Apps Do It Yourself Technology

What is Android Auto?

What is Android Auto?
Written by prodigitalweb

Car makers sometimes find it challenging to keep up with the relentless progress of apps and mobiles. Once a car is launched, navigation, entertainment systems, and other features become obsolete. However, the car’s infotainment system can harness your mobile power and mirror mobile apps on the infotainment display. In addition, you can control the functions with the help of the car’s buttons and microphones. This article lets you know what is Android Auto.

What is Android Auto?

Android Auto is an application software through which you can control your android mobile more efficiently while driving. Moreover, its display allows you to read at a glance. Besides, the voice controls are integrated via Google Assistant. It is an app developed by Google, used to mirror android device features.

It can work as a standalone app and is made with touchscreen car radios in mind. Therefore, it becomes possible to use other apps along with it. If you connect any of these compatible car radios, the app helps you to mirror your mobile display to the radio display. In addition, it features steering wheel audio controls.

You need to connect your mobile to the vehicle to use the app. In this case, take the help of a direct USB connection or Android Auto Wireless to accomplish it.

If you are an Android mobile user, this one is a must-have feature while shopping for a car. This system lets you access many features and apps through your car’s infotainment system. Besides, the system is simple to use, and in addition, it distracts you less and is safer.

It enables you to make and receive phone calls and get navigation information. In addition, it allows you to access streaming music with the help of commands and similar displays.

The app offers always updated information, unlike default vehicle infotainment systems. Therefore, you do not have to download or install map updates. For instance, you always get to know about current conditions from Google Maps and Waze.

Automotive technology moves more gently than smartphone technology. So while the car’s onboard infotainment system may remain unchanged, the app has been matching all recent features to meet the needs.

What Can Android Auto Do?

It can do the fundamental functions of your device and more advanced tasks using specialized apps. But it cannot perform all things you can do using your compatible phone’s handset. However, its ecosystem of available apps is broader compared to Apple CarPlay’s limited array.

Making and Receiving Phone Calls:

Most cars come with Bluetooth connections enabling you to make and receive phone calls while driving. And the app makes the process a lot easier. You do not need to know someone’s telephone number to use it. Even you do not have to select from a limited list of contacts. With the app’s help, it becomes possible to access all names and numbers in the phone book.

The app is safer and easier to use than your mobile when driving. In addition, it takes the help of the car’s microphone and speakers. As a result, both you and the person on the other end hear clear sounds.

Usually, you have to hit the microphone button of your car or tap on the microphone icon on the screen. Besides, sometimes, you may need to say “Hey, Google” to begin with, and after that, you tell whom to call. In this case, you should give the system a name, phone number, or a location like “home.” Once you provide the required details, it will place the call.

It is also possible to make calls by clicking on this phone app. Just enter the number you want to call to make it happen.

Texting and Chat:

The app features the voice-to-text creation of text messages. Besides, it can read the incoming messages with the help of Google’s voice. After reading the messages, it will play them through your car’s speakers. You can tell it to whom to send any message like a contact of your phonebook. Moreover, you can say a number you are willing to send your message to.

The system can support the default texting app. Besides, it is compatible with several third-party messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, etc.


The Auto app leverages your mobile access to Google Maps. Thus, it can offer turn-by-turn routing via the car’s infotainment system. Furthermore, you can take the help of Google Assistant to find destinations and access the company’s search data. In addition, Google Maps displays real road and traffic conditions on display.

If you want, use the Waze app for navigation. It uses details from different sources like crowdsourced details about road conditions, hazards, and traffic. Besides, the Waze app displays the location of traffic cameras and speed traps set up by police. In addition, it asks you when there’s a problem up ahead and when you need to take another route. It doesn’t matter if you know your regular route.

But what is android auto used for? It is lucrative to find parking at your destination. If your electric car requires a charge, it helps you move to the nearest charging station.

Music Streaming:

The application comes with multiple ways to stream music featuring Google LLC’s own YouTube Music streaming service. However, you may use applications linked to Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and Amazon Music accounts. A few apps like Pandora give fee-free streaming features supported by advertisements.

Your in-car entertainment will become hands-free while using the app. Google Assistant is helpful in this case too. You only need to say, “Hey Google, play Queen on Pandora.” Next, you should move to the Bohemian Rhapsody.

You can enjoy multiple news streaming features. It allows you to enjoy audiobook and podcast apps like Audible, NPR One, The New York Times, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, BBC Sounds, etc. A few apps need a subscription, while ads are compatible with others.

What Does Android Auto Look Like?

Its focus is to get a custom look for the mobile interface. But Apple CarPlay and CarPlay apps mimic the face of a mobile display. These are stripped-down versions of the mobile app graphics used while driving. Besides, the apps can reduce access to distracting functions, and these functions can wait till your car is not stopped.

