In a time when everyone uses their smartphones or computers to access the internet’s wealth of information, modern cars are also linked to the internet via smartphone integrations like Android Auto in their touchscreen stereos. Drivers can now easily plug in their Android phones to stay connected while driving.

Having your Android smartphone connected to your modern car stereo is one thing, and we all know that texting while driving is very dangerous. So what exactly is Android Auto and how does it help you while driving your car? Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s “smart driving companion.”

Android Auto Features

Google launched Android Auto in 2015, a smartphone mirroring app that allows drivers to connect their smartphones to their car’s infotainment system via Android Auto Wireless (Bluetooth) or with a USB cable. This app is designed to use GPS mapping and navigation, audio playback, calls, SMS, and web search, in a safe and convenient way while you keep your focus on driving. Both touchscreen and button-controlled head units are supported by the system. To lessen driver distraction, hands-free operation via voice instructions is an option and is encouraged.

Here are all the features of Android Auto:

Navigation Tools

Android Auto provides real-time alerts and turn-by-turn directions using mapping apps such as Google Maps and Waze to find routes and places of interest including gas stations, EV charging stations, and parking spots. The system also has a built-in weather card to show the conditions in your current location.

Voice Control (Google Assistant)

You can access all the information you typically would without exiting the app because Google Assistant is seamlessly integrated with Android Auto. For instance, when you ask Google Assistant for local gas stations, Android Auto is not shut off and a map of those stations is displayed. Gas stations are displayed along your journey if you currently have one open. Beyond your car, Google Assistant connection is available. Ask Google Assistant via Android Auto to make sure everything is cozy and comfortable when your lengthy drive is finally done if you have smart lights or a smart thermostat connected to Google Home.

Hands-Free Calls & Chats

SMS displays are easier to read with Android Auto, as there is less clutter and texts are larger. With the help of Google Assistant, SMS messages will be read to you out loud and you can write back by talking. The system also gives access to hands-free calling as it defaults calls to speakerphone when placing or receiving a call.

Easy To Use Media Apps

Android Auto synchronizes your media apps from your phone or runs them smoothly with your infotainment unit. Android Auto’s audio player is adaptable. YouTube Music is the default option, but you can also use Spotify and other compatible streaming apps. Along with supporting connectivity with these services, the software also supports Pocket Casts and Pandora.

Android Auto Compatibility

The majority of Android phones support Android Auto. The key prerequisite is that Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or later must be installed on the phone. Android Auto’s performance will also depend on the phone in question. For instance, even if a phone has the right version of Android loaded, it is difficult to operate Android Auto well if it is slow and unresponsive.

If your vehicle has Android Auto functionality, you can utilize the system on your phone or on your infotainment system. Otherwise, you can solely use Android Auto through your Android smartphone. Keep in mind that Android Auto is a downloadable app and not pre-installed software on your Android smartphone. Some Android phones cannot connect wirelessly to Android Auto; however, other vehicles equipped with it can.

How To Connect To Android Auto

Before connecting your smartphone to Android Auto, make sure that your OS is running Android versions between 6 and 11. Your phone also needs to have the mobile app installed and your car’s infotainment system should be compatible to run Android Auto.

Once everything is confirmed, here’s all you need to do:
  1. Check your phone’s internet connection. It needs a strong Wi-Fi or mobile data connection for this process to work.
  2. Ensure your car is in park for AT or neutral + handbrake for MT.
  3. Start the car.
  4. Turn on your Android smartphone.
  5. Connect the smartphone to your car using a USB cable or pair your phone via Bluetooth.
  6. Review and accept the safety notice and the terms and conditions for using Android Auto.
  7. Follow the on-screen prompts on your smartphone. If you haven’t set up Android Auto before, grant the app access to various permissions.
  8. Select the Android Auto app on the display of your car radio or infotainment system and follow the on-screen prompts.

Navigate, communicate, and access your media with Android Auto as you keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Here at Sonic Electronix, we have a wide arsenal of Android Auto Car Stereos available in single DIN and double DIN on industry-leading brands, including Sony, JVC, Pioneer, Kenwood, and more.