Android Auto, in-depth guide: what it is, how it works, how to connect your mobile and the best thing you can do

android auto in depth guide what it is how it works.webp.webp.webp
android auto in depth guide what it is how it works.webp.webp.webp

If you have a relatively modern car or are thinking about buying one, you will find a screen on the dashboard and it is relatively common for it to integrate Android Auto. If you are not very clear about what it is and what it has to do with your phone, if you will be able to use it or not or if it is better or worse than other platforms such as Android Automotive or Apple Carplay, in this article we have compiled the most important thing about Android Auto so that whether you are starting from scratch or already using it, its usefulness and convenience are clear to you.

What is Android Auto and how it works

Android Auto is one of Google’s proposals for bring the Android experience to vehicles. More specifically, it is a Google application to bring information and some apps from your Android phone to the vehicle’s infotainment system.

From all this definition, there are two key points: the first is that you need to have the phone connected to the console since Android Auto is not an independent system and the second is the applications, since not all of them are compatible.

But not just any mobile phone will do. Although below we will list those compatible and their requirements, we already told you that To use Android Auto it is essential that your phone is Android.

In short, the essential requirements are that your car’s infotainment system has Android Auto, an Android phone, a connection between the two and that the mobile phone also has a data rate, since you will need internet.

How to connect your mobile to Android Auto

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Two ways: with and without cable. Thus, while all cars with Android Auto support the wired connection, only some will also be compatible with wireless mode.

While for one wired connection Any compatible mobile phone and most USB cables will do. However, Google lists some recommendations that should be paid attention to, such as having the USB icon, keeping the cable short, and avoiding hubs, extenders, and similar accessories.

For a wireless connection it is necessary that the car has an Android Auto compatible with this modesince it may require updates, hardware or simply an external device in the form of an adapter.

Both wired and wireless connections have their advantages and disadvantages. There is no better way than another, but it will depend on our needs.

What cars and cell phones are compatible with Android Auto

Compatibility is a key factor in explaining the popularity of Android Auto in terms of vehicles and people who can potentially use it. On the Android website, Google explains that there are more than 500 compatible models (although this is not new data by any means, it has been appearing for years), allowing us to access a list of compatible vehicles and stereo equipment.

If you take a look at that section of the Android website you will find a long list of brandsalthough I already tell you that it is not updated and that ultimately it refers to the manufacturer’s website: Audi, BMW, BYD, Dacia, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot , Renault, SEAT, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo… as you see, since 2016 the main brands have compatible models. However, today there are manufacturers that are beginning to move away from more personalized systems. So the best advice to clear up doubts about your car’s compatibility with Android Auto is to take a look at the technical sheet of the model in question.

As to which Android phones are compatible: The minimum Android version required is Android Oreo or later, which in practice means more than 90% of devices with this operating system. You can see what version of Android you have from the settings. But it is also necessary that it has Google services and that it is not Android Go, the OS for some cheap entry-level mobile phones.

What if I want to use wireless Android Auto? Here the requirements increase, since your mobile will have to have Android 11 or later (unless it is a Google Pixel or a Samsung mobile), support the 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection and, as we said above, that your car or stereo supports it (generally, for vehicles from 2020 onwards).

Best apps available for Android Auto

In general, the categories where you will find apps compatible with Android Auto are navigation, messaging and multimedia. Come on, what you may need most while driving, although there are also utilities such as The procedure to install an app with Android Auto It is practically identical to what you would follow to have any app on your mobile: go to the Google application store, search for the app that interests you and tap on install. When you complete the process and connect the phone to the car, you will see how it appears in the Android Auto menu, which means that it is ready to use. This is the operation for compatible applications, which are the ones you will find in the Google Play Store, but you can also install compatible apps that are not in the Google store, in this case using alternatives such as Android Auto Apps Downloader.


Below are some of the best apps compatible with Android Auto:

Cover | Eva Rodríguez de Luis

In Apps ProBox | Android Auto vs Android Automotive: how they are similar, how they are different and which is better

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Mubashir Hassan
Expert in tech and gaming, blending industry insights with expertise