Mostly, its interface consumes the whole infotainment screen. But the vertically oriented screens can take up a part of the vehicle user interface. As a result, the carmaker can use the rest of the display for other functions.

How to Connect to Android Auto:

Do you know how to use android auto? You can easily connect your mobile to the radio or infotainment system in a car supporting the app. However, there are a few things that should occur to get started.

Ensure that your mobile must run a version of Android between versions 6 and 11. Otherwise, the app will not work correctly. Besides, you must install the app on your mobile. In addition, the car radio or infotainment system should support the app.

If you have done everything, you should connect your mobile to it.

  • Your first task is to check the mobile network connection. It must have a strong Wi-Fi or mobile data connection for the procedure to work.
  • Next, you have to ensure that the vehicle is in the park.
  • Power on your vehicle.
  • Then, power on your mobile.
  • You can even connect your mobile to the vehicle through a USB cable.
  • You should review the safety notice and accept all terms & conditions to use the app.
  • Now, you need to go through the on-screen prompts on your display. Whether you have not set up the app before, you should try to grant the app access to various permissions.
  • Choose the app on the app available on the screen of the car radio or infotainment system. Then, you should follow your on-screen prompts.
  • As soon as you perform the method, you need to plug in the mobile through USB to enable the app any time you want. If you find a wired connection not simple, pair the mobile via Bluetooth instead.

How Does Android Auto Work?

You can use the application in two ways: a standalone experience on the mobile or a compatible car radio or infotainment system. Of course, both processes can offer similar utility. But you can get an excellent experience integrating it with a compatible touchscreen car radio.

If you use the app on your mobile, you can get some options available. For example, you can fire up it while getting in your car, placing your mobile in an easily accessible mount or cradle, and calling.

It offers access to hands-free calling because your mobile defaults to speakerphone when placing or receiving a call. In this mode, it is simple to read the mobile display. Furthermore, you can pair your mobile with any Bluetooth-enabled car radio for greater integration. In addition, it is possible to pair to the radio via an aux cable, FM transmitter, etc. This connection type allows audio from the app, music from Spotify, or directions from Google Maps.

You can connect a compatible mobile to a compatible car radio or infotainment system to use it. Then, run it on your mobile and connect it to a compatible vehicle through USB or Bluetooth to accomplish it. Thus, the app can mirror the mobile display on the radio display in a slightly modified fashion.

As soon as you connect your mobile to a car radio via the app, the mobile display goes blank. Thus, the radio display can take it over. You can see similar information on the radio display. As car radio touchscreens are more prominent than mobile screens, it helps to glance at turn-by-turn directions. You can even skip to another music in a Spotify playlist than with the mobile.

How to Update Android Auto?

With the help of Google Assistant, you can integrate with the app directly. It allows you to access all the information you usually would without backing out of the app.

Suppose you ask for nearby gas stations. Hence, Google Assistant offers a map of nearby gas stations without closing the app. Whether you see any route in progress, you can see gas stations along that route.

Do you have smart lights or a smart thermostat hooked up to Google Home? Then, ask Google Assistant to ensure that things are comfortable after completing your long commute.

Using Apps with Android Auto:

If you have default apps, it becomes easier to use the app. For instance, EV charging, parking, and navigation apps ensure that it is effortless and seamless.

The app can support other apps also. But it has limited support. As a result, most Android apps can’t match Google’s stringent guidelines for app compatibility. However, many famous entertainments, information, and communication apps make it simple.

If you are willing to use any app with Android Auto, your first task is to download and install it. Have you installed apps like Waze or Spotify on your mobile? Then, go ahead with the process. You don’t have to install anything extra as the app changes the way things display on your mobile.

Apps including Amazon Music and Pandora can work easily, and it doesn’t depend on the connection to a compatible car radio. You can access it by clicking the headphone icon two times. After that, you should choose the desired app. Waze and other similar apps are suitable only while the mobile display is mirrored to a compatible car radio display.

What Phones Does It Work With?

It is suitable for most Android phones. One of the primary needs is that your mobile should run Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) through Android 11.

The way your mobile acts is also a dependable factor. For example, if your mobile is slow and unresponsive, it can run the app well even if it has the correct version of OS installed.

What Cars Does Android Auto Work With?

All recent models are compatible with the app, but a few brands don’t offer the service at all. In such cases, you need to pay an extra a bit to fit.

We have given cars that both support or do not support the app.


It is one of the entertaining sports cars. However, the app does not support the app.

Aston Martin:

You may not want to buy the Aston Martin DBX or Aston Martin Vantage when it comes to Aston Martin, and these are not compatible with the service.


You can expect the premium brand to support famous software like it. However, a few models don’t offer it.

