Does Apple CarPlay Work with Android?

Since we live in an era where everyone and their mothers glue themselves to their smartphones, expanding the function of these devices is becoming more important. This is especially true when people are driving and the risk of getting into an accident increases.  

This burgeoning tech with new gadgets is forcing many people to seek out ways to merge various devices. But, not everything works together. Especially if you have an Apple product you want to use with an Android device.  What compounds this are the mechanisms and capabilities of your vehicle. 

If your car’s head unit only supports CarPlay and all you have is an Android phone, it’s going to be difficult to get the two to sync up. This is because each one uses its respective operating systems, specific to the manufacturer. So, although they do basically the same things, they are not compatible together. But, there is an alternative and some options to explore. 

Android Phones Are Not Compatible with CarPlay 

There is no way to use your Android smartphone with Apple CarPlay. The operating systems only sync up to the manufacturers’ devices and products. They are, at their most basic levels, very different from one another.  

The only way you can reconcile the two is to get a head unit that adapts to both Apple CarPlay and Android. This will allow you to switch things around as needed. 

Finding a Car Head Unit 

You will have to shop around online to find a good one with such a versatile capacity. Remember, even one of these kinds of units will only be able to use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto at a time.  You won’t be able to use both simultaneously. 

There are a lot of good products on the market but they’re a bit pricy.  Expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $400 to $700 for a quality car head unit. Here are some tips to use in conjunction with your search: 

  • Look for a head unit that has a remote or responsive touch screen. 
  • For wireless connections, the unit should have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. 
  • Some models have their own navigation and entertainment software, which allows you to work without an internet connection. 
  • Ensure there’s an input for USB or Lightning cables; less expensive models will only be functional with a cable. 
  • Some models are only functional with a Wi-Fi connection. 
  • If you drive through areas with iffy Wi-Fi signals, get a model that can go without a connection to the internet or plugged in via USB cable. 
  • Ensure the display screen will be big enough to see and easy enough for you to access in relationship to where it will sit in the car. 

Additional Considerations 

Another thing to consider is how much you plan on using this and what you most often need it for. Some models have all the bells and whistles complete with volume knobs, individual software and other operational buttons.  Things like calls, email and text are just some of the features.  

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If you’re going to use the navigation, music and contact features, then investing in a higher-end model will be best. In the event you only want to listen to music, then a simple unit with Bluetooth connectivity might be better.  

Understand that even though you may get a head unit to replace the one already in your car, this is not a foolproof method. Distracted driving can still be a huge problem, it’s just that something like this helps to lessen the risk. Always pull off to the side of the road if you have to mess with your device longer than is necessary. 

Professional Installation 

In addition to the cost of the head unit, expect to take your car in for professional installation. For some units, the wiring is complex and a professional must put it in. They’ll also be able to ensure it lines up with road safety protocols in accordance with state and local laws.  

So, this will bring your final estimate to $1000 or more. But, if you’re a frequent road traveler, the investment will be worth it. You can use Google Assistant or Siri to do everything, which is an invaluable function for busy professionals and others who are constantly on the go. 

Developing Safer Tech 

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto seek to make using your phone while driving easier and safer. Prior to 2014, most car head units were both radio and media players. But, because of the high risk involved with distracted driving, vehicle manufacturers teamed up with Apple developers to come up with CarPlay. Android Auto came out a year later. 

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have the systems designed for their respective smartphone devices. They provide large icons you can touch with ease along with many other options for hands-free usage. 

You can play music, listen to podcasts, make phone calls, place text messages and reply to emails via the AI assistant.  You can open other apps, navigate and use your calendar too. 

Using Tech While Driving 

As much as people like to think so, multitasking is not natural to human nature. Yet some of people have to use their phones while driving. This makes it a smart idea to use something like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

But, one slippery distraction can spell disaster. So, investing in a unit that can switch between either Apple or Android is convenient and wise. 

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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