Android Auto is a mobile app developed by Google for connecting an Android device with the car’s infotainment system. It displays supported apps on the car’s built-in display and lets the user control them with Google Assistant or the car’s controls. Android Auto’s purpose is to help its users stay focused, connected, and entertained when driving.
How does Android Auto work?
Android Auto links the phone with the car over a USB cable or wirelessly. The wireless connection is established through a two-way Wi-Fi connection by exchanging network credentials over Bluetooth. If the car doesn’t support wireless Android Auto, a dongle adapter can be used to enable a wireless connection to the system’s USB port. When connected, most of the software still runs on the phone. The car’s infotainment system is used for display and audio output.
If the car doesn’t support Android Auto, the app can also be used on the phone. The user can mount their phone to the dashboard and use the simplified in-car interface for safer driving.
Apps that support Android Auto
To make sure that Android Auto isn’t a distraction, the system will only show apps that have been developed with its purpose in mind. These apps need to be designed for driving and controllable with Google Assitant so that the driver can keep their eyes on the road. They also need to fall into one of these categories:
- Navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze and also maps with EV charges such as PlugShare and Chargemap
- Communication apps such as Phone, Messages, and WhatsApp
- Audio entertainment apps such as Audible and Spotify
You can find a selection of apps that work with Android Auto on Google Play.
According to Google, more than 500 car models and stereos work with Android Auto. The list includes most major automakers. On most new models, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are either offered as standard or optional equipment. The exception is Tesla, which offers its own connectivity package. On Android Auto’s homepage, you can see the official list of compatible models.