15 Best Android Auto Apps in 2023

A car radio displays 15 commonly used Android Auto apps.
Source: Android Auto
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On a road trip , nothing is more useful than Android Auto. It gets you from point A to point B while playing your favorite playlists and avoiding obstacles like speed traps and accidents, all from the embedded display on your dashboard. Android Auto is very similar to CarPlay on the iPhone. However, unlike Apple's service, Google's platform offers a variety of third-party apps that are worth checking out.

What you need for the trip
Google's different automotive platforms are easy to confuse. Most modern cars support Android Auto, although vehicles that run directly on Android Automotive - a dedicated operating system - are likely to grow in popularity in the coming years as companies like GM commit to using it exclusively. Android Auto uses your car's infotainment system to display mobile apps that make your ride easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

Android Auto's interface should feel familiar to Android users. Connect your Android device to your vehicle's charging port using a durable USB cable and follow the instructions on your car's display. Alternatively, you can use a wireless adapter like AAWireless to avoid cables. Once Android Auto is up and running, you'll be able to answer calls, ask for directions, and hear incoming messages using the buttons on your steering wheel or by tapping the microphone on your dashboard.

Although Google announced wireless Android Auto in 2018, the number of cars compatible without an adapter is limited. Check out our Wireless Android Auto guide if you're looking for a car that offers this feature.

1. Google Maps
Google Maps appears on an infotainment display.
There is no doubt that the most used app for Android Auto is Google Maps. It is one of the most accurate navigation apps for providing turn-by-turn directions. Press the voice button on your steering wheel, say an address, a city or the name of a business, and your car will display the relevant details. No subscription is required and it is constantly updated.
Google has made sure that the service is great for more than just easy navigation. The map responds to the ambient light around you, meaning light and dark modes are offered and switch automatically based on your vehicle's sensors. The ability to detect and report speed traps or accidents helps make the road safer for both you and other drivers. Google Maps is an obvious choice for in-car navigation. Although Waze also deserves a spot on this list, there is a reason why Google Maps dominates the market.

2. Facebook Messenger
Four people are displayed on a smartphone screen with different filters.
A Facebook Messenger chat screen with a sticker appears on a smartphone.
Despite all of its problems as a social network, Facebook Messenger remains one of the most popular messaging services on the planet. You can send messages via voice commands and have replies read out while keeping your eyes on the road. If your friends have switched to Messenger, you don't have to rely on simple text messages to stay in touch while you're driving. The Messenger app, which is exclusive to Android Auto and not found on CarPlay, is a must-have app.

3. Scanner Radio - Police Scanner
A police scanner radio is running on an Android phone.
A live station selected on a police scanner radio on an Android phone.
Listening to police scanners at home may not be for everyone. But listening while driving can help prevent accidents, especially in unfamiliar terrain. Instead of relying on users on Waze or Google Maps to report problems on the road, listen to the city's emergency scanners to keep an eye out for anything blocking the streets.

Listening to emergency scanners is beneficial for those who spend their days on the road, even if you don't check for delays directly from the source. Listening to a local scanner while driving can also keep you informed of emergencies. It may not replace your usual playlists or podcasts, nor is it intended to, but it's something you'll want to keep on your smartphone. You'll be glad you did.

4. Spotify: Music and Podcasts
Spotify's Release Radar playlist is open on an Android phone.
Spotify's Indie Mix playlist is available on an Android phone.
If you are looking for a single app that can play your favorite songs and podcasts, Spotify is your best choice. The library of artists and shows is enormous, and there are some podcasts that are exclusive to this service. Combine this with Google's voice commands, and you can easily listen to music on the go without having to take your hands off the wheel. Spotify has even started expanding into audiobooks, which is perfect for longer solo trips.
The real highlight of Spotify is its starting price. As long as you can put up with some ads, you don't have to pay premium subscription fees. Overall, there's a reason Spotify remains one of the best streaming services, and it works great with Android Auto.

5. Telegram
A Telegram group conversation on an Android phone
A list of chats on Telegram on a smartphone.
Similar to Facebook Messenger, Telegram's Android Auto interface is a real convenience when communicating with your friends and family. Sending messages is quick, everything is encrypted, all content is synced account-wide (so you can pick up where you left off when switching between devices), and you can delete your messages at any time. Additionally, the app is constantly updated with new features.
There's a lot to like here, and since Telegram works well with Android Auto and the Google Assistant, you can easily communicate hands-free even while driving. If Telegram is your favorite communication app, you probably already have it installed. Just make sure to use them when you need to send a text message.

6. Audible: Listening pleasure
This is especially for all audiobook fans. The commute is a great time to listen to an audiobook, and Audible's support for Android Auto lets you dive into a new book right from the Android Auto interface.
Audible is part of Amazon, so the selection of audio books is almost unlimited. You can even purchase audiobooks along with your eBooks from the Amazon store, which is a great way to save on Kindle and Audible purchases. Best of all, Audible offers convenient features that make it easy to pick up where you left off and replay something you missed when you were distracted. It's a great choice for on-the-go listening.

7.Fuelio: Gas protocol and gas prices
The Fuelio app in the Play Store shows the timeline of tank fills.
Fuelio in the Play Store shows a table of gasoline consumption.
Many of the best Android Auto apps are already on your phone, such as Google Maps and Telegram. Fuelio is primarily designed for driving. Fuelio collects gas station data from online sources to find the cheapest gas stations near you, so you can fill up for less whether you're in your neighborhood or halfway across the country. It also lets you track and store your gas data so you can better understand your mileage, driving habits, and the amount you pay at the pump over time.

