Android Auto Vs. Apple CarPlay: What’s New in 2020


16 Jun, 2020


6 min read

Android auto vs. apple carplay

Many road accidents happen due to drivers answering phone calls, texting, switching music, or looking at the map while driving. Google and Apple took the initiative to offer a solution, and make their debut in the automotive industry with the launch of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The two digital driving companions integrate with a car’s in-built infotainment system, allowing people to perform in-car tasks without their phones.

Since their first launch, the two tech giants have continuously improved on the original creations, releasing updates almost every other year. So, let’s put Apple CarPlay vs. Android auto to see which is better and what new updates they bring in 2020

Android Auto Vs. CarPlay

Despite the rivalry between Google and Apple, their digital driving assistants are relatively similar in function. You can say Android Auto is the Apple CarPlay for Android smartphones, aiming to help drivers focus on the road by eliminating the need to grab their phones for calls, texts, maps, and more.

The two systems work by projecting a smartphone’s interface onto the dashboard screens of newer vehicles. It displays apps that run from the phone’s OS, including Android Auto music apps, calls and messaging maps, and more, which allows drivers a level of hands-free support.

Additionally, both the Android Auto app and CarPlay offer similar connectivity with smartphones. They support a direct USB link as well as a wireless connection in some newer car models.
But that is where their connection ends!

They differ in their map integration. Where CarPlay supports its built-in Apple Maps and Google Maps, its counterpart only works with Google Maps.

Additionally, Apple CarPlay’s ecosystem is as guarded as it is for iOS devices. Thus, you cannot use Android Auto on iPhones. Contrarily, Android Auto is compatible with an array of smartphones and tablets that support Android 5.0 and above.

In a nutshell, CarPlay vs. Android Auto are similar in their purpose, but differ in how they perform, their compatible devices, and more.

New 2020 Updates

Android Auto and CarPlay not only provide a level of safety for the drivers but also have an impact on how people buy cars. When making purchase decisions, they are likely to consider the convenience of both driving assistants for in-car tasks, like navigation, music, calls, messaging, and voice commands.

So, now that we have an idea on how Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compare, let’s look at their updates for 2020 to help you make smarter purchase decisions for your next car:

Android Rolls Out New Material Theme Icons When Using Google Maps

In 2020, you’ll see Android Auto with new icons within its Google Maps application. It’s not a significant update, but it does impact the user experience, making it more straightforward and seamless.

The maps will feature wireframe style icons that are closer to what the Material Design Guidelines suggest, instead of the filled designs for menu options. They will appear in the shortcut bar when you open the app for directions and start your journey.

It will also feature shortcuts to Settings, Search Along Route, Route Overview, and view Destinations. Meaning, you can switch between app screens much more conveniently than before.
Additionally, the new update will feature an overflow menu with an option to share your route with friends or family to let them know your location and the estimated time of arrival.

A point to note is that it doesn’t require an app or software upgrade, nor will it affect how you use the app. So, you can enjoy the slight aesthetic improvements without manually upgrading the Android Auto app.

Apple iOS 13 Revamps CarPlay Interface

With the launch of Apple’s new operating system, its CarPlay infotainment will get a new interface in 2020. From text messaging to voice control, display, and in-app navigation, it will all be new and improved for enhanced user experience.

The new interface will rely more on voice commands and Siri. So, not only will you receive text message notifications as pop-ups, but when you open the app, CarPlay will read aloud the message.

You’ll have the option to reply via voice, and the system will speak out responses for confirmation then send them.

In a nutshell, the overall outlook would be visually less intrusive, with an overlay of voice controls for every app within the system. In 2020, Apple will also allow developers to integrate Siri functions in their software, enabling users to use voice commands to open playlists or navigation.

Android Displays Weather Updates in Status Bar

Previous changes in design negatively impacted Android’s weather widget. So, in 2020, new updates for Android Auto include a weather icon next to the temperature display.
Unlike regular icons, the new updates allow it to change according to your current weather conditions outside. Meaning, if it’s raining, sunny, cloudy, or snowing, the icon will change to represent the weather.

It’s not yet clear on how many icons the app can show, plus it’s not much different than looking out your car window. However, it does add a certain visual appeal to Android Auto’s display.
An extension to the feature would be if the app also showed the weather at different locations, allowing users to check the conditions at their destinations. Alternatively, it could display a forecast of the weather for the entire day so that people are prepared for sudden rain showers.

Apple’s iOS Updates Leads to Upgrades in Navigation

Apple’s upgrade to iOS 13 also led to an update of the navigation feature for its driving assistant. Much like the voice overlays, these updates improved the functionality of the CarPlay infotainment system.

It was iOS 12’s update that supported third-party apps allowing CarPlay to integrate Google Maps into the system. But the addition of Android Auto voice commands recognition feature, real-time traffic rerouting, and offline maps enhance the user experience of Google Maps for Apple users.
In contrast, Apple Maps is still catching up to Android. So, for users who prefer Google Maps than Apple’s native app, CarPlay is your Android Auto for iPhones.

Android Allows Silencing Notifications When Driving

Constant notification alerts are another distraction that can take a driver’s attention off the road. That said, the new update for Android Auto is a blessing if you prefer to drive in complete silence.

Before the update, when connected with a smartphone, the system didn’t alert you of every single incoming notification. But now you can turn off all audible distractions.
Instead of Android Auto voice commands for silencing notifications, you’ll find the dedicated toggle within the Android Auto settings app. With a flip, you can switch of audio alerts for texts, emails, calls, and more. So, if you’re on a getaway, the feature is a blessing.
The only drawback of the update is that when activated, notifications persist on the display screen until you dismiss them.

Apple OS Update Improves List of Supported Apps

Another update for Apple’s driving assistant, resulting from an upgrade of the OS, is the expansion in the number of CarPlay supported apps, plus apps native to the system.

As with Google Maps integration, iOS 12’s improvement to the system’s third-party support paved the way for other apps to join the list of CarPlay supported apps. Other apps it can offer include BBC, WhatsApp, Tidal, Downcast, NPR One, VOX, Clammr, and more.

The update also supports third-party entertainment platforms that are not available with Android Auto music apps, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Slacker Radio, Audible, and more. It also includes iPlayer Radio, CBS Radio, and Pandora so that you can enjoy movies or entertainment news on the way to your destination.

Apple CarPlay Gets a New Dashboard

Improvement in CarPlay’s third-party app support also had an impact on the system’s display. We mentioned before that its interface underwent an upgrade; it includes the dashboard.

Before with third-party navigation apps, you couldn’t use two apps at once. Instead of switching to a split-screen when you open the other app, it would shift away from the navigation app entirely to display the second app.

Apple’s operating system updating to iOS 13 enabled third-party navigation apps to share the screen with other commonly used applications, like music apps. Meaning, two apps appear simultaneously on the dashboard display, making navigation much more straightforward.

Now, if you plan to put up a song in queue, you don’t need to worry about the screen suddenly shifting away from the navigation app.

Apple Vs. Android: Which is Better?

The automobile industry is continuously advancing, with innovations coming to light each day. That said, Apple vs. Android have just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to driver safety and technology advancements with the development of CarPlay and Android Auto.

With upgrades in the systems and new vehicles already integrated with driving assistants, it’s just the beginning of the industry. So, investing in Android Auto or CarPlay app development may get you the chance to feature your app on an entirely new platform in the future.

I hope the blog helped in understanding the car infotainment systems and the upgrades they offer in 2020. If you have an idea for an app, get in touch with our experts for a quote or consultation!



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