Android Auto: What is it and how to use it?

Android Auto is an app that works on most Android phones, but it does not do much on its own. An alternative way to build an easy to use Android phone while driving. The screen is designed to be easier to read at a glance, and voice controls are heavily integrated via Google Now.

Android Auto functions as a stand-alone application, but at the same time, touch-screen car radios are also built. When this compatible car is connected to one of the radios, the application has the ability to integrate the phone display with features such as mirroring to the radio screen and steering wheel sound controls.

What can Android Auto do? 
Android Auto is a cover designed for easy use in your car on your phone, but it can also interface with car radios. Android Auto can do many things an Android phone can do on its own, but it’s a fine-tuned feature for an automotive setting.
The basic idea is that it is both dangerous and difficult to deal with by phone while driving, and it helps to make it a little easier thanks to Android Auto.

Android Auto’s three main functions are step-by-step directions, hands-free calling, and playing music. However, the system can be customized beyond this. For example, turnaround in Android Auto in turn is handled by Google Maps, but Waze integration is also supported.

The audio player on Android Auto is also very flexible. While you’re on Google Play Music as the default, you can listen to the local library of songs in your phone or Google Play Music All Access.
The application also supports integration with services like Pandora and Spotify, podcatchers like Pocket Casts and much more.

Android Auto also includes built-in weather to show you the conditions of your location, which is very useful on long road trips, integrating with your phone’s translator and supporting other chat and voice applications like Skype.

When you receive a message via a text message or an application like Skype, Android Auto can read it aloud so you do not have to keep your eyes on the road.

How do you use Android Auto?

You can use Android Auto on your phone or on a compatible car radio. There are two different ways to use Android Auto: as an independent experience on your phone, or in conjunction with a compatible car radio or infotainment system. Both methods provide a similar benefit, but integrating Android Auto with a compatible touch-screen car radio is a superior experience.

There are several different options when using Android Auto on a phone by itself.

This is the most basic use of Android Auto, because the phone will turn on the speakerphone when making or receiving a call, and the hands-free access to the conversation. In this mode, the phone screen is easier to read, without Android Auto, because it does not have large text and clutter.

For further integration, the phone can be paired with any Bluetooth enabled car radio or connected to the radio via an aux bus, FM transmitter or other similar method.
This type of connection allows you to receive audio from Android Auto, such as music from Spotify or driving directions from Google Maps, to play through the car audio system.

Another way to use Android Auto is to connect a compatible phone to a compatible car radio or infotainment system.
This is done by running Android Auto on the phone and connecting it to a USB or Bluetooth compatible medium. Doing so reflects the phone’s display slightly modified on the radio screen.

When a phone is connected to a car radio via Android Auto, the phone screen is blank and the radio screen turns off.
All information normally displayed on the phone is visible on the radio screen.

Because car radio touchscreens are typically much larger than phone screens, this makes it easier to navigate through sequential directions or jump to the next song on the Spotify playlist than if you were just on the phone.

Connecting Your Phone to Android Auto Connecting
Android Auto with a phone to a phone radio or infotainment system is easy, but a few things must happen before you start. First, the phone should at least be updated to Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or Android Auto will not work at all.
The phone also needs to have Android Auto installed and the car radio or infotainment system compatible with Android Auto.

It is quite easy to connect a phone to Android Auto if all of these features are provided:

  1. Check your phone’s internet connection for this operation to work. A strong Wi-Fi or mobile data connection
  2. Make sure the car is parked.
  3. Open the car.
  4. Pick up the phone.
  5. Connect the phone with a USB cable.
  6. Review and accept the terms and conditions of the Security Notice and Android Auto use.
  7. Follow the on-screen commands for your phone. If you have not set up Android Auto before, you’ll need to give app access to various permissions.
  8. Select the Android Auto app on your car radio or infotainment system screen and follow the onscreen instructions.

Once you’ve done this for the first time, you can connect your phone via USB to activate Android Auto at any time.
If using a wired connection is not feasible, you can choose to pair your phone with Bluetooth.

Using Google Now with Android Auto

Google Now also works with Android Auto. Google Now is integrated directly with Android Auto.
This means that you can access all of the information you normally do without leaving your application.

For example, if you ask for nearby gas stations, Google Now will map the nearby gas stations before you turn off Android Auto. If you have a route that is still going on, it will display gas stations specifically along this route.
Of course, Google Now integration is far beyond your car. If you have smart lights or an intelligent thermostat that connects to Google Home, you can ask Google Now via Android Auto to make sure your work is nice and comfortable when it finally ends in the long run.

Android Auto Apps There are a number of applications that will interface well with Android Auto. In addition to the basic functions of Android Auto, it also supports a number of other applications. Support is limited, most Android apps do not comply with Google’s strict rules for Android Auto-compatibility, but many of the popular entertainment, information, and communications applications have attracted the attention of users.

To use an application with Android Auto, you first need to download and install it. If you already have an application like Waze or Spotify installed on your phone, then you are ready. Android Auto has changed the way it looks on your phone, so there’s nothing to install.

Some applications, such as Amazon Music and Pandora, show whether the phone is connected to a compatible car radio. These apps can be accessed by touching the headset icon twice and then selecting the desired application.
Other applications, such as Waze, only work when the phone screen is projected onto a compatible car radio screen.

What phones work with Android Auto? 
Android Auto works with most Android phones. The basic requirement is that the phone needs to run Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or newer. This includes more than 90 percent of Android devices.
While working on Android Auto, Lollipop, Google recommends Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) for best performance.

The capabilities of any phone will also affect how well Android Auto works. For example, if a phone is already slow and unresponsive, it is not possible to run Android Auto very well, even if you have an appropriate version of Android Auto.

Which Automobiles Work Automatically? 
Android Auto compatibility is available from most car manufacturers and from a range of aftermarket car radio manufacturers. The list grows and changes every year with each new model, but Chevrolet, Honda, Kia, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Volvo and others all offer Android Auto integration on some or all of their cars.

On the aftermarket, head units compatible with Android Auto have been made available to manufacturers such as Kenwood, Panasonic, Pioneer and Sony.

Google offers a comprehensive list of tools compatible with Android Auto,  including up-to-date and scheduled models.

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