Before we delve into everything about Android Auto, kindly note that it is not the same as Google’s self-driving car now known as Waymo. But why do you need Android Auto if you have a car, and you are an Android user?
Imagine that you’re cruising down the highway, the wind in your hair, and your favorite tunes playing through the car’s speakers. Suddenly, you receive an important call, and you wish you could take it without fumbling for your phone and yet, prevent any kind of accident while attending to the calls.
That’s why you need software like Android Auto. This amazing app seamlessly merges your Android smartphone with your car’s dashboard, turning this dream scenario into reality.
The app not only allows you to connect to your car’s dashboard so that you can pick up calls, but there are a whole bunch of benefits that come with it especially if you are an Uber driver or someone who make use of Google map a lot.
The mobile app which has over 5 billion downloads and an average rating of 4.1/5 on Google Play Store was launched in 2014 with a vision to make our driving experiences safer, more connected, and downright enjoyable. Over the years, Android Auto has garnered praise for its ability to keep drivers focused on the road while offering a host of incredible features.
According to Google, Android Auto is currently compatible with over 200 million cars and over 500 models in the world – source.
Benefits of Using Android Auto
Now, let’s explore the benefits that make Android Auto an indispensable companion for modern drivers:
- Enhanced Safety: The software’s hands-free interface and voice commands minimize distractions, allowing you to navigate, communicate, and enjoy content without compromising safety.
- Up-to-date Information: Stay ahead with real-time updates, Google Maps navigation, and access to the latest apps, ensuring you’re always informed.
- Personalization: Tailor your in-car experience with your preferred music, playlists, podcasts, and apps, creating a personalized driving environment.
- App Compatibility: It seamlessly supports a wide range of popular apps, from navigation and music streaming to messaging and more.
How to Download and Install
Head to the Google Play Store, search for “Android Auto,” and download the app to your smartphone or you can simply click here. To install, follow the on-screen instructions to install the app, allowing it to access the necessary permissions.
Kindly note that you don’t need to download and install Android Auto if your phone is running on Android 10 and higher as it is already integrated into your phone. Simply go to settings and search for it.
If your phone is running on any Android Go, you cannot use Android Auto.
Before you begin, ensure you have the following:
- A smartphone running Android 8.0 or higher.
- A vehicle that’s compatible with Android Auto.
- A USB cable (unless your car supports wireless Android Auto).
If your car is not compatible, read on and there is a solution for you.
How to Connect Your Car with Android Auto
Connecting to the software is simple and can be done through two methods:
Connecting via USB
- Prepare: Ensure your vehicle is parked safely. Use the USB cable provided by your phone manufacturer (or any good cable) to connect your phone to your vehicle’s USB data port.
- Download Apps: If the app is not pre-installed on your Android device, download the app from the Google Play Store. Your phone may prompt you to download related apps like Google Maps.
- Launch Android Auto: If the app doesn’t launch automatically, touch the Projection or the “A” icon on your vehicle’s touchscreen.
- Follow Prompts: Follow the on-screen prompts on both your vehicle’s touchscreen and your phone to initiate the connection.
- Prepare: Ensure your vehicle is parked safely.
- Download Apps: If Android Auto is not pre-installed on your Android device, download the app from the Google Play Store. Your phone may prompt you to download related apps like Google Maps.
- Wireless Connection: Tap the gray AUTO icon on the infotainment screen. (The icon color may vary depending on the CoolWalkUI updates)
- Bluetooth Pairing: Pair your phone with the infotainment system using Bluetooth.
- Follow Prompts: Follow the on-screen prompts on both the infotainment screen and your phone to initiate the wireless connection.
How to Update Android Auto to the latest version
If you are using built-in Android auto (i.e. you are using Android 10 or higher), just ensure you keep your phone’s software updated. Google Play Store will always prompt you to update your apps whenever there are updates. Simply click on “Update all” and if there is a newer version of Auto, it will be updated along.
If you’re using a phone that runs on Android 8 and 9 or even Android 10 and higher, but your phone is not prompting you to update apps on your phone, you can do the following:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Tap on your profile picture at the top right corner
- Click on “Manage apps & device”
- Click on “Update all”
- All the apps that need an update on your phone will be updated.
