Specification Comparison: Apple CarPlay vs Android Auto

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Car manufacturers are increasingly adding premium features in their cars, the most recent and admired feature is the infotainment system. The infotainment system is a broadcast material which is intended to both entertain and inform.

New-car buyers will find that future cars will allow them to connect their smartphones effortlessly to their vehicle's graphic displays for less complicated hands-free communication. When we speak of smartphones, two major phone integration apps are the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Google created Android Auto software to make hands-free calling a lot simpler with Android 5.0 and 6.0 release smartphones via the infotainment system screens. Apple CarPlay software was created for in-vehicle connectivity and allow access to iPhone apps through an interface with the vehicle's display screen.Here is a comparative analysis on the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Apple CarPlay Connectivity

The Apple CarPlay works with Apple iPhone 5 and later release phones, all you have to do is plug it into the vehicle's USB port, the system will detect the iPhone and an automatic CarPlay icon and update apps appear on the display screen.

The CarPlay supports Siri voice-recognition software for hands-free operation, this provides the capability to ask questions for driving directions or to play a specific song. All this while the driver's eyes on the road.

Android Auto Connectivity

Google's Android Auto works the same way by connecting to the USB port and any smartphone with Android Lollipop 5.0 should be able to use the Android Auto.The Android Auto though connects through the Bluetooth unlike the Apple CarPlay, which is part of the automatic setup of the Android Auto.

Home Screen Layout

Both the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is largely the same as the design language of their host handsets' respective operating system. Apple CarPlay layout of the apps on the interface is simple and easy to use and to get anywhere in the interface is a single- or double-tap affair.

The Android, on the other hand, there are a handful of icons at the bottom of the screen which is a shortcut to various functions. This enables you to avoid going to the home screen to select any other app on the smartphone.

With the Google Now which is a live-updating and contextually aware stream of information like the weather, notifications, and shortcuts to destinations based on your search patterns. This is brilliant as this could help save a lot of work in trying to get from searching a place to selecting Google Map for directions.


Of course, the Google Maps is being used extensively around the globe, but how does it fare when compared to Apple Maps. First, the Google Map app is quite legible on the display screen of your car and it provides verbal traffic updates and suggests best destinations and places based on your search patterns.

As for the Apple Maps, it looks good as the Android Auto and works well; however, many say that the Google Maps has the advantage when it comes to navigation. Both the software does not give the option of using a third-party navigation software like Waze, TomTom or Scout.

Voice Commands

Both the Google Now and Apple's Siri does an excellent job. Be it calls, send messages or request turn-by-turn navigation simply by speaking both are competent. From information about a place or things, the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are quite capable and offer the best experience.

Messaging And Audio Streaming

Both the Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto read aloud the messages received by the text-to-speech software and can be replied back with the Google Now or Siri by Apple with a touch of abutton.

So are there any difference? Yes. While the Apple CarPlay supports the SMS and iMessages, it does not recognise other messages apps such as WhatsApp or Skype. The Android Auto supports Google's Hangout, WhatsApp, Skype, ICQ, Kik and lots more. Here Android Auto does take precedence over Apple CarPlay.

As for the most basic entertainment feature - music, both the softwareallow third-party apps to stream music. Apart from their respective native audio apps, they support apps such as Spotify, iHeartRadio and Umano.


The design architecture and the language of the Apple CarPlay are well thought-out and elegant, while the Android Auto brings a whole lot of information to the driver which is well ahead of our thought process.

While Apple CarPlay does not support many apps except for music streaming, Android Auto allows third party apps to be supported. But just think if there are several messages received through the multiple messaging apps, you will be constantly notified about any new messages received.

The ratio between users of Apple iPhones to Android users is comparatively bigger and wider. This reveals that many Android users will have the option to use the Android Auto software in their cars compared to Apple CarPlay.

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