10 Things to Know About Android Auto
1. What is Android Auto?
Android Auto is an app for phones running 5.0+ (Lollipop) that is designed to simplify using your phone while driving. Connecting your phone to an Android Auto compatible car stereo you can use the navigation, music, and messaging apps from your phone directly on your car’s in-dash display. Recently Google also released a stand-alone version for just your phone.
2. Which cars have Android Auto?
Android Auto is available from most major automotive manufacturers starting from 2015 models. Noticeably missing however are Toyota and BMW, as they have stated they have no plans to offer Android Auto compatibility. Click here for the full list of vehicles that feature Android Auto.
3. How do I add Android Auto to a vehicle I already own?
It’s as easy as upgrading your factory stereo to an aftermarket one. Companies like Pioneer offer a range of Android Auto compatible head units. For most cars you can even keep your steering wheel audio controls and backup camera.
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4. How do I use Android Auto?
For the stand-alone version all you have to do is open the app to launch Android Auto. If you have steering wheel audio controls these would not work in the stand-alone mode, you will have to connect your phone to an Android Auto compatible head unit via a micro USB-to-USB cable. The primary way to control the Android Auto functions is to use voice commands. Simply saying, “OK, Google” will initiate the voice command function. You can also use the car’s in-dash touchscreen to use any of the Android Auto compatible apps. Phone calls will still be handled through the existing Bluetooth system in your car but if you are listening to music the app will know to mute the volume during the call.
5. What apps are Android Auto compatible?
Not all apps on your phone can be used with Android Auto but for the general driving experience you’re more then covered. You can use the most popular music streaming apps like Google Play, Spotify, and Pandora. For navigation there is Google Maps as well as upcoming Waze integration. For the full list of Android Auto apps in the Google Play store click here.
6. Why does Android Auto look so plain?
If you think Android Auto looks plain, just check out how boring Apple CarPlay looks. By design, Android Auto limits how much is displayed on screen to help reduce distracted driving. The home screen uses larger fonts and icons to simplify your interactions while driving, the more time you spend with your eyes on the road and not looking at a screen, the safer driver you will be.
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7. How much data does Android Auto use?
Because Android Auto does pull in information into the home screen like current temperature and suggested navigation it will use some data. And by some, we mean a whopping 0.01 MB. Where you will see the majority of cell phone data usage is in the apps you use for streaming music and navigation. If you normally use those apps while you drive you’ll see the same rate of data usage.
8. Can I use Waze with Android Auto?
Soon. Waze has started beta testing, so sometime in 2017 we should see an official release. You sure can, read here for more.
9. Does Android Auto have control of my car’s air condition or door locks?
Nope, not at all. Android Auto is just a way of overlaying its OS on top of the existing car stereo’s operating system to use the navigation, music and messaging apps on your phone. Any regular car functions like air conditioning or door looks will operate independent of Android Auto. If you did want to connect your phone to your car door locks there are aftermarket systems out there, read more here.
10. How do I send or receive text messages and emails with Android Auto?
When you receive a message a notification that new message arrived will appear on screen for a few seconds. It will not display the text message but you can have the message read out loud to you. For sending a message it’s as simple as just saying “Ok Google.” Using the same mic you have for Bluetooth calling, Android Auto will compose your message by using the voice to text feature. You can even specify which app you want to send the message in, for example you would just say “Ok Google, send [name] a message in Skype.” From there you will get a voice prompt reading back who you are sending the message to, once you confirm it will ask you to say your message. Once finished it will read back your message and at the end ask if you want to send it.
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