Our smartphone plays an increasingly important role in our lives, also on the road. In this Android Auto Guide we bundle everything you need to know about Android in traffic: what can you do with Android Auto, what are the best apps on the go, how your smartphone stays safe in traffic and more.
You should know about Android in traffic
We are all traveling a lot, but are also often on our smartphones. Android is taking on an ever larger and more important role in traffic, including the ever-increasing Android Auto.
The growing use of smartphones also leads to more distractions on the road, and one finds it easier to go with it than the other. If you want to know more about how you do this and what the possibilities are of Android in traffic, then this guide is meant for you.
Table of contents Android Auto Guide
- Android in traffic: an introduction
- What is Android Auto and what can you do with it?
- Why is Android Auto not (yet) officially available in the Netherlands?
- What are the pros and cons of Android Auto?
- Which cars support Android Auto
- How do I install Android Auto?
- What alternatives are there for Android Auto?
- What are good Android Auto apps?
- Is your Android smartphone safe in traffic and how do you take care of it?
- The five best tips for Google Maps outside the car
1. Android in traffic: an introduction
Just send an app that you are on the road, take a picture of the file or set up another number: on the road you are probably more often on your smartphone than you think. From 1 July 2019 it is no longer allowed to use your smartphone in traffic. This has been the case for motorists for some time, but it will also be forbidden for cyclists
And that is not without reason, because the number of road deaths and accidents has only increased. In 2017 there was a slight decrease, but also for the first time more fatally injured cyclists than car drivers. Every day there are one to two fatal traffic casualties in the Netherlands.
Distraction plays an increasingly important role in this, which was a reason for the government to extend the smartphone ban to cyclists. Check how dangerous traffic is in the following infographic that Android Planet has created and read all about the smartphone ban in 2019 .
2. What is Android Auto and what can you do with it?
Android Auto is in fact a simplified version of Android for the dashboard of your car. The emphasis is on safety and simplicity: menus are clearer, buttons are larger and you are not distracted by all kinds of notifications.
You can also only use one app at a time, which is also pretty undressed. Therefore, when navigating in Google Maps, all focus is on the route itself, not on nearby cafes, restaurants or ATMs
Also important to know is that Android Auto does not ‘take over’ your dashboard computer, but complements the built-in system of your car. So you can not change the radio station, turn on cruise control or change the temperature of the air conditioning.
To use Android Auto as it is meant, it is a condition that you have a screen in your car dashboard. Android Auto can also be used from the display of your phone, but this is less nice and especially not safe.
That’s why it’s all the more convenient that Android Auto works with the Google Assistant. That way you do not have to touch the screen, and you can use your voice to activate the navigation or set up your favorite album. Read more about it in this article and watch the video below in which we explain and test Android Auto.
3. Why is Android Auto not (yet) officially available in the Netherlands?
At first Android Auto was still very limited: in possibilities, but mainly in terms of availability. The operating system could only be used with dashboards of specific cars. Only a few car manufacturers participated in this. In the course of time, more and more functions have been added. The most important came at the end of 2016, when Android Auto was launched as an app.
Today the app is still not available in the Netherlands but there is a logical reason for this: you can not use your smartphone in the Netherlands while driving. It is therefore unclear whether Android Auto will soon be officially released. This does not seem plausible, because the legislation for smartphone use in traffic has only become more extensive, and not relaxed.
Nevertheless, it is simply possible to use Android Auto via a detour, in addition with the Dutch Google Assistant. Read on in this guide to check if your car supports Android Auto and how you install it.
4. What are the pros and cons of Android Auto?
Benefits of Android Auto
Disadvantages Android Auto
5. Which cars support Android Auto?
The number of car models that support Android Auto is growing by the day. Meanwhile more than 500 car models can handle Android Auto, including Audi’s, Citroëns, Opels and Peugeots. For a complete overview of supported cars, visit the website of Android Auto .
In general, if your car is from before 2015, it is probably not compatible with Android Auto. Are you the proud owner of a BMW or Toyota? Then you’re unlucky anyway. The German and Japanese car brand do not (yet) support the service. However, there have been rumors lately that Toyota has been talking to Google for a long time about Android Auto support .
6. How do I install Android Auto?
Android Auto can not be found in the Play Store, but it is still possible and easy to put the app on your smartphone. Downloading and installing Android Auto is done in six steps. Once that is successful, all you have to do is connect your phone to your car with Android Car via a USB cable.
7. What alternatives are there for Android Auto?
Every car brand has its own infotainment system for the car. It is almost always possible to connect your smartphone via bluetooth and, for example, from the system of your car to call.
The disadvantage of these car manufacturers’ own systems is that the other smartphone options are not present. Moreover, the navigation software – certainly after a period of time – is not always up-to-date and needs to be updated at the car garage.
