What are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? FAQs answered

There’s good purpose why Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are placing the nail within the coffin of automakers’ personal smartphone platforms: They work. Previous to the platforms’ rollouts, automakers struggled to marry their in-car touchscreens and knob-and-display infotainment methods with smartphones. Such media participant interfaces have been and proceed to be complicated, irritating or glitchy.

Enter CarPlay and Android Auto, which use software program to largely mirror what’s on a driver’s system – in a streamlined and comparatively protected auto-centric means – on a automotive’s infotainment display screen. They embrace the apps and interfaces homeowners of the gadgets already know and seem the identical on each in-dash show – whether or not in a Bentley or a Buick.

What sort of telephone do you want for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

CarPlay is suitable with the iPhone 5 going ahead, with no need a separate app. Android Auto, then again, requires downloading an app for gadgets with Android 9 or under, whereas gadgets with Android 10 and later don’t require a separate app.

What apps can be found for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay?

Each platforms embrace native apps for acquainted options corresponding to phoning, messaging, music, maps, audiobooks and podcasts, and leverage their guardian firm’s voice assistant for hands-free performance. Additionally they combine widespread third-party apps for music streaming, messaging providers, navigation, parking, purchasing, sports activities and even EV charging.

Greater than 600 car fashions now supply CarPlay, and greater than 500 are actually suitable with Android Auto. The platforms are additionally obtainable in aftermarket head models, and in 2018, Mazda added CarPlay help to autos from 2014 model-year car ahead by means of a dealer-installed improve for autos geared up with the Mazda Join system.

Some automakers have been initially, and till just lately, reluctant to permit Apple and Google into their dashboards – Toyota particularly objected to homeowners’ utilization information being shared routinely with Apple and Google.  On the time of this writing, Tesla is the one main automaker that has shunned the platforms and caught with a proprietary system.

What is the distinction between wired and wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

Normally, a tool must be linked to a automotive’s smartphone-integration USB port. (This port may be labeled as such in your automotive or designated by a white define.) However with the introduction of iOS 9 in September 2015, greater than 20 automakers now supply wi-fi CarPlay, whereas Android had already lower the twine in March 2015. (A handful of automakers supply wi-fi CarPlay solely.)

Wi-fi CarPlay and Android Auto can’t use a Bluetooth connection, and as an alternative require connecting to a car through Wi-Fi. No, this doesn’t imply they chew via the information allowance for an in-car Wi-Fi scorching spot. Because the platforms are data-intensive, they want this extra strong connection to the automotive’s infotainment system.

One draw back of wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a Wi-Fi connection extra rapidly drains a tool’s battery. In fact, you’ll be able to at all times plug the system right into a USB charge-only port, and in case your automotive has wi-fi system charging and wi-fi CarPlay and Android Auto you get the very best of each worlds.

Do Apple CarPlay and Android Auto get up to date?

Along with their simplicity and familiarity, one of many greatest benefits of CarPlay and Android Auto over automakers’ smartphone-integration platforms is that they’re routinely refreshed via software program updates. Whereas a handful of automakers supply over-the-air software program updates for his or her infotainment methods, for all however Tesla it’s not as simple and seamless and having your smartphone replace whilst you sleep, and getting new and enhanced options.

For instance, together with including wi-fi functionality, the iOS 9 replace allowed automotive firms to develop apps that permit automotive occupants function vehicle-specific options corresponding to local weather controls. Subsequent updates added options corresponding to help for third-party navigation apps like Waze and for meals ordering and parking providers apps.

With the discharge of iOS 13 in 2019 got here one of many greatest modifications to CarPlay: a Dashboard characteristic with a split-screen possibility that may concurrently present maps, media data and calendar objects. It additionally added a Settings app that lets customers change between mild and darkish modes, modify album artwork within the Now Enjoying display screen and allow a Do Not Disturb characteristic.

Final 12 months CarPlay added the supply to unlock a automotive and begin the engine with an iPhone for sure 2021 fashions. The characteristic additionally permits sharing digital “keys” with household or mates and can even work for as much as 5 hours after an iPhone’s battery is lifeless.

Android Auto has additionally been constantly up to date. Google initially didn’t permit third events to combine mapping apps with Android Auto, reserving the platform for its personal Google Maps and Waze. However now third-party mapping apps corresponding to Sygic and TomTom AmiGO can be found.

In late 2016 Google added the choice to run Android Auto as an app on an Android system. On this case, which means through an embedded Android Automotive OS, which up to now just a few autos run, notably Polestar EVs.

Originally of 2018, Google introduced the addition of Google Assistant to Android Auto, whereas in July 2019 the platform acquired a UI overhaul. Final summer season, Android Auto acquired a significant improve that added with the ability to personalize the launch display screen instantly out of your telephone, a A-Z fast scrolling characteristic for prolonged catalogs of songs and contacts checklist and integration of EV charging, parking and navigation apps.

What limitations do Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have?

Neither system is a whole alternative for a automotive’s “native” infotainment system. If you wish to take heed to the radio, be it terrestrial or SiriusXM, you want the automotive’s interface. Identical if you wish to change numerous car features. Navigation apps corresponding to Google Maps are additionally reliant on information to have the ability to seek for a brand new vacation spot and map a route ­– in case you’re in an space with out service and haven’t pre-downloaded map information (most individuals don’t even know you are able to do that), you received’t have a navigation system. That’s one purpose why carmakers proceed to supply native navigation methods, though some, corresponding to new methods by Mercedes, supply augmented actuality instructions within the central display screen or head-up show that you just positively received’t get with Google Maps.

What Apple CarPlay can do, or can’t do, additionally relies on the automotive. Some lock out CarPlay’s means to look via Playlists within the music app whereas the automotive is in movement, for instance, requiring you to pick one thing utilizing Siri. Others, nevertheless, maintain every little thing obtainable to you always.

What is the distinction between Android Auto and Android Automotive OS?

We have already described Android Auto, however you are going to more and more see the time period Android Automotive, which isn’t the identical factor. As an alternative of offering simply an interface to manage your smartphone via the automotive’s infotainment system, Android Automotive is in reality your complete infotainment system. It’s successfully an working system created by Google that automotive manufacturers can customise with their particular designs or “skins” that may management every little thing a automotive’s native system usually would. So, suppose altering a radio station or customizing drive mode settings. Android Auto continues to be wanted to speak and management smartphone apps, and though CarPlay was not but suitable on the time of this writing, it is going to sooner or later. You may see extra about Android Automotive and its early adoption within the 2022 GMC Yukon under. 

Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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