11 Things You Need to Know About Android Auto

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 30 Apr 2015

So you want to get Android Auto in your car but have no idea where to start. I spent two weeks riding around in various automobiles. With Google’s new in-car software to help you with this. I even spent time with Google’s Daniel Holle, Product Manager on Android Auto. To learn more about the software’s inner workings. Android Auto is simple and safe to use. The hard part is figuring out how to get it into your car.

You Don’t Need a New Car to Get It

Pioneer was one of the first manufacturers to offer after-market receivers with Android Auto.

Google doesn’t expect you to buy a new car to access Android Auto. Brands like Pioneer, Alpine, Clarion, and Kenwood are already part of the Open Automotive Alliance. So you can at least pay to upgrade your dashboard system.

Pioneer was the first aftermarket car stereo manufacturer to offer a specific line of receivers supporting Android Auto. You can check to see if the following line is compatible with your vehicle at Pioneer’s website. Of course, you’ll have to factor in the price of the receiver unit. And the cost of labor to have it installed in your car. The upgrade is worth it for the functionality.

Not Every Car Manufacturer was on Board

If your car manufacturer wasn’t a part of the Open Automotive Alliance assembled in 2014, you might be out of luck. Toyota, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are among the more prominent manufacturers. They were conspicuously missing from the list early in the development. Because they had already invested heavily in their own systems. Remember that it has since changed, as it is now 2022.

Android Auto Complies to Safety Regulations

Android Auto isn’t just to help you control music or navigate around town. Its mission is also to help you keep your eyes on the road. Android Auto was built to comply to automobile safety standards, like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The big idea behind this is we’re making the drive a lot safer, Holle said. During an Android Auto demo at headquarters in Mountain View. You won’t find an app launcher right now because we want to be smart about not overwhelming the user. They wanted to be smart about what kind of uses are available in the car. That’s one reason why it is unusable.

Now Basically Runs the Show

Going somewhere? Now has you covered.

Now is essentially the home base for Android Auto. Important Cards will pop up as needed, but never too many at a time to avoid driving distractions. And your car won’t show you cards that have nothing to do with the information you’d need in a vehicle. Suppose it knows you’re going on a trip, for instance. In that case, it might automatically pop up directions to the airport once you get into the car. Or, if you’re on your way to a new town, Android Auto will display the weather at your destination.

Android Auto Relies Heavily on Voice Commands


You can navigate, but you can’t read text messages. Instead, Android Auto will dictate everything to you.

For Android Auto to be safe for drivers, it has to eliminate any significant distractions. As a result, Android Auto has a minimal selection of touchscreen action buttons. You control the interface primarily through voice. For instance, if you want to send a text message, you’ll have to dictate it out loud. When you receive a reply, Android Auto will, in turn, read it to you. You can use the Android Auto keyboard only if the car is parked. You can use it to input an address, for instance. But once the vehicle is ready to drive, the keyboard option disappears.

Not All Messaging Apps are Currently Supported

Android Auto currently supports a limited number of text messaging applications, including Hangouts, Messages, and Kik. You can view the complete list of supported Android Auto apps in the Play Store. More are on the way as developers update their apps.

You Can’t Use Your Phone While It’s Plugged In

You’ll see this while the phone is connected. Look at a splash screen that says Android Auto.

Android Auto relies heavily on your phone to work. Your phone is inoperable when plugged in the vehicle. The whole point is to keep you from using any applications on your phone while driving. Anyway, you don’t need to check your Instagram feed while driving, do you?

Apps Will Have to be Approved By

Any app compatible with Android Auto are vetted.

Google isn’t limiting Android Auto to messaging and music apps forever. But as it introduces new apps into the platform. It’ll need to vet them to ensure they comply with both development safety standards. We make the app categories very carefully for what makes sense in the car, said Holle. Developers are limited on an App basis. If they submit it to the Play Store, we do a manual review test with those apps.

It Requires Lollipop, a companion app

You’ll need the Android Auto app to run Android Auto.

After installation of Android Auto in the vehicle. The phone you use has to be Android 5.0 or later. Then, you’ll need to download Android Auto from the Play Store. Once that’s all set up, you’ll have to plug in the phone with a Micro USB cable. Android Auto now supports Bluetooth or Wi-Fi direct. Some Android phones may not work with Android Auto. Just check if your phone is compatible.

Everything Stays on Your Phone

The best part of Android Auto is that everything stays tied to your phone. Including your music, your personal details, and the places you travel to the most. No data is on the receiver. As long as your phone stays updated, and so does Android Auto.

You can’t Control the Radio with It

This is a bummer for those of us who still like analog things. Android Auto can’t control your AM/FM or satellite radio, car locks, or air conditioning. It’s focuses on the features most used on your phone. In a manner that isn’t distracting to your driving.