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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto explained

By Cameron Kirby and WhichCar Staff, 28 Apr 2020 Car Advice

what is apple carplay?

Integrating your phone and your car using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is now commonplace, so here’s what you need to know if you're new to it

Australians love adopting new tech, a fact highlighted by the massively high percentage of smartphone saturation in our nation compared to the rest of the world.

So it's no surprise that smartphone mirroring has become prevalent in new cars, with the feature becoming a major selling point for many models, including some of the most affordable.

Apple CarPlay

However, if you drive an older vehicle, you’d be forgiven for not understanding what smartphone mirroring is or why you’d want it – after all, using your phone while driving is illegal, right?

So, what does it do? The simple explanation is that it allows you to safely and legally access a number of smartphone apps while driving, using your vehicle’s infotainment system.

The two leading smartphone mirroring interfaces are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, for Apple and Google Android devices respectively. 

Android Auto

Text messaging, telephony, audio streaming, and mapping apps are the core uses for the technology.

For example, if you have an Android smartphone you can plug your phone into the car via a USB cable, or in some cases wirelessly using Bluetooth, boot up Android Auto, and select Google Maps to direct you to your destination while listening to a personal playlist on Spotify, and having the car read you any SMS or WhatsApp messages you receive all without having to touch your phone.

MORE: Are you breaking the law using Android Auto/Apple CarPlay in your car?

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto’s messaging functions are controlled verbally, with impressive accuracy.

Android Auto text messaging

Simply say the name of the contact you wish to message, and what you want to say, and the program will generate the message – it’ll double-check with you before sending, to make sure everything is correct. You can respond by saying yes, or saying no and re-record your message.

MORE: Top-10 selling cars with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Not every car has the capacity for smartphone mirroring, so it is important to check what models have the feature.

But, considering it is available in a $14,390 Kia Picanto, smartphone mirroring has become a feature consumers now expect to find in their new car.

MORE: How to add smartphone mirroring to older cars: