Four things Android Auto does better than Carplay

If there are two popular car infotainment systems, they are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Although both systems have the same goals, there are important differences between them. Since its inception, they have evolved, added features, and debugged the UI to this day. While each has its strengths and weaknesses, after using both alternatives, I realize that Android Auto outperforms CarPlay in a few ways at the moment.

More agile, faster and more intuitive navigation

Regardless of which native application is better (because you can install others as well), navigation apps like Google Maps or Waze allow you to navigate Android Auto and explore the route, just like you can with your phone. In CarPlay, however, it’s not that intuitive: to move around the map you have to touch the arrows that appear on the screen, which is also slower and potentially dangerous when driving.

Android Auto also wins when choosing alternative routes: just tap on the gray-outlined path to select it and change the route. Apple CarPlay requires you to go back to the route options to choose a different one.

Other third-party apps

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow you to install third-party applications for navigation, music, etc., but the same number of applications are not available. Therefore, Android Auto is compatible with more applications, especially messaging. It’s true that the main role of these systems isn’t to send messages, but it’s useful to know that your favorite apps are available.

With the Android Auto 2022 update, support and experience have improved thanks to the 1.3 library, with improved navigation features, media recommendations, and progress bars for podcasts and audiobooks. In addition, Google plans to implement the transfer of the phone to the car screen when we have parked, for applications to view content such as YouTube (which today you can also do with tricks).

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A voice assistant that helps more

Using the voice assistant while driving is one of the best decisions you can make for safety reasons, and of course both Android Auto and CarPlay support Google Assistant as well as Siri. For starters, Google Assistant offers more compatibility with third-party apps, which translates into many possible expressions to help you out.

With the latest updates to Android Auto, you can send messages, quickly call your favorite contacts with a tap, and offer suggested replies. Although the CarPlay interface lets you send or change a message with Siri, it doesn’t appear onscreen. Android Auto will preview the message in the app you’re using and transcribe the content. Applied to messages, it’s particularly useful when we’re sending a message, since it allows us to correct mistakes (although it seems fleeting to distract our attention as little as possible).

In my personal experience, Google Assistant also understands better than Siri.

Better notification management

You usually get calls and notifications while driving, and while both systems are designed to manage them safely, CarPlay is more intrusive when it comes to notifications.

The key is where these banners appear: while in CarPlay they appear at the bottom of the screen…an area where the navigation pointer normally resides, in full-screen Android Auto these notifications appear at the top.

Also, with Android Auto, you can dismiss or mute a notification – a convenient way to, for example, not receive notifications about new messages sent in one WhatsApp group, but in others.

When “reading” a notification, Android Auto does so unobtrusively with a small banner on the screen. Instead, Apple CarPlay takes up the entire screen, which is invasive. This is particularly awkward when answering a call: while Android Auto is showing the songs, CarPlay stays on the call screen.

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In Xataka Android | Android Auto vs Android Automotive: How are they similar, how are they different, and which one is better?