For instance, you can not use the application in the following:

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer,

BMW 2 Series Convertible, BMW 2 Series Coupé,  BMW 6 Series GT, BMW 8 Series Convertible, BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé, BMW i3, BMW X1, BMW X2, BMW X2 M35i, And BMW Z4.


Jaguar XJ comes with Jaguar’s own Smartphone integration system. It is designed to provide similar features as the app, which you can not see on the car.

Land Rover:

Range Rover Evoque Convertible doesn’t support it.


Do you want to use Lexus LC by connecting your phone to this car’s infotainment system? First, you should know one thing this car does not support.


The Mini Clubman, the Mini Convertible, and the Mini Countryman do without support for your devices.


The MG 3 comes at a low price and has a smart interior design. But these are not compatible with the devices.


You may think that investing a lot of money on a sports car from a high-end brand like Porsche offers almost all features. However, you don’t need to use the Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Cayman, the Porsche Macan, the Porsche Panamera, and the Porsche Taycan.


The Seat Mii electric doesn’t contain an infotainment system, let alone the app.


The Skoda Citigoe iV may seem like an ideal electric car because of its long-range pricing. But the vehicle is not compatible with the app.


Subaru WRX STI may fall short in some factors, like not supporting the app regarding the price tag.


Although the Suzuki Jimny doesn’t support the app, it offers Smartphone Link providing similar features.


The service is not compatible with any of Tesla’s cars. Tesla Model 3, the Tesla Model S, the Tesla Model X, and the Tesla Model Y are a few.


Are you a Toyota car user? If you are interested in a Toyota, you should know that the Toyota Camry, the Toyota GR Supra, and the Toyota Prius are not compatible with it.


The Volkswagen Up GTI is not compatible with the app.


The Volvo XC60 provides a top-quality classy interior, but it is not compatible with the app. However, drivers may download apps straight onto the car.

Do You Need to Pay For Android Auto App?

It is a function of the most modern OS on Android-compatible mobiles. If you use older mobiles or older OSs, you can find the app as an available application. However, you do not have to buy or use the system.

You may have a mobile plan with cellular data to use the app functions. In addition, you may require subscriptions for any premium streaming services you are planning to use, like Pandora or Spotify.

How do You make Android Auto Work in Your Car?

You can use the function efficiently through the steps to connect on your mobile and car. First, you need to connect the mobile to a data connection USB port through a top-quality USB cable. Then, your first job is to answer a few pop-up questions on your mobile and your car’s display. As soon as you set up the system, it should allow you to plug in automatically every time you plug in.

Ensure that you use your car’s data port and not a charge-only port. The app with CarPlay is sensitive about the cable quality you use. Try to use cheap USB cables because it is a leading cause of reliability problems for both systems.

Nowadays, Wireless Android Auto is one of the features in a growing number of new cars. So take the help of the wireless system to dispense with USB cables altogether.

You can attach your car’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless interfaces if you prefer. Whether you want, leave the mobile in the pocket, or you can set it on your car’s wireless charging pad. It is still possible to connect to its advanced functions.

How Do You Control Android Auto?

How you control the function relies on the vehicle. If you are willing, manage the system with voice commands in each car, truck, or SUV. The app will use the car’s microphone and speakers as soon as you connect wirelessly or via a USB cable. Sometimes, you may need to hit the car’s voice response button. But in some other cases, you have to trigger the system using a “Hey Google” command.

Whether your car comes with a touchscreen infotainment display, it becomes easier for you to control the system by tapping on the touch screen. In this case, you can take the help of dials or touchpads to manage the default infotainment systems. In addition, these controls help to control the app.

Can You Get Android Auto in a Car That Doesn’t Support It?

If you’re willing, retrofit multiple older cars to support Android Auto and compatible mobiles. Multiple aftermarket infotainment and audio systems are compatible with the app. You need to swap out the existing head unit for one which allows you to connect using wired or wireless Android Auto. Systems supporting the app can support Apple CarPlay.

Automakers include this specific function in their cars after they are sold. For $199, Mazda can update a few models of 2014, and even it can update newer vehicles to work with the mobile interface and Apple CarPlay.

Does Android Auto Have Any Limitations?

The vehicle’s built-in navigation system does not need a cellular connection. However, Android Auto and its apps must need a cellular data connection to stream information to users. It is not a major issue in most urban and suburban areas. But if you live in rural areas, you can face the limited cellular service.

You can connect one Android Auto-enabled device to your car at one time. But, for instance, connecting one for phone calls and another for streaming is not possible. Besides, you are unable to run the app and Apple CarPlay simultaneously.

In addition, all apps you may have through the Google Play network will not provide a corresponding Android Auto application. A few famous mobile apps like Slack are not compatible with the mobile interface. The app cannot interact with most vehicle systems like climate control, vehicle dynamics, or driver assistance features.

How is Android Auto Different Than Apple CarPlay?

Both have similar targets, like offering a safe, easy-to-use method to access your mobile while on the road. In most cases, cars supporting one are also compatible with the other.

The connection process of your mobile differs from theirs. Apple CarPlay supports iPhones and the iOS operating system. But the app allows you to use it only with smartphones running Android 6 and above. If it is wired, you need to use a proper USB cable connecting to the USB port on your mobile. But you have to use USB-to-Lightning cables to connect for Apple models.

How is Android Auto Different Than Android Built-In Infotainment?

Many automakers have started installing entire infotainment and vehicle control systems in recent times with Android-based software. Like those available on several Volvo models, the default systems don’t need any mobile to link to the Google ecosystem. It is lucrative for the default Google mapping app with calendar, Google Play, Google Assistant, etc.

Google is not compatible with the app from the twelfth version of the operating system. If you use 12th or later versions need to use Google Assistant Driving Mode.

Which Manufacturers Support The Android Auto App?

The app is a default in chosen systems for these manufacturers:

  • Abarth Dacia
  • Kia
  • SEAT
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Dodge Lamborghini
  • Skoda
  • Aston Martin
  • DS
  • Land Rover
  • smart
  • Audi
  • Fiat
  • Maserati
  • Ssangyong
  • Bentley
  • Ford
  • Mazda Subaru
  • BMW
  • Honda Mercedes-Benz
  • Suzuki
  • Cadillac
  • Hyundai
  • Mitsubishi
  • Toyota
  • Chevrolet
  • Iveco
  • Nissan Vauxhall
  • Chrysler
  • Jaguar Peugeot
  • Volkswagen
  • Citroen Jeep
  • Renault

Which Countries Use It?

These are the countries that use the software effectively, including-

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Germany
  • Guatemala
  • France
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan (wireless not supported)
  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

How to Use Android Auto Apps?

If you are driving your car, you need to download and install this app on your mobile. In addition, you should have the supported app already installed. Hence, you don’t need to set up anything extra to use the soft on the car infotainment display.

If you set up a wireless the android auto app connection with the head unit, apps authorized by Google follow a few fundamental guidelines:

  • These reduce driver distraction.
  • You can use Voice commands for common tasks.
  • These come with simple designs on the UI.
  • You can see the relevant information only.

Along with these, there are a few core app quality guidelines followed by Google. For example, it follows the gesture navigation to return to the home screen, priorities assigned for notifications, power management, etc.

Protocols of Communication:

Engineers developing these software-based devices and related accessories can work with the AOA protocol. But what is it?

When you connect an accessory to a device through USB, ensure that it must support the AOA (Android Open Accessory) protocol. It is because these devices have low power output. Therefore, the protocol necessitates the accessory to work as a USB host. In this case, the device works as a USB accessory. You can get the protocol in two versions – AOAv1 and AOAv2. The first one is for generic accessory communication, while the second is for human interface device capabilities.

If you use older devices, they will work merely as USB devices, and these cannot initiate connections with external USB devices. Therefore, the primary benefit of AOA is that Engineers can develop accessories that can initiate connections. Besides, these also help to interact with different devices based on this operating system.

You can use connection profiles/protocols when an accessory connects with any OS-related device through Bluetooth. For instance, you can use Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) and Simple Serial Protocol (SSP).

Difference between Android Auto and Android Automotive:

You need to install the software on your mobile. Besides, it allows you to connect with the infotainment system through USB or wirelessly, and you can also use a data connection on your phone. If you use various cars to commute daily, you need to pair the mobile with every vehicle’s infotainment system separately.

On the flip side, the software is an end-to-end platform developed to power automotive infotainment systems. You can run the OS on the dashboard hardware. Besides, you don’t have to connect an external device to it. For example, you don’t require to connect your mobile. These apps run on the Automotive platform also.

The Bottom Line:

After going through the whole article, you know now what is Android auto? It helps you to use different features of the OS in your car. Besides, you do not have to use your mobile while driving. It comes in a well-designed interface and is simple to use. In addition, you may find Google Assistant well-developed.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is the software the same as Bluetooth?

In most cases, the app runs through a USB connection. However, you can use Bluetooth to make phone calls while on your way. In addition, all vehicle head units are compatible with audio over USB as it sends music over USB while the driver is traveling.

  • What exactly does the software do?

The app helps to bring apps to the mobile display or car display. Thus, it helps to focus while driving. In addition, it allows you to control different features, including navigation, maps, calls, text messages, and music.

  • Is there a fee for the software?

You can download it for free from the Google Play store. However, it is possible only when you use older mobiles supporting this specific OS.

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