Comparison: Apple CarPlay vs. Android Auto
Infotainment systems are becoming the norm in vehicles today. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are invading cars near you everyday. Soon, they will be available in many models as either standard features or upgradable options. So what is the difference between the two systems, and what can you expect from either an Android or iPhone when you connect them to the infotainment systems in your car, truck, or SUV?
The home screen organization for Apple CarPlay is about what you would expect to see. It looks similar to what you would find on your iPhone. All of the CarPlay apps are displayed as large icons that are scrollable. Every app is accessible one level deep with no folders to navigate keeping it simple for the driver. Android Auto have icons at the bottom of the screen that act as quick shortcuts for functions like navigation. Audio is accessed under the headphones icon, which gives you access to your apps, so there is some deeper navigation here.
Android Auto features Google Now, which gives you live streaming access to weather, traffic, notifications, and likely destinations for you based on driving habits. Here’s how it could work: you get an email with flight information and the app will bring up directions to the airport. Suggestion based mapping could be cumbersome if you look up something for your child and it keeps directing you there though. CarPlay keeps it a little more simple in this aspect. It displays a little red circle for missed calls and texts etc.
Now let’s look at navigation. Google Maps is used for Android Auto. This gives you crisp images, turn-by-turn directions, verbal traffic updates, alternative routes, as well as letting you know if a business will be closed by the time you arrive. For CarPlay, Apple Maps is your only option. This does work well with Siri, but the consensus seems to be that Google Maps does it better when it comes to navigation.
Messaging is kept simple with CarPlay texts and messages can be read aloud by the touch of a button and Siri can take dictation to reply. Other apps can’t be used for messaging through CarPlay. Android Auto allows you to use 3rd party apps for texting and messaging and messages are read allowed as well as replied to by voice command.
For music options, CarPlay offers iTunes, and Android Auto has Google Play. Both systems offer options like Spotify, iHeartRadio, Umano, and Stitcher. Pandora doesn’t seem to be supported, but most vehicles have Pandora Link. CarPlay seems to win here as they support 13 music apps, while Android Auto has 9.
Voice commands are really important when it comes to in car systems. Both Android Auto with Google Now, and CarPlay with Siri seem to be evenly matched in this category. They can both voice text, call, request turn-by-turn navigation, schedule reminders, make calendar appointments, and get questions answered by simple voice recognition.