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Difference Between Android Auto & Apple CarPlay

James Benchman
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by James Benchman

Tech industries are constantly at a stand-off.

While one company makes advancements in a certain field, the other might be just behind them, with a new and improved idea to excite consumers and put out the next big must-have tech.

The tech giant we’ve all learned to know and problematically love, Apple, has had somewhat of a monopoly over the tech field since the iPod made its first appearance. However, that’s not to say that other tech companies haven’t learned and even improved on some of Apple’s ideas.

In fact, Google has become the other tech giant that no one else can compete with. The two of them stare at each other from their ivory towers in Silicon Valley, and still awkwardly look away if they do accidentally make eye contact. It’s awkward for everyone involved.

Consumers have become just as divided in some senses over the products we consume. Now that there are both “Android people” and “iPhone people” walking among us, and we might be one of them–unless we’ve succumbed to the bargaining powers of Samsung or Microsoft–we all have one thing: a phone made by one of them.

Gone are the days that our car’s navigation system is all we have to guide us. The newest technology from Android and Apple helps us with hands-free navigation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are helping drivers get around just like the maps on our phones do.

They also aim to decrease the instances of accidents by not having drivers rely on their phones for navigation, texting, and shuffling through music.

Android Auto vs Apple Carplay – What Are Their Differences?

1. Setup

Before getting started with Android Auto, you must download the app on your phone, connect your USB port to the car’s system, and allow for the navigation and other controls to be dictated by the app. It should easily appear on your car’s screen.

According to users, the interface is actually better than what is standard to a system’s navigation.

Depending on the car that the phone and app are plugged in to, the sync should be relatively painless. Following the prompts of the app should be enough to get you started. Any blocks could be due to the car’s security. It might not be as easy as Google would have you believe.

Carplay is just as simple as Android Auto is supposed to be. Plugging in your phone to the navigation should be as easy as a connection. Like Android Auto, there are a few apps you have access to through this interface, which include podcasts, music, calls, texts, and of course, maps.

CarPlay also gives the option to revert back to the car’s original system and interface should you want to.

However, CarPlay will only work with iPhones that are the 5 model and up, and it isn’t supported in every vehicle. Apple does list incompatible vehicles, which is good to know before you commit to the system. There’s also the option of changing the system already in your car to one that is compatible, which can be pricey.

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2. Voice Control

Voice control is something we are all getting used to, but it still comes with drawbacks.

Google is known as a champion in this arena, as their technology is one of the most advanced out there, if not the most advanced. With new voice control options coming to Google, this was the perfect time to test out the kinks.

Voice controls are quite easy using Android Auto, though there has to be the usage of the microphone option in whichever car you’re using. That makes it not entirely hands-free. Using voice control always runs the risk of being misheard, but Google is very good at guessing correctly.

CarPlay, on the other hand, is almost entirely based on voice prompting as a method to keep it entirely hands-free. This is great in theory as it will decrease the likelihood of auto accidents due to phone usage, but it also brings with it its own problems.

Siri is not known for her excellent hearing so that this method may cause more problems than solutions.

3. Calls and Text Messages

Making calls or sending texts while driving is not a good idea. With CarPlay and Android Auto, you don’t run the risk of having to use your hands while driving.

If you need to send a text or make a call that can’t wait, it’s easy and better to go hands-free. Android Auto is especially advanced in that it can compose texts based off of dictation with very few errors.

CarPlay has a similar system while remaining hands-free, with the option to make voice calls and dictate or be read texts that you have received while driving.

4. Navigation

Just like Google Maps remains the king of tech maps, Android Auto’s navigation is superior. With more options than Apple maps as far as nearby needs, Android Auto is killing it in navigation.

The only downside would be making the differentiation between places of the same name using voice alone.

As Siri still has kinks while using voice control, navigation can be a bit tricky as the only available option via CarPlay is Apple Maps, and Siri has a difficult time understanding voice control a large part of the time.

5. Audio

Android Auto has options when it comes to music. There are a ton of third-party music streaming apps that can be used with the system. They also have the ability to be accessed hands-free. Jumping from platform to platform doesn’t have to be difficult with this system.

CarPlay also has quite a few options in addition to Apple’s music streaming services. There are apps that can be downloaded and enjoyed through the app and played through the system. Both of these systems have planned for music streaming to be of the utmost importance.

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About James Benchman
James Benchman
James is an Automotive Mechanic with over 20 years experience and 300+ car repairs. He is an expert with cars and has worked with different models from the biggest brands. James is a Mechanic , Husband , Father of 3 , and head of content at Caraudiologic. Learn more about us
  1. Now that Android 10 has come out and Android Auto has been updated, there are many bug reports coming out. Android Auto has stopped sending outgoing messages in Textra, Messages and WhatsApp and others are complaining of the same problems. Friends I know who use Apple CarPlay are also taking advantage of a new interface and are not experiencing any problems. Seems like the latest version of AA is buggy and not ready for prime-time.

  2. Good article!

    On the one hand, Google deserves a standing ovation for the new interface, inasmuch as it mainly mimics Carplay. Unlike Carplay, voice commands work flawlessly. Also, unlike Carplay, it’s buggy as hell! (In my experience, the new format has had no effect on the app’s crash rate. It crashes at the same rate now as it did before. I use it in two vehicles; A 19 VW and 18 Honda). I’ve applied every bit of nerdcraft recommended as fixes on various forums: OEM cables (my phone is a Moto Z3), USB debugging, limiting background processes, installing updates, clearing cache, disabling battery optimization. I still can’t take a road trip for more than an hour that doesn’t require rebooting the phone. That fixes the problem for a while, but it’s annoying and a little dangerous.

  3. AA had gotten so bad lately with crashes that I’m about two seconds away from driving to an Apple store and buying an iPhone. I had enough with it

    1. Sorry, Jack, that sounds really frustrating. Everyone has their issues, but that’s why I stick with Apple when it comes to phones and tablets as it’s usually a better experience. And, this comes from a long-time “PC” guy, who doesn’t prefer a Mac.

  4. With a huge amount of hassle and frustration, I was able to install Android Auto on my new Kenwood. And it is still nothing but problems. The Google Assistant hears you but doesn’t respond – which means it is not any better than Siri (this problem was reported 6 weeks ago and is still unresolved). Google Maps leaves much to be desired, Here is a better alternative but not supported in Android Auto.

    When rerouting Google Maps will actually direct you to make a u-turn in the middle of a busy major arterial or highway! Nope to getting a ticket or a major accident. Google Maps will also route on a needless long route, skipping more direct routes.

    I have become so frustrated and also weary of Google harvesting data about me to sell ads that I now have an iPhone – and I am no fan of iOS. But Carplay just works out of the box. Android Auto has so many demands, so little support, and is so buggy that it is like Windows 95.

    It is incredibly difficult to get Android Auto working, Google likes to blame your USB cables — but it will sometimes work with very cheap data cables, with premium cables like Anker, and with the cables that your phone ships. But Android Auto is sensitive to any problems with your phone’s charging port (dirty, micro-damage), and I had to upgrade my head unit firmware, turn off web-link, and install/uninstall Android Auto more than ten times to get it working.

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