Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are two software technology novelties that have recently been introduced into the automotive industry. The purpose of these systems is to replace the clunky, non-intuitive in-car infotainment systems with a more smartphone-friendly experience.
The implications of these technologies are rather positive, as pretty much everyone who owns a modern-day smartphone knows its way around the software on that smartphone. And these systems basically mirror smartphone apps to the main in-car infotainment screen.
Pretty much all newer Mercedes models offer the CarPlay feature. Most Mercedes models even offered it back in 2016, and some models like the C-Class only started offering it in the 2018 model year.
Using your phone while driving is extremely dangerous, and Apple Carplays offers a safer way to use your iPhone while traveling. You are able to make calls, receive all kinds of notifications and messages, or receive directions and enjoy your favorite music and podcast apps on the go.
The good thing is that you do not need to pick up the phone once you turn on this feature because everything happens on the main infotainment screen. As Mercedes does offer large, incredibly advanced, high-res infotainment screens that are as responsive as your iPhone display, utilizing this technology is a breeze.
Even if you don’t opt for the in-car navigation system, you are still able to use Apple Maps or Waze on your main infotainment screen. And many people prefer the navigation systems found on modern-day iPhones. You are also able to use the Siri voice assistant for many different features in the same way you usually do on your iPhone.
Siri can operate your music apps such as Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Soundcloud, Tidal, and many others right in your line of sight. Apple Car Play is cross configurable, so if you use multiple different cars, you are always using the same system, which makes everything a lot easier to control and understand.
Specific Apple CarPlay design, connection, and apps
Apple CarPlay user interface is designed to look just like your smartphone interface, so it’s fairly easy to navigate this system. Apple CarPlay is also able to utilize all the knobs on your infotainment system, furthermore, you can navigate the system by using touch input or with Siri.
Older Apple CarPlay systems connect through a wire into your in-car infotainment system, but the newest version is wireless. This means that whenever you start your car, your Apple Car Play can connect automatically and you don’t have to do a thing.
Apple CarPlay offers many different iPhone apps for your infotainment screen. Apps such as News+, Apple Podcasts, Audiobooks, WhatsApp, Audible, Amazon, Sirius FM, Google Play Music, Waze, and many other third-party apps as well.
The system is cohesive, intuitive, and easy to understand. Furthermore, using this system enables you to use your smartphone while driving in a safe and smart manner.
If you are not using an iPhone, and you know your way around the Android eco-system, don’t worry because Android Auto is basically the same hands-free in-car infotainment system, just made for the Android software. Pretty much all newer Mercedes models offer both Car Apple and Android Auto.
Android Auto enables you to use the Google Assistant and it also enables you to take advantage of many other navigation, communication, and entertainment features. In a sense, both of these systems are the same, but in some markets, these systems are an additional feature, but in the US, these two usually come as standard.
Both of these systems will make your in-car infotainment system a lot easier to understand and navigate, and most in-car infotainment systems are not as advanced. That being said, Mercedes MBUX or Audi MMI systems are incredibly advanced, and some people do prefer the design of these two over Apple Car Play or Android Auto.
Which is better, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto?
The Newest Apple Car Play systems offer a more customizable layout, specific dark or light modes, or specific wallpapers. All these features are lacking in the Android Auto world. But, if you want to add additional apps, you will have to pick up your iPhone, while Android Auto enables you to do so right on the infotainment screen.
Android Auto also offers a weather app, and Apple Car Play does not offer an Apple-specific weather app, rather a third-party app. Apple enables you to use on-screen messaging, while Android Auto doesn’t. It’s fairly safe to say that these systems don’t differ much, and the only deciding factor between these two is your preference of the operating system.
Which iPhone do I need to get to use the Apple Car Play feature?
All modern-day iPhones support Apple Car Play, only models that older than iPhone 5 are not supporting Apple Car Play, and it’s fairly safe to say that most people are far beyond an iPhone 5. Apple offers Car Play functionality for almost all car manufacturers available, only a few fairly unknown car brands don’t support Apple Car Play.
For Android Auto, it’s pretty much the same story. All systems that support Android 9 are capable of Android Auto if you download the app from the Google Play Store. Android 10 and newer versions have the Android Auto feature built-in.
Do Apple Car Play or Android Auto require any monthly subscription fees?
Neither Android Auto nor Apple Car Play require you to pay anything to take full advantage of the basic system, which most people use. But, if you want to take advantage of some apps that require you to pay a monthly subscription anyway, such as Spotify, you will not be able to use those types of apps without a subscription.
In the earlier days of these systems, some car manufacturers required you to pay a fee on a monthly basis, but no car manufacturer does this anymore. So it’s safe to say that both Apple Car Play and Android Auto are free to use, without any additional costs necessary.