How to Use Android Auto


How to Use Android Auto

If you’ve recently purchased a vehicle with Android Auto, getting started will allow you to start using a range of new features, functions, and options in your car. In our last article, we discussed how to set up your phone with Android Auto. Once you set it up, you can immediately begin using a range of features including voice control, Google Maps, Google Next, and much more.


Android Auto allows you to use controls including manual buttons, voice control, and the touchscreen interface.

Manual Buttons – Manual buttons vary depending on the car, so it is best that you review your owner’s manual for further instructions.

Touch Screen – Android auto features a 5 part screen with cards that display items on the screen including notifications, destination, location, the weather, and other details. You can edit this as needed. When you tap on one of the screens they show you more information, and allow you to make choices, such as which music app you want to use. These work similarly to a simplified version of your phone, just tap to expand, and then make your choice. Notifications pile up here too, and you can tap to expand your options. Some of the menu items are a little bit complex at first, so try spending a few minutes tapping on the screen until you know your way around while the car is in park. The touch screen is best for use when the car is not in motion.

Voice Control

Google’s Android Auto relies heavily on voice control because it expects you to keep your eyes on the road as much as possible. This means that all of Android Auto’s features and functions work with voice control. You have to tap the microphone icon on top left corner of the screen, or tap the one on your steering wheel if your vehicle model comes equipped with a steering wheel button. Then, just give a command, such as “Call mom” or “Play Pandora” and voice control will launch your apps using Google Now. This function allows you to circumvent the navigation menu. Voice control can read messages, reply to messages, get direction, play music, make calls, and ask questions (using Google’s Knowledge Graph).

Main Functions 

Android Auto has only a few basic functions so you should be able to learn how to use them fairly quickly.

Google Next

Google Next is a smart search engine that saves your previous activity across your phone and brings it to Android Auto. This allows you to see popups for “do you want to go here” after you’ve googled something, which can save you a lot of time. Predictive analysis also allows it to make suggestions such as “Home’ as an address once you’ve driven somewhere else. There is no way to turn this off.

Google Maps 

If you sign into Google Maps with your phone you can set your favorite locations, home and work, and so on. This allows you to use voice controls to request that Google Maps direct you to home or to work. You can also use Google Maps to ask for directions to a nearby restaurant, or a nearby grocery store. It can also suggest better route options based on Google’s traffic information, category suggestions, and pinch to zoom for the map. You can speak or type in addresses.

To use Google Maps on Android Auto, press the microphone on your steering wheel or the touchscreen display and say “Navigate to address”. Or, begin the navigation using the Google Maps app on your phone and select the Map icon at the bottom left corner to view navigation on the display.


Once you’ve connected your phone to Android Auto using Bluetooth (this should be automatic), you can take and make calls using voice control or the touchscreen. Just use commands like “Dial a Number” or “Call name” and you will automatically get in touch with your phone’s contacts or the number you provided.

Calling includes a large dial pad that allows you to dial numbers by hand if you are parked or don’t want to use voice control. You can also dial in extensions mid-call. Finally, you can tap the phone hamburger menu to listen to see missed calls, hear voice mail, and speed dial your contacts.

Accepting Calls – Tap the call notification that pops up on your screen to reply to a call. * If you are sharing the vehicle with multiple passengers, most Android Auto equipped vehicles feature a headset jack and support Bluetooth headphones for more private calling.

Text & Messaging 

Android Auto supports your phone’s text as well as a variety of texting applications such as Whatsapp and Kik. Notifications pop up on your screen and you can tap them to have them read to you. You can then use voice control to reply on every supported app. This allows you to have texts read to you and to reply without ever taking your eyes off the road.


Android Auto supports a number of music apps including Google Play Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, podcasts, and a large list of other apps that is sure to grow in the near future. Make sure you are logged into the app and that you have an active subscription to the music option of your choice, and then simply open it or use voice commands to open the app in Android Auto. Importantly, this does not include your AM/FM radio.  Google Play Music is the only app that accepts voice control.

Your Phone

You can access and browse most of the data on your phone using Android Auto when your vehicle is in Park Mode. This includes scrolling through music, scrolling through text messages, and looking at your contacts.


You should now have a much better idea of how to get started with using your Android Auto.

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