Android Auto vs Apple CarPlay: What are the Pros and Cons?

By Emily Eppley | December 20th, 2016

 

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Manufacturers are ramping up their connectivity and technology intelligence in every part of the vehicle they can. You can see it in the safety features like adaptive cruise control, in the engine with better fuel efficiency and even in the headlights when they ‘sense’ oncoming traffic and turn off your brights for you. But what have they done inside the car to help you?

Look no further than your phone. Brands, like Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, and Honda, have teamed up with Apple and Android to seamlessly connect your smartphone to your car to improve your car’s navigation, communication, and entertainment systems. While Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are very different in how they interact with your vehicle, they both have some pretty stellar features to brag about. Take a look at the pros and cons of each:

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Apple CarPlay

Available for all iPhones starting with the 5 onward, all you have to do is plug in a lightning cable to the car’s dashboard and the CarPlay casts the iOS interface onto the car’s built-in display screen. The large icons are easily recognizable and convenient for any Apple product user. And since they are just one level deep on the screen you can quickly scroll through everything to find what you’re looking for.

Apple CarPlay coordinates with Apple Maps to predict addresses from email, text, and calendar info to offer those as options instantly when you open navigation. This is extremely helpful when you’re in a hurry – on the other hand, Apple Maps’ actual navigation function is not always accurate. So you might be late anyway.

Siri is a vastly helpful digital assistant that will play music, read and answer text messages for you, provide responses to driving questions (like asking where the nearest gas station is) all by voice command. This frees up your hands so they can stay on the wheel and your focus on the road.

Pros

  • Familiar interface that looks, feels just like your phone
  • Fewer distractions thanks to limited number of third-party apps
  • App map tracks regular routes and matches them to your calendar
  • Integrates with car’s controls, knobs, buttons, touchscreen and more

Cons

  • Apple Maps is sometimes unreliable, less up-to-the-minute than Google Maps
  • Delayed response time with exact pointers (directions, locations, etc.) when you need them the most
  • Sometimes misinterprets dictations for locations, causing frustration and lateness

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Android Auto

Available for any droid phone with Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and above, Android Auto connects to your car through a USB cable or a similar cord used for charging. Buttons are clustered at the bottom of the screen so you can easily glance down and see all available options without taking your eyes off the road for long.

Navigation with Google Maps is consistently more accurate and offers smoother rerouting calculations to ensure you have the swiftest course to your destination. It’s also voice-guided so you don’t have to watch the map as often if you’re in busy traffic, you can just listen for the next turn.

Unique to each Android Auto user, you can receive info cards based on your previous Google searches. This means the screen will show you weather for the areas you frequent, sports scores of teams you follow, news stories, and any number of customizable notifications.

Google has also made this program more conducive to integration with third-party applications like Waze, Whatsapp, and Spotify.

Pros

  • Phone stays on silent while driving to avoid distractions
  • Reads messages out loud and activates a voice response option
  • Accurate and powerful Google Voice with reduced delay time
  • Large interface screen makes it easy to toggle between applications
  • Limited selection of touchscreen action buttons so less confusion

Cons

  • Many available apps mean more scrolling to find the one you want
  • Easily distracting with so many apps to choose from
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi direct connection yet
  • Can’t control car locks or interior climate settings through phone

 

You’re bound to get a great experience no matter which phone program you use and choosing between them will mostly depend on the kind of smartphone you already have. The functionality and usability are evenly matched between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so go with what you’re comfortable and familiar with. Below is an infographic courtesy of CarSumo with more information to help you master the ins and outs of your preferred program.

Which phone app do you use? Tell us what you think about each! Contact our team if you’d like more information about the phone program in your vehicle and we’ll walk you through your favorite features and where to find them in your vehicle.

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