Let’s face it — using your smartphone while you’re driving is downright dangerous. Checking social media or having a text conversation when you’re supposed to keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel leads to distracted driving — which caused 3,166 deaths in 2017 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Of course, you can always use a hands-free set — but that only works for calls. So it’s good news that two solutions are now available on the market that allow you limited use of your smartphone while driving — but with a significantly reduced risk of being distracted. Those solutions are Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
What Is Android Auto?
Android Auto is a third-party app that connects to your car’s computer and basically functions as a digital twin of some of your Android phone’s functions. In other words, once your phone is connected, any text message that you receive on it will pop up on your vehicle’s computer interface.
To use Android Auto, you have to download the app onto your phone and then connect the device to your car’s USB port. Most vehicles of up to two years old are compatible — plus, aftermarket solutions can be installed in some older vehicles. Once your phone connects to the car’s computer, it should automatically load the program. The program will request access to your location, texts and calls. As soon as you give permission, you should be all set.
So which apps work with Android Auto? Google Assistant is the most important one since it allows you to give “Okay Google!” voice commands. It also uses Google Maps and Waze to help you navigate, as well as Dialer, SMS, WhatsApp, Kik, Telegram, WeChat and Hangouts for communication. For entertainment, you can use Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Audiobooks by Audible, NPR One and the MLB app.
What Is Apple Carplay?
Similar to Android Auto, Apple Carplay is specifically designed to keep iPhone drivers safer on the roads. Apple Carplay works with a long list of car models, including Acura 2017-2019 NSX, Chevrolet Equinox 2018 – 2019, Ford Transit 2017 – 2019 and GMC Sierra 2016 – 2019. You can see the full lineup here.
So how does Carplay work? It’s even simpler than Android Auto. All you have to do is plug your iPhone into your car’s computer using a USB cable, and the familiar Apple icons will pop up on the computer interface. To use Carplay, you can choose voice commands with “Hey Siri!” Alternatively, you can use your car’s touchscreen or knobs, buttons and dials.
When you start up Apple Carplay, you’ll see the Maps, Phone, Messages and Music icons on your screen. You can also add more navigation apps such as 2DIS, Google Maps, KakaoMap, NAVER Map, NAVTIME, Sygic Car Navigation: GPS & Maps, T map for All and Waze.
Entertainment apps you can add include Audiobooks, Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Spotify, CBS Radio, Overcast, Audiobooks.com, Audible, Pandora, Slacker Radio, NPR One, VOX, Clammr, Downcast, Radio Disney, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, SiriusXM Radio, Tidal, WhatsApp and At Bat2.
Be Safer on the Road
Android Auto and Apple Carplay won’t eliminate distractions, but they’ll make it easier for you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel. Compared to smartphones alone, they’re safer, easier to use and definitely worthwhile if you value your safety.
For more information or any questions about selling your old phone, just contact us. We’re always happy to help in any way we can.