The Free Car Apps You Really Need (Android Auto and Apple Car Play)

In the current age of smartphones, it is important for tech companies to keep one-upping and perfecting themselves to stay on top. Eventually, they make it their mission to find better ways of tying together technological gaps to benefit their consumers.

Today I will explore two aftermarket solutions that you can use while driving that might benefit you more than what you already have inside your car. These are the Android Auto and the Apple CarPlay.


The Android Auto is a free-to-download app designed specifically for phones with the Android system. You can use the app on either your phone as is or connect it to your car display.

Android Auto’s phone interface is easy to navigate and use. If you want to use it on your inbuilt car display, all you have to do is set up your phone to connect with your car following the instructions and you’ll be ready to drive.

Additionally, text messages are able to be read aloud to you; you can even compose replies as well with its voice recognition function. There are over 500 apps supported by Android Auto – you can easily access music apps such as Spotify, Google Maps, Google Play Music, etc.


Presuming your Android device already comes with a Google Play Music application, you will be entitled to a free 90 days of ad free music.

Listen to your person curated music via your car’s speakers. And further, you can also listen to your favourite podcasts and audiobooks in your car as well. Simply select what you want to here before you drive and then you’ll be listening to it all the way to work or wherever you like. That’s the thing though, you can’t access your phone while it is connected to your car.

Voice Control

Simply use OK Google or the microphone on the top right corner of your car display to activate the app; there’s no need to go through the tedious process of unlocking, swiping, then tapping. Messages from third party applications can also be read aloud to you – this includes Twitter and Whatsapp.

In addition, you can even reply to these messages and the system will be able to post them. However, one must wonder at how accurately the system can recognise voice commands.

Other Apps

The other apps will be located either at the very bottom of your phone or at the bottom of your car display. It is a simple, limited selection: navigation, phone, home screen, and music.

Google Maps

Here is the essence of the Android Auto app. The one thing you really needed from an app such as this one. The Google Maps application updates alongside mobile phone updates, so you’ll always be using the latest and most accurate map functions while you drive.

The Apple CarPlay is a similar phone application as to the Android Auto, except, of course, it is designed for IOS.

Apple CarPlay allows for a safer way of using your iPhone while you drive. Over 200 vehicle models are compatible with Apple CarPlay as of now. Apple has the benefit of quicker application updates and refreshes than your car’s preinstalled infotainment systems. That is why there seems to be need now for better aftermarket solutions that are safer for the road.

Using your phone while driving is a crime, but that doesn’t stop people from getting impatient with their slow GPS systems and outdated infotainment systems. So Apple has devised a solution to save you.

Apple CarPlay

Connect your phone to your car via its Lightning cable/charger or phone holder (check out our Alpha Car Cradles – we have device docking systems to suit your every iPhone need) and then you’re all set. The screen of your car display will feature an interface much like your Apple iPhone that you can select or use your voice to activate. If your car as a touchscreen display, you can also use your fingers to select your preferred application.

But do keep in mind, only iPhone 5 and beyond can access Car Play.

Maps and Navigation

Once you connect your phone to your car, you’ll be able to play music, make phone calls, take your calls, read books, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, send text messages, and of course, navigate using Maps. The Apple Maps app is capable of all the functions of a usual GPS but it is smarter and more susceptible to change. By change, I mean updates.

Once again, a major benefit of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay is that you don’t have to wait for your car systems to update. Which is kind of great, isn’t it? In a way…

Apple Car Play vs Android Auto

Unlike the Android Auto, you can still use your phone’s screen while it is connected via Lightning cable to your car. Slightly less safe, but this also means you can use your phone while parked.

Battery Life and Utility

One major downfall to both of these apps is that they will still drain your phone’s battery when used on its own – it will only last for as long as your phone’s battery allows it to last.

Having the Android Auto and Apply Car Play installed either on your phone or in your car means that your phone is constantly active. This will no doubt drain your device’s battery and that would be unfortunate if you were in the middle of driving somewhere.

So it is highly advised that you also have something to tether your phone to – for example, a phone holding accessory. Since Android Auto and Apple CarPlay was designed with driver safety in mind, then it is only natural to have a docking system as well. This will make sure your driving experience is secure.

Our Strike Alpha Car Cradle is one such solution that could benefit your experience with the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The Strike Alpha Car Cradle is designed to minimise road distractions. The Alpha cradle’s charging and signal boosting capabilities can allow you to use your phone without worrying about depleting its charge. The phone will maintain its high-level performance and therefore maintain access to the apps’ features. We have car phone holders for the latest devices in the market. Our Strike Alpha Car Cradles can even turn your phone into a Dash cam by just downloading a free Dashcam app and docking your phone onto the cradle.

View our wide range of car cradles at and learn more about its features.

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