Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: How Do They Stack Up?

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are Silicon Valley’s answer to the outdated, clunky “infotainment” dashboard setups that come with modern vehicles. Thankfully, car manufacturers are backing off and letting tech nerds do what they do best: design sleek, functional vehicle operating systems more closely aligned with the driver’s smartphone.

apple carplay android auto

If you’ve gone shopping for a new vehicle lately, you’ve probably noticed that the latest buzz is all about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But did you know you can make your older car compatible too? All you need is an aftermarket system upgrade, easily delivered by the team at Laketown Speed and Sound.

But before you make the change to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you should know what you’re in for.

Setting it Up

To get going with Apple CarPlay, all you need to do is plug in your iPhone. But beware; since a lightning cable input is required, you will need at least an iPhone 5 or newer. Once you’re connected, CarPlay starts up automatically and appears on your vehicle’s dashboard, but you can easily switch to the car’s standard operating system at any time.

Setting up Android Auto is similar. Download the app and then plug in your phone. You may have to allow the Android Auto program access to the vehicle’s operating system, but once you do, it will start automatically whenever you plug in your phone.

Navigation Capabilities

Sadly, neither Apple CarPlay or Android Auto offers much of a choice when it comes to navigation. You’re forced to use the iPhone’s Maps application, which at times isn’t the most accurate option. Android Auto compels you to use Google Maps as a default. For many drivers, this may be a benefit — many Apple and Android smartphone users prefer Google’s directions to others.


Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow drivers to download and use third-party music apps such as Spotify, iHeart Radio and more. You also can access the built-in music stream apps for both phone operating systems: Google Play and iTunes Music.

Apple seems to have the edge, since it offers an easily navigable Spotify interface and a few more supported third-party apps than Android, but both allow developers to publish compatible apps, so this will continue to be an evolving competition.

Hands-Free Options

Both systems attempt to coerce the driver into hands-free operation as much as possible. For Apple CarPlay, this means you can use Siri to do just about anything you need while on the road. Android’s Google control works well also. You can make calls, record voice to text, get directions and search the internet while keeping both hands on the wheel.

Future Development Is Needed

Since both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are new releases, it’s clear many improvements will be made, but both offer the smartphone user a much better vehicle “infotainment” dashboard than the stock option.

You probably won’t change the type of smartphone you use based on how it functions with your car, but you may want to upgrade your receiver to enjoy a whole new driving experience. Talk to the team at Laketown Speed and Sound for a free quote.