Best navigation apps for Android Auto

What are the best navigation apps for Android Auto? On the grounds of commercial sponsorship and mobile services, it can be asserted that Android and Google are best friends forever. Google has been breaking new grounds in the domain of smartphone applications ever since its inception.

However, the Google application we are going to unravel for you today, can be referred to as a substitute feature rather than an innovative invention.

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What is Android Auto?

CarPlay is an iOS application that allows you to display your cellphone screen content on your car head unit. Apple launched this feature in 2014. It is a universal fact that the Apple family members can only enjoy an iOS invention.

Hence, Google launched an application in 2015 with similar features for its Android user community. Android Auto, just like CarPlay, mirrors any device’s interface, cellphones and tablets, both on your car’s head unit in a more straightforward and driver-friendly interface.

Android Auto features

There are four essential features of your device that can be used and enjoyed via Android Auto. These include voice commands via Google Assistant, GPS navigation via navigation apps, communication via calls and messaging apps, and entertainment via music playback.

The application allows you to control and operate your head unit either via touch screen or using voice commands, so you keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Some prerequisites need to be followed to enjoy the Android Auto feature. You need to perform an evaluation test based on two parameters:

  • Is the Android Auto feature available in your country?
  • Does your car or stereo support Android Auto?

You can perform this test by following this link: https://www.android.com/auto/compatibility

There are numerous applications to enhance your experience with Android Auto in all featured domains. In this article, we are walking you through navigation apps for Android Auto. These applications aid you to customize your Android Auto navigation experience most efficiently and effectively.

Google Maps

Google Maps is known to be the most popular and used navigation app for Android Auto. In this article, we have created a thorough step-by-step demonstration on how to use Google Maps on Android Auto. If you want a more in-depth insight into its features, you can read our article on the best car navigation apps for Android.

Android Auto vs Google Maps: How to use them together

These apps working together have awesome capabilities, it will make your driving experience a lot easier. Let’s see how to use Google Maps for Android Auto.

To use Google Maps on Android Auto, first, we need to learn how to operate Android Auto:

  • For Android 9 and prior versions, download the Android Auto app from Google PlayStore. The feature is built-in in only on Android 10;
  • Connect your device to your car’s head unit via a high-quality USB cable. You can also connect via Bluetooth if your head unit supports wireless connection;
  • After connecting, open the Android Auto app on your device;
  • Android Auto asks to download a set of apps that are supported by Android Auto if you do not have them already. Google Maps is set to be built-in in this set;
  • Grant permissions by tapping ALLOW on all pop-up dialogue boxes;
  • Get set up by granting notifications access;
  • Android Auto user interface is displayed on your head unit;
  • The interface has a HOME button on the extreme left and VOICE ASSISTANT icon on the absolute right side;
  • Operate Android Auto either via voice commands or via touch systems;
  • To give voice commands, either tap the microphone icon or press VR button from audio control buttons within your steering wheel.

Now, to use Google Maps for directions:

  • Open Google Maps by either giving voice command or by tapping Google Maps on the head unit;
  • The search bar is found on the left side with the SETTINGS button below;
  • Type your destination by tapping the search bar OR;
  • Press the VR button or tap the microphone icon. After the beep, speak “directions to XYZ destination”. You can also search points of interest by giving voice commands;
  • Google Assistant will repeat your destination;
  • A new dialogue box opens in place of the search bar loading the route;
  • The same dialogue box then shows your destination name with details of estimated arrival time, distance, and duration of commute. On the right, you have a compass and pan-in/out options. Another bar below this dialogue box features settings, directions, and search bar;
  • Enjoy voice-guided Android Auto navigation with a car-friendly display on your head unit;
  • For further features of alternate routes and others, tap MORE.

To turn traffic information on:

  • Tap SETTINGS;
  • Tap TRAFFIC;
  • Turn TRAFFIC switch to BLUE.

Waze

Waze is another compatible and reliable navigation app for Android Auto. As its tagline “outsmarting traffic” suggests, Waze is famous for its highly-accurate real-time information.

From real-time traffic jams to real-time road hazards, Waze is your go-to app for daily commute navigations. To learn more about Waze and its enormous features in detail, please check out our article on the best car navigation apps for Android.

How to use Waze for Android Auto:

Let’s see how to use Waze with Android Auto. The first step is pretty obvious, you need to download Waze for Android Auto to be able to use it, except if you already have Waze installed.

Here are the full steps:

  • Download Waze 4.7 or higher versions from Google PlayStore;
  • Connect your device to our car’s head unit;
  • Open Waze by either giving a voice command or by tapping Waze on the head unit;
  • Type your destination by tapping the search bar OR;
  • Press the VR button or tap the microphone icon. After the beep, speak “directions to XYZ destination”. You can also search points of interest by giving voice commands;
  • A dialogue box shows your destination name with details of estimated arrival time, distance, and duration of commute. On the right, you have speed and pan-in/out options;
  • Tap GO;
  • Enjoy voice-guided Android Auto navigation with a car-friendly display on your head unit;
  • Check alternate routes by tapping DIRECTIONS dialogue box;
  • Report and check hazards by either tapping ROUND RED BUTTON or SPEED icon.

Android Auto and Waze work great together and they’re the main preference for many people.

Third-party Android Auto GPS apps

Unfortunately, Google does not allow any third-party integration in Android Auto navigation apps. Numerous features are missing from Google parented navigation apps; the biggest of all is Offline navigation.

We all know that Sygic is one of the most reputed names in the domain of navigation apps. Sygic is famous for its offline navigation feature. Sygic already has launched a MirrorLink feature for its Android users. The feature enables you to connect your device to your car’s head unit directly.

However, Google’s monopolized limitation does not allow Android users to enjoy Sygic for Android Auto. To urge Google to lift this constraint, Sygic has been actively running digital media campaigns.

Wrap Up

Google and Android are chosen by many for its free and flexible customization. However, this particular monopolized constraint could be a driving factor in the coming days for a significant turn-away by its user community.

A diversified collection of apps with countless features makes Android an ideal choice for your navigation needs. We hope one day, you can enjoy diversity in navigation apps for Android Auto as well. To learn more about the features of car navigation apps, you may take a look at our article on the best car navigation apps for Android.

One question you might have is whether you should Android Auto with Google Maps or Waze. My opinion is that there really is no right and absolute answer, both of them are great Android Auto map apps. Both of them are great and maybe the best option is to test each of them for a few days.

Some other Android Auto articles that may be interesting for you: