The perpetual evolution of technology is a runaway train that can’t be stopped and car manufacturers are rushing to keep up with the latest developments, as are car buyers.
We are constantly inundated with the latest software updates, new apps that purportedly make our lives easier and innovative gadgets that will be replaced by an upgraded model even before we completely understand the original.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are becoming increasingly common in cars on the Australian market. The majority of manufacturers either already offer the technology, or are planning to in the near future. It’s essentially software, installed into the infotainment system.
It’s a familiar platform and gives you access to a simple version of your phone’s operating system on the car’s media display. Apple CarPlay is distinctly similar to what is displayed on your phone.
Android Auto is a little different, requiring an app to be downloaded but still facilitates access to recognisable apps.
Steve contacted CarAdvice to find out more.
Q: Hi CarAdvice. I’ve noticed a lot more cars are coming with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I have an Android phone and my wife has an iPhone, how easy is it to switch between phones and is there a better way?
A: Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are incredibly simple to set up and use. We have a Holden Captiva in the CarAdvice garage, it is compatible with both systems so we took the opportunity to test them both out.
First up, Apple CarPlay. Just connect the USB cable to the phone and plug it into the USB port. There’s no need for tedious Bluetooth pairing and your phone is constantly charging which is a lifesaver for those constantly on the move.
Siri is at your beck and call to help access the apps you need without touching your phone, which is of course illegal to do while driving. You can use the touchscreen, controls on the steering wheel or buttons and dials on the centre stack to navigate the system.
The maps app will suggest addresses it finds in your emails and messages when you go to input a destination, and you can search for nearby petrol stations, cafes, parking, shopping, restaurants and more.
Using voice control you can listen to and respond to text messages and Siri also helps to make calls, listen to voicemail or stream music via supported apps like Spotify or iTunes.
Android Auto is a simpler system and you need to download the app to your phone before you can plug and go. It’s the same process from there, just plug the cable into the USB port and the system fires up.
Its functionality is essentially the same as Apple CarPlay, with access to navigation, communication and music via apps. It’s also voice controlled and you can use the steering wheel controls and buttons on the centre stack.
A word of warning; keep in mind you’re using your mobile data and streaming music on a road trip may prove costly.
To switch between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, just unplug one and connect the other. It’s as simple as that.
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