An update from Google Maps or Waze for Android Auto just goes through the app in the Play Store, and so is installed faster and easier. In addition, these navigation apps are equipped with the latest traffic information and other additional options.
Another alternative to Android Auto is Apple CarPlay. This system also works with navigation apps from third parties, but you do need an iPhone to use this system. Watch the video and read more about Apple CarPlay on our sister site iPhoned .
8. What are good Android Auto apps?
1. Google Maps
Android Auto is especially a nice way to Google Maps as Use navigation from your car display For a long time, the Android Auto version of the app has remained unchanged, but recently Maps for the infotainment system has improved significantly with an update, allowing for more choices and improved layout Check here which improvements are exactly there.
Flitsmeister is not only useful to prevent speed fines, but also to stay up-to-date on delays or other issues on your route. The app has also been given a navigation function, making it a very comprehensive app and an interesting option as a standard navigation app for you in Android Auto.
→ Check the complete review of Flitsmeister
Another good navigation app that has a nice Android Auto version is Waze. This app is made by and for motorists, making it easy to use on the road. In addition, the community of the app is very active and helps each other further.
→ Read the full review of Waze
4. Music and podcasts: Spotify, Pocket Casts, Google Play Music, Audible
Music or podcasts are an important part for many people on the road. It makes traffic jams worse, makes your journey less long and gives you the chance to spend time in the car listening to a new album or new podcast episode for example.
Fine options that work with Android Auto and the Google Assistant are Spotify and Google Play Music. Both apps can be operated with your voice, which makes setting up a music from behind the wheel very easy.
If you prefer to listen to podcasts, Pocket Casts and Audible allow you to work well in Android Auto. With this you can quickly kill the time you are on the road and you will miss out on episodes less quickly.
5. Messages: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram
Your favorite and most used messaging app is probably one of the three above. Fortunately, they all work with Android Auto, and you see reports coming in on your car’s display.
You can check these by having them read by the Google Assistant. You can then set up an automatic answer for this, or write a message with your voice to send it back.
9. Is your Android smartphone safe in traffic and how do you take care of it?
Get involved in an accident because you were on the bike, scooter, in the car or walking with your smartphone. It happens regularly nowadays. And then you need a good case to get no broken screen or other phone damage. But something is even more important than the safety of your smartphone on the road: your own safety.
In this guide we mainly focus on smartphone use on or in vehicles, but also as a pedestrian you take part in traffic. Even if you go with the cart, it is therefore wise to be aware of your telephone use. Because how dangerous is walking with a smartphone really? Scientific studies are clear: we are distracted, weird and react badly.
For example, people who are talking via their telephone take slower steps. People who send or read text messages take shorter steps and exhibit more unstable movements and disruptions while walking.
Walking slower gives a sense of security, but that is not the case. This does not necessarily result in more accidents between vehicles and pedestrians, but people, for example, walk up against walls or poles more often, fall down stairs and stumble across the pavement.
According to Professor Deitrich Jehle of the University of Buffalo we are distracted in three ways with the smartphone in our hand: we do something different, we see something different and we think of something else.
The same applies to cyclists. You go less hard than a car, in many cases you do not have oncoming traffic and think that you can intervene faster. But you also have speed, a steering wheel and no attention to the traffic situation when you look at your smartphone. An accident is just a small corner, and the high number of cycling road deaths in 2017 is not a problem.
10. The five best tips for Google Maps outside the car
1. This means the icons and colors in Google Maps
To distinguish all parts on a card, Google uses different colors and icons for certain categories. This way you can easily distinguish what a store, train station, museum or forest is. This means the colors.
2. Share your Google Maps route with friends
On the way to an appointment, and would you like to let friends or colleagues know when you arrive? You can now share your route with Google Maps. With Google Maps you have been able to share your location for longer, but nowadays the search company even offers the option to forward your entire route. This way friends, family and colleagues know exactly when they can expect you.
3. Turn off annoying Google Maps notifications in this way
Google Maps gives you all sorts of useful notifications along the way, but that is not always convenient for everyone. Fortunately, you can easily manage Google Maps notifications yourself. Google is trying to help you as much as possible with several notifications in Maps.
4. This way you always use dark mode in Google Maps
The Google Maps app has been using a night mode for a while, changing the interface of the navigation app and showing dark colors. This is useful if you are navigating with Maps in the evenings, so that you are less affected by the bright colors of your smartphone screen. This dark mode can also be switched on permanently.
5. Navigate offline with Google Maps in 4 steps
If you are on vacation or traveling, it can be a godsend to have offline maps at your disposal. Outside the EU, data traffic is quite expensive and in some areas you may not have any coverage at all. Where Google Maps used to always need a connection to download maps, you can now save them on your device in advance.
What is your experience with Android in traffic?
We would like to keep this Android Auto-guide as good and current as possible. If you miss useful information or believe that certain information is not correct, we would like to hear from you in the comments below or via our contact form .