Since I can remember, stock cars have always had entertainment systems. Most car companies have their own entertainment systems in their cars. The manufacturer’s infotainment systems have bad designs, horrible icons, and weird fonts, just to name a few things. Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay are better than most infotainment systems made by car companies, which aren’t very good.

Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay use your phone’s music, voice, and navigation features to power your car’s entertainment options. These two are doing a great job of trying to make the infotainment systems from the manufacturer better.

So, how do they compare, and which is best?

Android Auto

Android Auto is an in-car interface made by Google that shows the features of an Android device on the built-in screen of a compatible car. Android Auto is made to help drivers use their phones without having to take their hands off the wheel and look at their phones. Android Auto can be controlled by touchscreens and buttons, but Google’s voice command (Google Assistant) is recommended to keep drivers’ attention on the road. Android Auto works with Android phones that have Android 5.0 or higher. For seamless connectivity, you should use Android 6.0. You can get the app from Google Playstore, but Android 10 already comes with Android Auto built in.

CarPlay from Apple

CarPlay is an Apple standard, just like Android Auto, that lets the head unit of your car be both a screen and a controller for your phone, in this case an iPhone. With CarPlay, you can control your phone with your voice (Siri voice control), buttons, knobs, and the touchscreen, just like you can with Android Auto. Apple CarPlay works with iPhones running iOS 7.1 or later, starting with the iPhone 5. CarPlay doesn’t need to be added to your iPhone like Android Auto does. But your car or a head unit you buy separately must be able to work with Apple CarPlay.

The difference between Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Setup

Setting up CarPlay for the first time in your car is pretty easy.

  • First, turn on the entertainment system in your car.
  • Turn on Siri on your iPhone by going to Settings.
  • Connect your phone to the USB port in your car.
  • Hold down the Home button on your iPhone until Siri shows up on the screen of the head unit.

After you’ve set up CarPlay, all you have to do is tap the icon the next time you want to use it. CarPlay also gives you the chance to go back to your car’s original settings if you don’t like it.

Unless your phone is running Android 10, you need to download the Android Auto app from Playstore before you can use Android Auto. If you have the Android Auto app on your phone,

  • Connect your phone to your car’s head unit with a USB cable.
  • The app will tell you which big apps you should install if you haven’t already. Like Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Play Music.

After the app has been installed, a pop-up will ask you to give it permission.

You will then be ready to use Android Auto.

It’s easy to set up these two apps. But you should make sure that both your phone and your car can run the apps. To use CarPlay with your iPhone, it should be an iPhone 5 and run iOS 7.1 or a later version or model. CarPlay should also be able to work with your car. Check out the models of cars that work with CarPlay. Your Android phone should be running Android 5.0 or a higher version to work with Android Auto. Here is a list of the car models that can be used.

Design/User Interface

Whether you like Android or Apple’s interface depends on how you feel about its user interface or how it looks. If you use Android, Android Auto might be the best for you. The same thing would be true for iPhone users.

But putting aside personal preferences, which has the best user interface?

CarPlay is set up in a flat way that shows all the apps and features as large icons on a screen that you can scroll through. The CarPlay interface is hard to find fault with. It’s simple and good as a whole.

Android Auto’s home screen is a little bit different in how it is set up. At the bottom, there is a menu with shortcuts for doing different things.

In general, CarPlay from Apple is a little better than Android Auto. Even though both are still getting updates to make them easier to use, CarPlay wins because of its simple layout.

Navigation

Before iOS 12, the only navigation app that could be used with Apple CarPlay was Apple Maps. Google Maps and other third-party navigation apps did not work with Apple CarPlay. Users can now choose to install Google Map or other navigation apps like Waze or Sygic GPS instead of Apple’s Maps, which they are forced to use. To use Google Maps on CarPlay, you just need to get the app from the App Store and press the icon on your CarPlay screen.

Google Maps is the navigation app that comes with Android Auto. Google Maps is still one of the best apps for getting around. Compared to other navigation apps, it has clear directions, the features you want, an easy-to-use interface, and many other features. If you don’t like Google Maps, Android Auto also works with third-party apps like the better Waze.

When it comes to navigation, Android Auto is by far the best. Even though Apple’s CarPlay now works with Google Maps and other navigation apps, Android Auto is still more flexible and useful.

