Make your road trips safer and more enjoyable, and these apps will all add to your driving experience.
The Android Auto app brings Google’s Android experience to your car. The platform has seen rapid developments since its introduction in 2015. A growing number of automobiles now have built-in Android Auto, but it’s also accessible by pairing your Android smartphone to a compatible display in your car. Alternatively, place the phone in a dock on your dashboard. You can then use certain apps with Android Auto support that can provide the features and utilities of your smartphone to your car with a more driver-friendly UI.
With Android Auto user can quickly answer or make calls, play music, or plot the journey, while still concentrating and paying attention to the road conditions, and surrounding traffic. For example, if you receive a message to your smartphone, the system can read it out loud. You can also use hands-free voice commands. There are still a limited amount of apps compatible with Android Auto, but the big names have already jumped on board. The numbers on the Google Play Store are slowly increasing though, and cover areas such as navigation, music, podcasts, messaging, and more.
We’ve compiled our choice of the 10 best apps that work with Android Auto. These will get you started on your Android Auto infotainment experience and will help make your road trips more pleasurable and less stressful. All of the apps below are free to download though some include in-app purchases (IAPs) or subscriptions for full content. Do note that you’ll need the mobile device that you’re using to be running Android 5.0 or later.
1. WAZE – GPS, MAPS, TRAFFIC ALERTS & LIVE NAVIGATION
Price: Free with ads *Editor’s Choice*
As we’re talking about Android Auto apps, it’s only right that we should begin with a motoring app. It’s A highly-rated app which has 110 million times downloads. The most recent update bringing changes to the design so you can more easily see an overview for your route on Android Auto. Waze is packed with real-time features offering just about everything for your motoring needs, including crowdsourced information.
The app will help you to avoid traffic and accidents by rerouting you, shows gas stations where you can fill up (with pricing), displays parking locations, and can even help you to avoid getting a ticket with speed trap alerts. Therefore, it can help you to save time on your journeys and will give your estimated time of arrival according to live traffic data. The UI isn’t the best we’ve seen but other than that this is a great choice.
2. AUDIOBOOKS FROM AUDIBLE
Price: Free/ Subscription
Who doesn’t love a good audiobook and this Audible app is an excellent pick for long journeys, especially when you’re all sung out from listening to music. There’s a vast library of books and original series to choose from covering all sorts of genres, and the app makes it easy to listen through your automobile’s speaker system.
You get your first audiobook free with the 30-day free trial, following which you’ll need to become a member. With this, you can build your library and access member-only savings, and now you’ll also get 2 Audible originals per month. Further features include being able to download for offline listening, customization of the playback speed, and timer setting. You do need to sign in with an Amazon account, but this app works well and has a nice user interface.
3. SPOTIFY – MUSIC & PODCASTS
Price: Free with ads
If you love music or podcasts while you drive, you’ll love the Spotify music streaming service that’s compatible with Android Auto. You can listen to a mind-boggling array of music across all kinds of categories, and access different artists and albums or opt for your own playlists. There’s plenty for free. But, an upgrade to Spotify Premium ($10 monthly) will allow downloading music to listen to offline, improved sound quality, removal of ads, and more.
4. FACEBOOK MESSENGER – TEXT & VIDEO CHAT
Price: Free/ Offers IAP *Editor’s Choice*
Facebook Messenger hardly needs an introduction, but you may not have thought about using it in your car. This all-round messaging app allows you to share calls and video chat, and features group chat, voice messaging, location sharing, and much more. If you’re in your car, you have the option to have incoming messages read out loud, and if you can’t reply because you’re driving, you can set up a pre-typed message that can be sent in response.
5. WHATSAPP MESSENGER
Price: Free *Editor’s Choice*
If WhatsApp Messenger is your communication app of choice, it’s good to know that this messaging app also works in conjunction with Android Auto. WhatsApp offers real-time messaging, free calls (via 2G, 3G, 4G, EDGE or Wi-Fi to other WhatsApp users), group chat, offline messages, voice memos, and location sharing. Also handy when you’re driving is the speech-to-text messaging feature.
6. GOOGLE MAPS – NAVIGATE & EXPLORE
Price: Free with ads *Editor’s Choice*
If by any chance you haven’t already used Google Maps, this might be the right time to start! It offers real-time GPS navigation and traffic information and covers more than 220 territories and countries. The app also gives you estimated ETAs and automatic rerouting that takes into account road closures and accidents. On top of all that it will show you local restaurants, trending places, and must-try places, as well as Street View, offline maps, and indoor maps.
You can set your destination by tapping the input box or very conveniently use your voice instead. Also, the latest update that arrived this month brought the ability to search for the nearest EV charging stations, a real boon for those users.
MediaMonkey is a music and audio app that now has Android Auto support featuring a very nice interface. If you have a large music collection this app is extremely useful and will help you to manage your music, playlists, and videos with navigation by genre, artist, composer, album, and more.
The features of this app are plentiful and comprehensive without in-app purchases. However, they are available for upgrades such as Wi-Fi Sync add-on, advanced Media Management add-on, or the Pro version of Media Monkey for everything.
8. ABC NEWS – US & WORLD NEWS
Price: Free with ads
If you consider yourself a newshound and like to keep informed about the latest developments at all times, this app is a good pick. There’s streaming live coverage of breaking news, and lifestyle and entertainment news, finance, travel, investigative stories, technology and much more. A nice feature is the customized News Box if you’re interested in particular topics such as politics, local news for where you are.
Further features include personalized alerts, and sections for ‘Trending News,’ ‘Top Stories,’ and ‘Daily Rewind,’ and of course, you can listen to the news in Android Auto with ABC News Radio. If you’re a sports fan, you can also customize your settings to give you the latest on your favorite sport such as NHL, NFL, NBA, tennis, or golf.
9. STITCHER – PODCASTS & RADIO – NEWS, COMEDY, & MORE
Price: Free with ads/ Offers IAP
There’s something about a stretch of the long open road that makes listening to comedy as you drive very appealing. It’s not just comedy though, as Stitcher has more than 150,000 podcasts and radio shows to choose from covering sports, news, and a whole lot more. Just a few of the classic offerings are The Daily, Joe Rogan, and American Life for example, and there’s a back catalog that includes podcasts such as Comedy Bang! Bang! Or WTF with Marc Maron.
The app supports Android Auto, and you can sign in using Facebook, Google, or email. More features include custom podcast playlists, streaming podcasts on demand, and a personalized front page, and you can upgrade to Stitcher Premium for additional content.
10. AUTOMATE – CAR DASHBOARD: DRIVING & NAVIGATION
Price: Free with ads/ Offers IAP
AutoMate is a driving companion app that covers several areas? The app offers turn-by-turn navigation directions with voice commands, as well as speed limit alerts, local information, weather updates, and more. Moreover, it’s also a phone and messaging app with the hands-free reply, and can act as a media control, or enable you to view real-time engine data. Premium features such as hands-free gestures, traffic camera alerts, customized wallpapers, and more are available through In-app purchases.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Google came up with the idea for Android Auto, given the numerous hours that many of us spend driving these days. After all, it’s just another way of pushing the Android experience, and that’s no bad thing. Using Android Auto offers a whole new realm to driving, making it easier to keep your eyes on the road by giving much more convenient access to the road conditions, news, music, or information that you want.
No doubt, over time, there will be further growth incompatible apps for Android Auto, as the platform offers plenty of potentials. In the meantime, we hope our choice of top 10 android auto apps covers something for most needs. Are you already using Android Auto? If so, let us know which apps you find the most useful by sending your comments to us.