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From Coke and Pepsi to Honda and Toyota, there have been many rivalries between companies for ages. Such is the case for Google and Apple when it comes to smartphone integration in your car. And while both Android Auto and Apple Carplay streamline the driver’s needs to access apps on their phones more conveniently, we had to wonder what the differences between the two are.

Android Auto versus Apple Carplay

In case you’re not familiar with these two smartphone integration programs, Android Auto and Apple Carplay do essentially the same thing. They both project applications from your smartphone onto your car’s infotainment system for easier and safer operation while driving.

Both systems will display information like music applications, chat applications, calls, text messaging, GPS maps, and more. Additionally, both systems are offered on most newer cars (2015 and newer) and are connected via a USB port or through a wireless connection. However, you can’t use Android Auto on an iPhone and vice versa, so that’s where the bulk of similarities end.

An attendee demonstrates Android Auto in a Chevrolet Spark car during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference
An attendee demonstrates Android Auto in a Chevrolet Spark car during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference. | Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Here is a list of the similar functions between Android Auto and Apple Carplay, according to Digital Trends:

  • Phone
  • Music
  • Maps
  • Podcasts
  • News
  • Audiobooks
  • Calendar
  • Settings
  • Exit button
  • Any other third-party apps that support the platform
  • A virtual assistant (e.g. Siri and Google Assistant)
Apple Carplay is shown on a Subaru BR-Z.
Apple Carplay is shown on a Subaru BR-Z. | (Photo by Will Ireland/MacFormat Magazine/Future via Getty Images)

How are the two in-car assistants different?

There are really only slight differences between the two in-car interfaces as they both use most of the same applications and have the same function overall. However, if you’re used to using Google Maps on your phone, the Android Auto has Apple Carplay beat.

While you can adequately use Google Maps on Apple Carplay, as the video from Straight Pipes pointed out below, the interface is much more user-friendly on Android Auto. For instance, you can pinch and zoom like you normally would on your phone and access the “satellite image” of the map as well. Those two small functions are not available when using Apple Carplay as that system is better geared toward the use of Apple Maps.

Also, users can change the overall look and functionality on Android Auto right through the app on their phone, while Apple Carplay’s interface is not as easily customizable and even shows up darker in some cases.

It’s also good to note that if you’re using an older Android operating system, then you might have to download the “Android Auto” app first.

Both systems get the job done

Ultimately, both Android Auto and Apple Carplay get the job done when it comes to easily pulling up directions, sending text messages via your voice, listening to music and podcasts, in addition to using other applications. There’s not even that much of a difference when it comes to using Siri on Carplay or Google Assistant on Android Auto, as both systems have similar response times and functionality.

Whether you’re a die-hard Apple fanboy or a religious Android user, you’ll still be in luck if you’re shopping for a new car. Most new cars in the market today come standard with Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility, so you’ll be able to connect your phone and use either one straight away.


How To Add Android Auto to an Older Car