should automatically detect the connected device and give you the option to bypass its own operating system and user interface in favor of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You can also enable it by default so that you don’t have to restart it every time, although it depends on the settings of the ICE system as well as your smartphone.

How do Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work?

While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are designed to “mirror” your smartphone’s screen, the way these platforms actually work is very different from the traditional idea of ​​screen mirroring. When you connect your iPhone or Android phone to a compatible ICE system, the screen of your system will show you some selected apps on your phone that you normally need while driving, e.g. B. Music streaming services, navigation apps and your phone dialer, in a layout that you can easily interact with. In fact, you can still use many functions on your smartphone as usual while Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is active.

Various other apps can also be supported, e.g. B. Messaging platforms, calendars, and news and podcast apps, to name a few. The apps that appear on your ICE system depend on the apps that you have installed on your smartphone.

Apple CarPlay main 2 Apple CarPlay

Once active, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both display a home screen and an app drawer that show the apps available for use on the platform, along with basic information like cellular network strength and connectivity, battery level Your smartphone and the time and weather at your current location.

The app list is very different from the apps on your phone. The idea is that you should only access apps and services that are useful while driving, and other apps that might be a distraction, like games, video streaming apps, social media, and the like, are accessible through the ICE System not accessible. Screen. You have to stop your car and unplug your phone to access it.

Both platforms place a special focus on navigation and music streaming apps, as these are the two most common smartphone functions that you need while driving. Most major streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Audible are supported by both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with major navigation apps like Apple Maps and Google Maps. Fortunately, you can even use Google Maps on Apple CarPlay if you prefer Apple Maps.

Voice control, security, and other benefits of using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto attach particular importance to the use of the hands-free function with their respective voice assistants. Siri and Google Assistant allow users to control key functions with voice commands by simply tapping the microphone button and speaking. Integration with handlebar-mounted controls, if available, makes this possible without having to take your hands off the wheel.

Most Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functions can be controlled using voice commands, including making phone calls with specific contacts, playing selected audio tracks and playlists, or navigating to a location. The voice assistants can also read out incoming notifications – such as WhatsApp messages – and even have them answered by voice command.

All of this makes using your smartphone – or a driver-friendly extension of your smartphone – much safer, of course. The user interfaces are designed to minimize distractions and maximize your view of tools that can help you drive safely and quickly, including clear maps, responsive navigation, optional voice directions for directions, and the ability to act on messages and other notifications, without your eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: Vehicle and manufacturer support

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available in factory-installed ICE systems from various automakers, including vehicles available in India from brands such as Suzuki, Hyundai, Kia, Tata Motors, and Mahindra, to name a few. The availability in certain models also depends on the variant you have purchased and the ICE system supplied; Some vehicles may not have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support on lower variants.

A quick look on the internet or audio accessory stores will also reveal a number of aftermarket options with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In addition to popular brands such as Sony, Pioneer, and JVC, you can also find plenty of options from lesser-known brands at different prices. Be aware that installing aftermarket accessories can open various panels and parts on your car, which could void your warranty.


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