If you’ve opened this article you’re wrondering just what it says in the title: does Android Auto use data? Is it possible to use Android Auto without a data plan? That’s a very relevant question these days. From being limited to smartphones initially, to showing up in televisions and home appliances, Android has been expanding. It has now paved a path into the automotive industry with Android Auto, an app that helps you use your phone while driving safely.
Android Auto is getting extremely popular and growing very quickly, making the driving experience better and safer with features available “on-screen”. The hands-free mode and voice recognition software make it the perfect addition to your everyday drive.
What is Android Auto?
Given the prevalence of cellphone related car accidents, many automotive and software developers have been trying to implement a safer way for people to use their mobile phones while driving. As a result, Android Auto was launched.
It is an app for your Android mobile phone that mirrors your phone screen onto the display of your car’s infotainment system.
Android Auto is feature-rich and it can be used hands-free or controlled by your voice. Google Voice Control is integrated with Google Assistant, making it a richer experience. You can not only control what happens in your car but also use the appliances connected to the Google Assistant in your home by giving commands in your car.
For example, you could increase the temperature inside your house just as you’re about to reach home, or turn on the lights and open the garage door. You can use your car display touchscreen or your steering wheel’s control buttons if voice recognition is not an option for you.
Does Android Auto use data?
Unfortunately, using Android Auto service without data is not possible. It uses data-rich Android apps such as Google Assistant, Google Maps, and third-party music streaming applications. It is necessary to have a data plan to be able to enjoy all the features offered by the app.
Without a phone plan, most of the features available are extremely limited. You will be able to make calls, and if you have offline maps saved on your phone, it will still be possible to use Google Maps. However, the app’s functionality will be limited to that.
You will not be able to access features that require an Internet connection, such as sending messages, playing music, and using Google Maps without any offline map.
A mobile data connection is needed to run those features and it’s recommended that you choose an unlimited data plan to avoid any surprises on your phone bill at the end of the month and to keep your continuous access to Android Auto, as the data use can be high.
Performance of Android Auto
Using Android Auto, you can access Google Maps or Waze, between other real-time phone GPS navigation apps and traffic alert apps. You will get step-by-step directions to the chosen destination, and the map will automatically shift to an alternate route in case it detects heavy traffic.
You can also search for places, such as coffee shops, on the Maps app and if you are already on a particular route, the app will show you coffee shops, or what you’ve searched for, on that particular route.
You can ask your Google Assistant to check your calendar for you, set reminders, and even get updates on the news. This app can also make phone calls or answer incoming calls with just a tap.
Google Assistant can access your contacts, and you can send messages using speech-to-text technology via SMS, Hangouts, or even WhatsApp and Skype, among other communication apps. If you receive a message, it will read it out for you.
You can also listen to music while using your favorite apps such as Spotify and Google Play music. All these features respond to basic voice commands, and all you have to say is “Ok, Google”, followed by your request.
There are a few third-party apps that are compatible with Android Auto such as iHeart Radio, Pandora, Facebook Messenger, and Audible. While the support for third-party apps is limited, many apps cut. All you need to do is download and install them.
Conditions to use Android Auto
To be able to use the Android Auto app, you will need an Android smartphone with Android 5.0 or higher. If you do not have a device with Android 5.0 or higher, you should update it, and if you are unable to do so, you might be required to purchase a new, more up-to-date, smartphone.
Along with this, an active data connection will be required to use all the features present in the app. Also, keep in mind your car’s infotainment system has got to be compatible with the Android Auto application. Over 400 car models now support it. To check it if your car is compatible, check your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer’s customer service.
How to use Android Auto
There are two ways to use Android Auto – Either as a stand-alone experience on your cell phone or with a compatible car’s infotainment system.
When using Android Auto by itself on a phone, you can open the app and then mount the phone on a conveniently placed stand. This allows you to access Android Auto hands-free, including calling and using the Google Assistant.
To integrate it a little more, the phone can be connected to the car radio using Bluetooth, AUX cable, or FM transmitter. These connections allow audio from Android Auto, like music from Spotify, directions from Google Maps, podcasts and e-books to be played over the car stereo sound system.
The other way to use Android Auto is by connecting a compatible phone to a compatible car and running Android Auto “on screen”. It can be done in most vehicles by wireless connection over Bluetooth or via USB cable.
This will allow a slightly modified display of the phone to be mirrored onto the infotainment screen. The phone display will go blank, and the screen display will take over. The information that you would normally see on your phone, will now appear on the car’s display screen.
To conclude, the use of Android Auto without active data plans is not feasible, at least if you want to get all the features. All in all, Android Auto is a great app to use while driving, as it minimizes the driver’s distractions by what’s happening in their phones, providing a clear and easy to use integrated interface.
Some other Android Auto articles that may be interesting for you: