Apple CarPlay vs Android Auto

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Apple CarPlay vs Android Auto

March 15, 2022

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are two of the in-car entertainment systems which are available in most new-ish cars, but the question that is on most people’s lips when they are considering an option of  “sell my car” for a newer car that has either entertainment system is “which is best between the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto” we have done lots of research into this topic and here is what we found.

Apple CarPlay Overview

Apple CarPlay was first launched in 2014, at the Geneva Motor Show. It was a way of Apple expanding upon the entertainment products they already have. Previously, cars were only fitted with entertainment systems such as CD players and radios. In the 2010s it became much easier for smartphone users to play music from their phones or iPods to their car, by using the means of Bluetooth. 

However, as smartphone users became more dependent on their phones for entertainment and communication, Apple knew they had to make software for cars that made it easy and safe for people to use the features of their iPhones whilst driving.

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, were the first car manufacturers to add the Apple CarPlay feature to their cars.

How Apple CarPlay Works

Apple CarPlay can be used by plugging a wire into your iPhone (Apple CarPlay can only be used by iPhones) which connects to your car, or in some cars it can be used wirelessly.

Once your iPhone has been connected, your entertainment screen in your car will turn into an Apple operating system, which mimics the operating system of the iPhone.

An example of how Apple CarPlay looks is a 2021 Audi A4 by British tech YouTuber, Tech in The Car.

The screen looks colorful and the display definitely mimics the display of an iPhone or an iPad, the operating system will be the same as the operating system of your iPhone as they work in unison. You can definitely see Apple has put a lot of effort into keeping Apple CarPlay in keeping with their signature style.

The Apps that can be used in Apple CarPlay are:

  • Phone
  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • Messages
  • WhatsApp
  • Calendar
  • Audiobooks
  • Podcasts
  • Settings
  • News

However, users do not have the freedom to add apps to Apple CarPlay, the system has control over which apps from your iPhone can be added to Apple CarPlay.

In 2021, it was reported that every big car manufacturer in the world uses Apple CarPlay in their cars. Please note that Apple CarPlay is a relatively new concept and it is normally available in cars that have been produced from 2018 to the present day.

Expansion upon the Apple CarPlay- The Apple Car Key

In 2021, the concept of an Apple Car Key was announced. This is where users will be able to unlock their car using an Apple App on their iPhones and they will also be able to send a virtual car key to others, to allow others access to their car, if they wish to do so.

BMW is the first car manufacturer to team up with Apple for the Apple Car Key, it will be interesting to see the success of this new technology produced by Apple and whether other car manufacturers are likely to add this new feature to their cars.

Android Auto Overview

Android Auto was launched in 2015, a few months after the initial release of Apple CarPlay. As Apple CarPlay does not allow users of Android to use its features, of course, Android had to come up with a similar in-car entertainment application, to cater to their large audience.

Android Auto allows Android users to safely use the features of their Android phone whilst driving in their car.

Users of Android Auto have more freedom for the types of applications that can be used in Android Auto. It appears that Apple CarPlay is stricter with the types of apps that they allow in the Apple CarPlay interface.

The Apps that can be used on Android Auto are:

  • Phone
  • Messages
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Google Hangouts
  • Skype
  • Telegram
  • Google Play Music
  • Apple Music
  • Amazon Music
  • YouTube Music
  • Spotify
  • Waze

This makes Android Auto ideal for people who are looking to use lots of different types of apps in their cars, for those who are very tech-savvy.

Like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto has a wide number of car manufacturers that use Android Auto and in the present day, most brand new cars are equipped with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

However, if you are looking to purchase your next car and you are an Android owner, it is a good idea to enquire whether the car does support Android Auto, as initially, some car manufacturers used Apple CarPlay before they used Android Auto.

How Android Auto Works

Like the Apple CarPlay, the Android Auto can be used by plugging a wire into the phone which connects to the car.

On Android Auto, the screen displays the apps on an LED screen in a car, in a similar format to the apps, you would see on an Android smartphone.

Here is an example of how the Android Auto entertainment system looks in a 2021 Audi A4, by Tech YouTuber, Tech in the Car.

As you can see, the apps are in a neat row and there are lots of different types of apps that can be used, like BBC iPlayer and BBC sounds. This is something that isn’t available in Apple CarPlay.

However, the design of the Android Auto looks slightly bland in comparison to Apple CarPlay’s design of their display.

Similarities Between the Two in-car Entertainment Systems

Both in-car entertainment systems give their users a fun, safe entertainment experience whilst driving. Apple and Android, have both excellently created an easy-to-use car-safe entertainment system.

It is very easy to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to communicate with others by using the connection of your smartphone in a safe way that does not distract the driver from driving.

Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offer a wide range of music apps, so users can use apps they already pay subscriptions for via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Sat Nav features are included in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Apple uses Apple Maps and Android uses Google Maps, both navigation systems work in a very similar format and notably, both applications are free to use.

Differences between the Two in-car Entertainment Systems

As mentioned previously, Android Auto is more flexible with the types of apps that can be used on their in-car entertainment program. There is definitely more freedom with Android Auto in terms of the functionality of apps.

However, Apple CarPlay is more dynamic and user-friendly in some aspects, as the software mimics the iPhone exactly.

Apple CarPlay displays messages on the screen, whereas Android Auto does not. Instead, Android Auto reads the message out. Apple CarPlay also gives you reading out loud of the message, but you will get a notification on the screen first like you would on your phone.

Where you can find an in-depth explanation of how Apple CarPlay and Android Auto works

Oliver Tech in the Car has provided us with an in-depth explanation video of how Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work and how you can make the most of the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay features in your car.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed our article on Android Auto vs Apple CarPlay. It isn’t clear whether one is better than the other, it is all down to personal preference and what you are looking for in an in-car entertainment system. If you are looking to use a variation of apps in your car, then Android Auto is the better choice, but if you are looking for an entertainment system that works very similarly to your own iPhone (if you are an iPhone user) then Apple CarPlay is the better option for you.

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