Phone calls and texting

Calls and messages on these two systems are both sent and received by voice commands. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay only use voice to send messages. This setting makes it safer for the driver to pick up calls or get messages and retrieve them. When it comes to calls, both of these apps work great.

When it comes to messaging, Android Auto is our favorite because it works with a lot of different apps.

CarPlay only works with Whatsapp and Messages when it comes to messaging apps. So you won’t be able to use other platforms like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack, Skype, or Kik. If you get a message through an app other than Whatsapp or Messages, you will have to pick up your phone and read it yourself.

Many messaging apps can be used with Android Auto. These are third-party messaging apps like Whatsapp, Skype, Google Allo, WeChat, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Kik, and many more. This makes it easier for people who use other messaging apps besides Whatsapp and the CarPlay messages.

Sounds and music

One of the most important parts of an infotainment system in a car is probably music or audio. It should be easy to play music from the comfort of your car. Android Auto and CarPlay both have built-in music apps and support third-party apps for music and audio.

With Apple CarPlay, you can use Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, and other music apps in addition to the default music app. Siri now works with music apps made by other companies thanks to the new iOS 13 update.

Google Play Music is the default music app for Android Auto. Apps like Amazon Music, Spotify, and Youtube Music that aren’t made by Google can also be used with Android Auto.

Voice Control: Google Assistant vs Apple Siri

Voice control, which is different from hands-on control, lets a driver control a car without touching the head unit. This lets the driver keep his or her attention on the road. Voice is the next big thing in computer and gadget interfaces, so it’s important to have the best audio interface.

At the moment, Google’s assistant is still the best, and Siri is second. In a test done by Zdnet.com, Google Assistant did the best job of answering the most questions in the most categories. Here is a bar graph that shows the results by category.

Even though Google Assistant is still better than Siri at voice control, both do a great job.

Help for third-party apps

With the most recent update to Apple’s CarPlay, it now works with a wider range of third-party apps in addition to the core Apple apps. But in total, there are still less than 30 applications.

Over 120 Google and third-party apps can be used with Android Auto right now.

Even though both systems can run the most important apps, a user with Android Auto will be able to choose which apps to use.

Support

When we talk about support, we think about two things. First, how many car models a system works with and which phones can run CarPlay or Android Auto.

First, car models.

Even though both apps are getting more popular and working with more car models as time goes on, Android Auto is still the best and works with more cars than CarPlay. Android Auto is currently available in more than 500 new car models around the world. Even though Apple’s CarPlay is still behind, it now works with more than 400 new car models around the world. This is about the same number as Android Auto.

With aftermarket infotainment systems, you can also add Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to cars that didn’t have them before.

Phones, second.

DeviceAtlas says that there were 60 percent more iPhone users in 2019 than in 2018. Even though Android is becoming more popular in the US, it only had 40 percent of the market. This gives Apple a big advantage over Android because they can reach a lot more people.

FAQs
Can I connect my Android phone to Apple CarPlay?

No. Apple CarPlay works only with iPhones and iPads because it is tied to the OS. You will need to buy an iPhone if you want to use CarPlay. If you have an Android phone, you can use Android Auto to play music and other media in your car.

Can Bluetooth work with CarPlay?

Yes. Even though most cars with CarPlay will require you to plug in and connect your iPhone with the lightning cable, newer models now support CarPlay and work through the car’s Bluetooth connection.

Can Android Auto be used without a cord?

Yes. The main way to connect to your car, like CarPlay, is through a USB cable. But you can also use a wireless connection to link your phone to your car.

Can older cars get Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay is only available in newer cars from certain car companies. If you have an older car model and want to use CarPlay in it, you still have a choice. CarPlay works with a number of aftermarket stereo receivers.

Is there something else besides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

You don’t have to use Android Auto or CarPlay as your car’s infotainment system. You can still choose from a number of other options. These include Drivemode, MirroLink, CarOS, HERE WeGo, Airbiquity, Car Dashdroid, and Dashlinq.

The End Result

Here are the scores after eight tough rounds.

Android Auto: 3

First, Apple CarPlay:

A Tie: 4

Based on the numbers, Android Auto is the best car entertainment system. But whether you choose Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay will depend on what mobile operating system you prefer, not on what this comparison says. Both systems are also constantly updated to make them work better and look better.