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What are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems in cars?

Smartphones have become such an ingrained part of our society that it is only natural that they will become a part of our daily driving experience as well. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the two most popular third-party smartphone integration services among people. These applications allow drivers to display a simplified version of their phone’s operating system on the dashboard screen, or what we call it (the infotainment screen).

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow drivers to make calls, write texts, play music, listen to podcasts, and use navigation features. Accessing these features is simple: After connecting your device (after installing the relevant app for Android Auto users), the phone’s operating system will appear on compatible displays.

To keep drivers’ attention on the road and their hands on the wheel, voice-activated controls are standard for both services. Many third-party applications such as Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, At Bat, Slacker Radio, and Audible are available as well as the default configuration for both platforms. Text messages are handled through voice-to-text transcription software.

When did the two systems start to be used, and what about those whose cars do not support these systems? Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported by more than 400 models each. Full compatibility lists can be found on the Apple and Android websites. Apple CarPlay debuted in 2014 and Android Auto followed soon after in 2015. For drivers who own unsupported cars, it’s also possible to install a third-party display that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. These aftermarket units are available through Kenwood, Pioneer, Sony, JVC, Clarion, Alpine, and Panasonic.