Ever since Apple introduced CarPlay in 2014, followed closely by Google’s Android Auto in 2015, the tech giants have been upping the ante on in-car infotainment options with every new vehicle. Find out what Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are, what they offer, and how they differ, with Gumtree Cars’ in-depth guide.
The basics: what are they and what do they do?
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are in-car infotainment packages provided in most modern new and late model cars. In a car with either of these systems installed, you’ll be able to plug your phone into the car and access certain apps from your phone through your car’s entertainment system controls. Connect your phone either via a USB port, or cable free in cars that come with a wireless charging plate (assuming your phone supports wireless charging and connections).
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have essentially superseded Bluetooth as the preferred way to connect your phone to your car, as they offer a load of extra features and simple plug-and-play to get you connected without the fiddly Bluetooth setup.
Android Auto vs Apple CarPlay: what’s the same?
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto offer a host of similarly awesome features. With either of these packages, you’ll be able to use your phone hands-free, send messages using voice-to-text translation, listen to music through your preferred music player, access maps (either Google Maps or Apple Maps) and much more.
Since being introduced, the technology has gone from strength-to-strength, with great new features added every release. Whether you’re looking for cars with Apple CarPlay or cars with Android Auto, you’ll need to shop for a dealer new, dealer demonstrator, or late-model car (nothing earlier than late 2015), which should have one, or both, included as standard.
Android Auto vs Apple CarPlay: what’s different (and better)?
If you’re already using a phone with Android installed, you’re probably used to the Android-style home screen design. With Android Auto, the design is slightly different again, and the Android Auto apps, displayed as an often complex arrangement of icons and subfolders, can be difficult to navigate. Apple CarPlay has a larger scrollable screen, which looks more like the actual iPhone screen. It’s easy to use, with several apps, including Maps, Music, Phone, Messages and Podcasts, on offer from the home screen.
However, one feature where Android Auto is a clear winner is Google Maps. While both technologies offer Google Maps support, Android offers voice-activated commands via the Google Assistant. Apple CarPlay also offers voice-activated support via Siri, but only for the limited Apple Maps app. Android Auto also supports third-party messaging apps like Google Hangout, WhatsApp, Skype and others. Apple CarPlay supports only SMS and iMessages, and it does not recognise other third-party messaging apps except WhatsApp.
With both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can enjoy most of the great features of your phone in your car, hands-free. If you’re ready to start browsing, check out some of the great new-car finance options available via dealers on Gumtree Cars.