What is Android Auto? How does it work?

February 10, 2017 by

Android Auto allows owners of Android smartphones and tablets to easily connect their device to their vehicle via its infotainment system display. Features such as making and receiving calls and text messages, using sat nav and listening to music are all possible thanks to this Google-developed system.

What is Android Auto?

Similar to the rival Apple CarPlay system, Android Auto lets buyers use features on their smartphone through the car’s infotainment system while on the move. It’ll allow your phone to work seamlessly with the car’s built-in infotainment system without any ugly aftermarket modifications, too.

Android Auto is often easier to use and faster to respond than the car’s standard built-in system and, as a result, should prove less distracting for drivers. It also allows you to access a range of additional apps, such as internet radio and performance monitoring features, that might not come installed on the car’s standard infotainment system.

Which cars support Android Auto?

A variety of manufacturers support Android Auto, including Volkswagen, Fiat and Vauxhall. To help you out, we’ve come up with a list of all the cars that currently support Android Auto. Bear in mind, your device needs to be running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) operating system, or newer, to be compatible with Android Auto features.

It’s possible to buy an Android-Auto-compatible aftermarket infotainment system, often called a head unit, from companies such as Pioneer, Sony or Alpine. These systems replace your standard built-in unit and offer compatibility with Android Auto alongside a host of other functions. They can help upgrade an old model with a boatload of 21st century tech but can be expensive and may not fit the cabins of older cars.

How does Android Auto work?

Android Auto uses a standard cable to connect your phone to your car. As a result, it’ll simultaneously charge your device and use its data connection for certain features.

Information from your device is displayed on the car’s central screen where you can access a plethora of features using voice control or your car’s infotainment input – whether it be touchscreen or button based.

Android Auto features


If your car doesn’t come with built-in sat nav, Android Auto lets you use Google Maps on your car’s infotainment system. Using this feature, you’ll be able to access turn-by-turn voice navigation, live traffic information and constantly updated maps for free.


Android Auto gives you the ability to make and receive phone calls and text messages through your phone. You can even use a selection of apps, such as WhatsApp and Skype, to keep in contact, too.


Android Auto’s built-in audio player allows users to access their phone’s music library on the move. This system’s also compatible with Spotify music streaming and internet radio features and comes with a 90-day free trial of Google Music.


A huge range of apps will work with Android Auto – ranging from BBC News to Google Hangouts. Being able to update your phone regularly with new apps makes Android Auto more flexible than many traditional infotainment systems, too.

Save money on your next car

For the latest carwow offers head over to our new car deals page. Not sure what to buy? Let our car chooser tool narrow down your search or check out our guide to Apple CarPlay if you’re looking for a car that’ll work with your iPhone instead.