A quick review of Android Auto, what it does, and how to get it working
If you don't already know what Android Auto is, it's a software application developed by Google for smartphones that run on the Android operating system. It is designed to mirror certain features of compatible Android mobile devices on the infotainment screen of a vehicle that is Android Auto-enabled. These are typically features that the driver needs to be able to access while driving their vehicles, such as music, navigation, and telephonic functions. Most modern smartphones run it without issues. The tips and tricks in this Android Auto review and guide aim to help answer your most pressing questions about using Android Auto.
The Android Auto app connects a cellular phone to a vehicle, allowing the driver to access phone features via the vehicle's infotainment system. It also allows one to control and view phone information on the car's screen to reduce distraction. Large, clear icons and easily executed swipe gestures are used to control it. In 2015, Hyundai was the first automaker to start offering Android Auto in its Sonata.
How to connect and use Android Auto is easy. On most cars, you will get access to your phone's contact list and all the other apps that Android Auto supports.
The main Android Auto features are:
The number of automakers offering Android Auto on their vehicles is rapidly increasing and, soon, the vast majority will offer it. However, it is sometimes left off the list of standard features on base models. It can usually be added for a nominal fee, and setting it up is usually easy. Some of the many cars with Android Auto functionality include:
Along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto will soon be available on the vast majority of cars, offering you access to your contacts, navigation, and music via a wireless connection while you are driving. The list of supported vehicles is constantly expanding as more automakers add the feature in the interest of safety and discouraging drivers from handling their cellphones while driving. Even if you don't have a compatible car, you can download the app, mount your phone to the windscreen, and still use Android Auto's capabilities this way, interacting with your mounted phone much like a dash-top touchscreen.
Yes, many after-market head units are available that give your car an Android Auto-enabled infotainment system. Read as many reviews on them as possible, as this will help you choose the best one for your needs. Many recent cars can benefit from an after-market installation; in fact, even most 2019 Toyota models such as the Tacoma and Tundra had no Android Auto support.
Install the Android Auto and Waze apps on your smartphone and make sure Waze is version 4.27 or higher. Launch Waze from your Android Auto screen in your car and use it just like you would normally. The map will be displayed on the infotainment screen and turn prompts will be issued through the audio system.
Besides the app, your phone must have access to the internet. Ensure you have the latest software versions of the Android OS and Android Auto applications. If you are connecting via a cable, buy a high-quality USB cable.
Your car's infotainment system merely accesses your phone, so all your Android Auto data remains on your cellphone.