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Everything you need to know about iOS and Android in the car

Everything you need to know about iOS and Android in the car


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The term CarPlay hasn’t quite made it as a mainstream household name yet, but it’s about to and for good reason.

For some, gone are the days of looking at the phone to check where Google Maps is directing you. If you haven’t heard of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto yet, these systems sync your phone’s capabilities to your car’s dashboard so you can access things like apps, Siri, messages and maps from your car’s infotainment system instead of on your phone. In theory, this should be less distracting than using your phone for these same functionalities.

Here is a guide to everything you need to know about how the iOS (CarPlay) and Android (Android Auto) functions in the car and their differences, so you can choose which one works best for your needs.

The interface

The interface of CarPlay will look just like the home screen of your iPhone with a select number of apps that sync up with the car. Not all apps will transfer over, but things like iMessage, Siri, Pandora, Spotify, podcasts and a few others will. With Android Auto, the same apps will be available, but instead of the grid, you’ll see notifications and cards pop up as you get messages. There are also action icons that give you easy access to apps you may want to use quickly and regularly.


A common reason people use CarPlay or Android Auto is to access maps from the car instead of from the phone, the latter of which can be inconvenient and dangerous. With Apple CarPlay you have access to Apple Maps, with Android Auto, you can use Google Maps. One of the big differences between the two apps is that with Apple Maps you need to use the zoom button and with Google Maps you can pinch to zoom.

Text message functions

Apple CarPlay gives you access to iMessage, which is read out loud and gives you the ability to respond with your voice. Android Auto offers the same function, only it also allows capabilities to message from third-party apps like Skype and Whatsapp, which Apple CarPlay doesn’t.

Using your phone while driving

Around 431,000 people are injured each year because of distracted driving, and CarPlay and Android Auto, while more convenient than looking at your phone, can also still be distracting. One of the major differences between the two systems is that with Apple CarPlay you still have access to using your phone while driving, but with Android Auto, the phone knows the car is in use and shuts down capabilities of using your phone while driving.

Not all cars are set up to sync Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so make sure to select your next car carefully to have access to these systems.

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