Can You Use Apple Carplay and Android Auto on a Motorcycle?

If you spend a lot of time riding your motorcycle, then you likely want some type of infotainment to get you through any ride. After all, people that drive around in cars have the ability to use phone integration interfaces like Apple Carplay and Android Auto. But do motorcycles benefit from the same type of connectivity?

There are some motorcycles in the market that currently offer Apple Carplay and Android Auto

The 'Parrot RNB 6' combining Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is presented at the CES electronics and consumer technology tradeshow.
The ‘Parrot RNB 6’ combining Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is presented at the CES electronics and consumer technology tradeshow. | (Britta Pedersen/picture-alliance)

The short answer is yes, some motorcycles do have the ability to use Apple Carplay and Android Auto, however, the keyword is “some.” Apple Carplay and Android Auto have been offered on most cars since 2014, however, the programs have slowly trickled down to the motorcycle world. As such, here are some of the bikes that currently offer the phone integration software:

  • The 2020 Honda Gold Wing, Gold Wing DCT and Gold Wing Tour DCT.
  • The 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special, Street Glide Special, Road Glide Limited and Ultra Limited.
  • The CVO Limited, CVO Road Glide and CVO Street Glide.
  • The 2020 Indian Motorcycle Challenger, Chieftain and Roadmaster.

According to Cruiser, the 2018 Honda Gold Wing was the first motorcycle to offer Apple Carplay connectivity, but the list has grown over the past few years. Honda also added the ability for riders to use Android Auto as well, however, they’ll need a Bluetooth device and microphone to use either system. On the Honda Gold Wings, riders can control the interface via the handlebar controls or the panel on the fuel tank.

Harley Davidson was the first manufacturer to incorporate Android Auto into its bikes, but it recently included Apple Carplay as well. Indian also announced that it would be incorporating the use of Apple Carplay in all of its 2020 models equipped with the 7-inch Ride Command system.

How do Apple Carplay and Android Auto work on a motorcycle?

Just like an infotainment system in a car, Apple Carplay and Android Auto make use of the screen that the bike is equipped with. If you purchase one of the aforementioned bikes, then you can get the best experience by following a few steps:

  • Make sure that you’re in an area with good cell service as Carplay and Android Auto both rely on your cell phone’s ability to connect to the towers and receive a signal
  • Have a Bluetooth-enable headset or earbuds in order to hear the output from the phone integration software. Also, a Bluetooth-enabled helmet could work.
  • You’ll also need a cable to connect your phone to the system and use the software

Although some bikes will have touchscreens that allow the driver to control the infotainment device with the touch of a finger, others may not offer that for safety reasons. In that case, it’s worth it for the rider to use the voice controls to toggle through the system. Riders can simply say, “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google” to operate the system hands-free.

Other tips for using Apple Carplay and Android Auto on a bike

A row of Honda Goldwing motorcycles.
A row of Honda Goldwing motorcycles. | (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto)

In addition to using a Bluetooth headset to control the Apple Carplay and Android Auto interfaces on your motorcycle, Fat Head Cycles also recommends the following tips:

  • Manage your phone’s data: Make sure that your cell phone’s plan has a lot of data so that your connection isn’t interrupted during a ride.
  • Update your phone: Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, make sure that the phone’s operating system is up to date so you can take advantage of the integration
  • Invest in phone insurance: Since you’ll be using your phone on the bike, invest in insurance for it. You never know what can happen during a ride.
  • Pay attention to the road: With all this infotainment at your fingertips, or in your ears, it’s important to pay attention to the road ahead and stay safe.

Now that Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available on select motorcycles, riders can now have a wealth of infotainment features while riding. Fortunately, these phone integration programs are no longer just for cars.

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