What is Android Auto?

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House, Abshier House

Android Auto is a new feature available for your Droid smartphone. Because cellphone-related car accidents are on the rise, many major automobile manufacturers have decided to implement a safer way to use your smartphone while driving. Once your Droid is connected to your automobile, the phone’s screen will be mirrored on the display of your car stereo.

Android Auto gives you a hands-free option for operating your smartphone while driving. [Credit: Im

Credit: Image courtesy of Android.com
Android Auto gives you a hands-free option for operating your smartphone while driving.

What do you need to use Android Auto?

Before you can use the new Android Auto safety feature, you will need to take a couple of things into consideration.

  • Do you have an Android smartphone running OS 5.0 or higher?

    The Android Auto safety feature is only available on 5.0 (Lollipop) and higher. If your smartphone is running an older Android OS, unfortunately, you will not be able to use Android Auto. Update your device (if applicable) to Android 5.0+. If your device is unable to update to Lollipop and you want this new feature, a new phone purchase may be required.

  • Do you have a data plan through your cellphone provider?

    Because Android Auto uses data-rich applications such as the voice assistant Google Now (Ok Google) Google Maps, and many third-party music streaming applications, it is necessary for you to have a data plan. An unlimited data plan is the best way to avoid any surprise charges on your wireless bill.

  • Do you have a compatible car or supported aftermarket stereo?

    Many 2016 automobile models and aftermarket stereos will support Android Auto. If a new car purchase is not in your near future, an aftermarket stereo is a great option. Check the Android Auto page to see if the car or stereo you wish to purchase is supported.

What is included with Android Auto?

The built in applications supported by Android Auto are listed as follows:

  • Google Maps: The Google Maps app offers directions, road and traffic conditions, as well as travel time. Get directions quickly and accurately.

  • Messages: The Messages application will read incoming text messages. You speak your response into the car stereo/microphone. Android translates your speech into a text and sends it to your recipient. Messages paired with Android Auto allow you to keep your eyes on the road instead of on your Droid.

  • Music: The Music app allows access to the stored music on your smartphone. You can rock out to all your favorite jams directly from the car stereo.

  • Home: Home is a shortcut icon that takes you directly to your Home screen. Here, you can quickly see all of your supported applications and safely make your selection while driving.

  • Phone: The Phone app, paired with Android Auto, allows you to make and receive calls through your car stereo. When a call is coming in, your music or audio pauses and you will hear the ringtone instead. Take or reject the call and the music resumes as soon as you are finished.

Applications such as Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music, and many more are supported. Search the Google Play Store for additional applications.

To access other supported applications while your phone is connected to Android Auto, you simply download the applications to your smartphone and coordinating icons will display on your car stereo. If no extra icons are displayed then no supported applications have been downloaded.

Keep in mind that Android Auto is not an OS built into your car stereo, but is a feature that allows your phone to display on the screen in your car. Most Android Auto-supported stereos also support Apple CarPlay.