That’s how to download, set up, and update Android Auto.
The idea behind this amazing car integration software by Google is to never have to use or touch your phone while driving if you need to do anything such as make calls, text messaging, use Google Maps, or listen to your favorite songs.
And that’s why Google keeps shipping more features and improvements to the app. Such features include using Google Assistant right with your car. Here is how it works;
How to Use Google Assistant with Android Auto
Google Assistant is your voice-controlled companion while using Android Auto. You can access it by saying “Hey, Google” pressing and holding the voice button on the steering wheel, or tapping the microphone icon on the car’s screen. From there, you can issue voice commands for various tasks, such as navigation, music playback, calendar updates, weather forecasts, etc., just like you would do with your Android phone.
Popular Apps That Run on Android Auto
The software offers compatibility with a wide range of popular apps, enhancing your driving experience. Some notable apps include:
- Google Maps: For seamless navigation and real-time traffic updates.
- Waze: A community-based navigation app with user-generated alerts.
- Spotify: Your favorite music and playlists at your fingertips.
- WhatsApp: Stay connected with messaging while on the road.
- Audible: Enjoy audiobooks during your commute.
- Podcast Addict: Access podcasts on the go.
- Pandora: Stream personalized music stations.
In the latest update of Android (2023), Google says you can now join Zoom meetings, watch YouTube videos, and do many more things. Read about the new features announced at Google I/O 2023.
Car Brands Supported by Google’s Android Auto
Abarth, Acura, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Borgward, Buick, BYD, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroen, Dacia, Dodge, DS, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, Genesis, GMC, Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Iveco, Jaguar, Jeep, Karma, Kia, Koenigsegg, Lada, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Lifan, Lincoln, Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Ram, Renault, Renault Samsung Motors, SEAT, Skoda, smart, SsangYong, Subaru, Suzuki, Tata Motors, Toyota, Vauxhall, VinFast, Volkswagen, Volvo
Some FAQs on Android Auto
Q1: Can I use Android Auto on any Android phone?
- A: It is compatible with Android devices running version 8.0 or later. However, the app’s availability may vary depending on your region.
Q2: What if Android Auto doesn’t launch automatically when I connect my phone?
- A: You can manually launch the app by tapping the Projection or Android Auto icon on your vehicle’s touchscreen.
Q3: Are there any charges for using Android Auto?
- A: It is a free app available for download. However, standard data usage charges from your mobile carrier may apply.
Q4: Can I use Android Auto without an internet connection?
- A: While some features may work offline, an internet connection is recommended for a complete and up-to-date experience.
Q5: Can my phone do Android Auto?
- A: Yes, if it’s running on Android 8 or a newer version of Android. To know your Android phone version, go to settings on your phone and search for “About device”, click on the result, and scroll down to see your Android version
Q6: Can I use Android Auto without a smart car?
- A: Yes, It can work on any compatible car either old or new.
Q7: Does Android Auto work on older cars?
- A: It will work if your old car’s head unit is integrated with Android Auto. But in case your car is not compatible, go to any good and reliable mechanic and explain to him that you want to replace your car’s head unit to support infotainment software.
Q8: Can I use Android Auto with my iPhone?
- A: Android Auto is for Android phones. But there is an alternative only for iPhones called CarPlay which does the same thing as Auto.
Q9: What is the difference between Android Auto and Android Automotive?
- A: Android Auto lets you mirror or project your Android phone to your car’s dashboard meaning that your phone is acting as the brain, without your phone, you can’t use the software in your car. But Android Automotive is an operating system, running independently on your phone. Android Automotive doesn’t need to be connected to a phone.
Q10: Can a car have both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
- A: This depends on your car’s compatibility. But some cars do support both, you may need to check if your car is among them.
Make your car smart with this Android Car Integration Software
Android Auto stands as a powerful tool that seamlessly blends the convenience of your Android smartphone with the safety of your car’s dashboard. By following this comprehensive guide, you can harness its full potential and elevate your driving experience.
So, take the first step, connect your smartphone, and embark on a safer, more connected journey with Android Auto.
If you are a developer and you would like to create apps for Andriod Auto, you can do so. For a start, visit the developer doc here and start designing your first app for Google’s Auto ecosystem.