It's not a perfect tool. The lack of social integration within the car interface means you won't be able to share gas prices with others unless Fuelio can access them via Google, as is the case with apps like Gas Buddy (although you can do so in the smartphone app add). ). But even if it's not an app you open every day, you'll be glad you have it when you want to maximize your wallet at the pump.

8. Waze navigation and live traffic
A graphic for Waze promoting its crowdsourced routes with traffic, police and construction icons.
A graphic for Waze showing the speedometer function on a smartphone.
Although most of us opt for Google's other navigation app, Waze is an excellent service in its own right. The best feature is the ability to crowdsource information, allowing anyone to report accidents or other road delays for the rest of us to see with up-to-the-minute information. This is a set of tools that help drivers choose efficient routes. It's great why Google bought the service.

However, despite the lack of offline support, Waze offers accurate, real-time traffic thanks to the work of its users. Waze also integrates well with Android Auto and supports voice responses.

9.Pocket Casts – Podcast player
A list of podcasts on Pocket Casts.
The Now Playing screen in Pocket Casts.
Several streaming services like Spotify and Audible offer podcast support, but Pocket Casts is a mainstay if you're looking for a dedicated podcast app. With an intuitive interface and queue feature that lets you easily create a list to listen to podcasts, Pocket Casts is perfect for long commutes while keeping your hands free.

The app can be easily connected to Android Auto and synchronizes with Assistant at the same time. This means you have your hands free even if you want to change the settings you previously made. So if you're a podcast addict (hey, that's another app!) who needs control of your library while commuting, Pocket Casts is a good place to start.

10.TomTom GO Navigation
TomTom has been in the satellite navigation space since 2004, so it makes sense that the company offers a handful of apps for Android and TomTom GO Navigation is the big boy of the group. You can test this navigation software with full functionality for 30 days. If you like what you see, you can purchase a monthly subscription for $5, a six-month subscription for $16, or a year's worth of directions for $25.

Offline maps as well as lane guidance, real-time traffic warnings and turn-by-turn navigation are supported. There's also a free option called TomTom AmiGO for those who aren't willing to pay for directions. However, if you are looking for TomTom's full navigation features, TomTom GO Navigation is the version to try if you need a robust mapping software that works offline.

11.Poweramp music player
Poweramp's Now Playing screen on an Android phone.
Poweramp's visualizer plays on an Android phone.
There are tons of music streaming apps out there, but local music players are a rarer breed. At the top of this list is Poweramp. It has had Android Auto support since 2019 and is a long-time favorite thanks to its clean design and great EQ. It also plays almost any format, including FLACs, making it an excellent player for audiophiles who have mind-blowing sound systems in their vehicles.

You don't have to worry about compression affecting your favorite music, ensuring you get the best possible experience for your FLAC collection with an excellent built-in 10-band graphic equalizer. You can test the full version of the app for free for 15 days. If you like what you see, you can unlock the full version on the Google Play Store for $5.49.

12. TuneIn Radio: News, Radio and FM
This might sound like a crazy idea, but have you ever thought about playing radio via Android Auto? TuneIn Radio is an all-in-one radio app. It offers more than 100,000 radio stations from AM, FM and the Internet. This includes news channels as well as popular podcasts and live sports.

The app offers Android Auto support and with all of these stations available, you can listen to all sorts of offerings while driving. The selection of stations is better than most car stereos, so this isn't such a crazy idea if you like listening to music from around the world.

13. Podcast Addict: Podcast player
The playback controls on Podcast Addict
A list of podcasts on Podcast Addict on an Android phone.
Pocket Casts may be a great option for podcast addicts, but only one app uses the phrase in its name. If you're looking for something that works great with Android Auto and is also customizable, Podcast Addict is a great alternative to our previous selection.

You get an AA-specific interface for easy navigation and can customize the placement of the on-screen buttons to ensure they're where you need them to build your muscle memory and keep your eyes on the road. You also get access to numerous popular podcasts. Please note that the app contains advertising, which can be removed via a subscription.

14th player for Rainwave
A song queue on Rainwave.
The Now Playing controls on Rainwave
If you're looking for something different when listening to the radio while driving, Player for Rainwave might be right for you. This audio streaming app focuses on video game music and has built-in Android Auto support for hands-free access while driving. Because it's a free service supported by user contributions, it doesn't offer the extensive library you'll find with more prominent players in the streaming game. However, there are numerous updates and errors are quickly fixed.

An entire app dedicated to video game music may not be for everyone. Still, for those who enjoy chiptunes, especially on the go, Player for Rainwave is an excellent indie release that fills that niche admirably. Best of all, you can rate songs and add the best tunes to your favorites, customizing your experience so you can hit the road without any fuss.

15. WhatsApp Messenger
The WhatsApp screen shows a group call
The WhatsApp screen shows a list of chats
We've highlighted some communication apps you'll need for your ride, but this list isn't complete without WhatsApp. While it's certainly more popular outside the US, WhatsApp is a service you need no matter where you live. Maybe you have a few friends or family members who insist on texting you using Facebook's other messaging service, and keeping that on your phone will allow you to respond hands-free while driving to your next destination.

Stay entertained and connected no matter where you go
While this list represents just a small selection of the apps you'll need for your Drive, Android Auto support is spotty when it comes to apps. Check if the software you use every day has support for it. At the same time, you shouldn't be too distracted by your car's display while driving. Ultimately, you are responsible for your safety and the safety of everyone on the road around you. Drive carefully!

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