What are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

More and more manufacturers have been implementing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in their vehicles and for good reason. If you have an iPhone, or an Android device, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can make your drive far more enjoyable.


Both of these technologies allow you to integrate your phone into your vehicles infotainment system. It is not just about connecting the audio and speaking via Bluetooth -  these car stars are the best way to have more of your phone’s features available while you’re driving. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and see what makes them tick. 

What is Apple CarPlay? 

Apple CarPlay is the version of this technology that works with Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. Vehicles that enable Apple CarPlay integration have the ability to display the content from your mobile device, transforming your vehicle’s infotainment system into a mobile powerhouse that gives you the settings, applications and features you have on your smart phone. 

In order to get these features, you need to connect your iPhone. In most cases this is done by plugging your phone into the USB port of your vehicle using a Lightning cable. In some cases you will need to enable the feature both on the phone and the infotainment system when you are prompted to do so. In newer vehicle models, you might also have the option of connecting your device wirelessly. This gives the same functionality, but is a little easier and more convenient. As soon as a connection is established, your infotainment systems screen will mimic a simplified version of your iPhones screen. Aside from the screen change, the infotainment buttons also change their functionality to support the functions on your phone. For example, the buttons used for voice control will work through Siri when your iPhone is connected. 

Speaking of Siri – she’s never sounded better. With Apple CarPlay she can read your messages through the car’s very own audio system. CarPlay can also respond to a message, or send a new one using voice-to-text. The microphone used for these commands is the one in your infotainment system and not the one in your phone. This means that your phone can be in your pocket while you’re sending your messages. 

Another advantage is Apple CarPlay’s navigation system integration. The ones used on our phones are installed, updated and configured more easily and more often. Even if your car doesn’t have satnav, Apple CarPlay lets you use the one in your phone. 

If you have a data plan on your phone, you will be able to listen to podcasts, get streaming content or play music apps, and the list of apps adapted for Apple CarPlay is growing rapidly.

What is Android Auto? 

Android Auto does the same as Apple CarPlay but is compatible with Android devices. It gives you the functionality and the apps from your phone, and streams them directly to your vehicle’s infotainment system. It enables you to use the features on your phone in the safest way possible, keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. 

Much like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto changes your infotainment interface to mimic the one on your Android phone. Icons are larger for simple operation, and menus are far easier to read at a glance. 

Android Auto has the advantage when it comes to navigation. The system it provides is powered by Google Maps which, aside from familiar functionality and heavy traffic rerouting capabilities, also carries over your saved destinations and Points Of Interest (POIs). 

Using your phone’s data plan, you can listen to your favourite music or podcasts, surf the internet and use your phone and messaging apps. 

Just like with Apple CarPlay, you can use voice commands to control everything, and reply to messages using voice-to-text functionality. Even if your car doesn’t have voice recognition technology, you can use the one from your phone. 

Basically, the only thing you can’t use is your phone’s screen, as it is locked when your phone and Android Auto are connected. 

The Future of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 

Both of these systems are here to stay. Both Apple and Google are working on making them even better and the latest advancements are already dealing with any issues that pop up.One issue is that if your vehicle’s infotainment system is used to control driving modes or climate control, you’ll have to exit Android Auto to control them. Google already works with some manufacturers to integrate this functionality to improve the user interface, and more partners are coming on-board every day.   

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the future of Infotainment control, navigation and fun in your vehicle. At Summit GM we have tons of Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles featuring this great feature. If you want to learn more about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, come on down to our Fort McMurray car dealership at our new location at 530 MacKenzie Blvd,give us a call at (780) 743-2871, or book a test drive online today.
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