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10 best Android Auto apps to get the most out of it
Android Auto is one of the best things to happen to a car’s center stack. It offers quick access to messages, phone calls, and smaller things like the weather. Additionally, you can listen to all kinds of audio content, navigate basically anywhere, and ask Google for a bunch of different things. It’s available for any Android device and it’s quite easy to use. You simply plug the phone into your car via USB and you’re ready to set it up and go.
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There are a variety of apps to customize the experience and you really can do almost anything you want with it except watch videos. Obviously, Google Assistant needs mentioning here since it works with the microphones in your car to deliver content while you drive but you need it to use Android Auto anyway. Thus, we didn’t list it below. We can help you customize your experience with the best Android Auto apps for Android.
The best Android Auto apps for Android
Audible and Overdrive
Price: Free / Varies
Audible and OverDrive are two of the most popular audiobook services out there. Both of them have Android Auto support as well. They work basically the same way. You can purchase audiobooks and listen to them in your car. It works great for commutes or road trips and it’s a fun alternative to music for those who want something a little less intense. Audible also has a subscription service for those who would rather go that route than purchase individual books. OverDrive is a good alternative to Audible if you don’t want that.
Price: Free / $9.99 per month
iHeartRadio is one of the best Internet radio apps and it has excellent Android Auto support. You can find a bunch of regular music stations along with actual radio stations. You can always use your car radio for regular radio stations, but iHeartRadio helps keep everything within Android Auto for people who want to do it that way. The service is entirely free with ads or there’s an optional subscription for those who want more stuff. We’re especially big fans of iHeartRadio during the holiday season because its Christmas station is excellent. It’s still great during the other 11 months of the year too.
Facebook Messenger or Telegram
Facebook Messenger and Telegram are two very different apps. The first is (along with WhatsApp) the world’s most popular messenger service and there is a good chance your friends and family have it or use it regularly. Telegram, by contrast, is a privacy messenger app with encryption and other privacy features. Both of them work with Android Auto and are arguably the two best apps that do. We recommend Facebook Messenger for those who just want to keep in touch and Telegram to those who want some extra privacy.
Price: Free / $4.99-$9.99 per month
Pandora was in cars before Android Auto existed and it’s still one of the best Android Auto apps for music. It has a large supply of music stations and you can create your own with music that you like. Pandora also has a music-on-demand service for $9.99 per month that competes with services like Google Play Music and Spotify. It’s an excellent all-in-one solution for Internet radio and music you actually like. The $4.99 per month subscription adds some features for the radio side of things if you don’t want the on-demand stuff.
Price: Free / $2.99 / $0.99 per month
Podcast Addict is one of the best podcast apps for Android. It ticks all of the boxes. You can find almost every podcast, have them downloaded automatically, and there are reasonably good playback options. The UI is decent and is capable of handling a lot of podcasts. You also get Chromecast and SONOS support. In terms of Android Auto, the app worked perfectly fine in our testing without any bugs or glitches. The $2.99 premium version removes ads and the subscription adds some extras, but it’s not necessary to enjoy your podcasts. Doggcatcher is also pretty good, but it’s old and we think the developers quit developing it.
Pulsar or Poweramp
Price: Free / Up to $2.49
Pulsar and Poweramp represent two of the best music players on Android. Both of them have Android Auto support and play your local music files. Pulsar is the simpler of the two apps. It finds your library, lets you create playlists, and plays your music. Poweramp, by contrast, is one of the more complex options for music players with tons of features. We include both because sometimes you just want something simple and sometimes you want to control the whole experience. These two apps do those things so pick the ones you like. Both of them are reasonably inexpensive as well. Poweramp doesn’t have a free version, only a free trial, so that’s something to keep in mind too.
Price: Free / $9.99 per month
Spotify is the most popular music streaming service in the world and it works great with Android Auto. It works well with voice commands and you can access your playlists at the drop of a hat. Most people already know what Spotify can do and why it’s great. Google Play Music is another great option and works flawlessly with voice commands and such. However, its future is uncertain thanks to YouTube Music. Some other decent music streaming options include Deezer and Amazon Music.
Price: Free / $4.49
Textra SMS is one of the best and most customizable SMS apps on Android. You can fine tune the theme yourself, it works with SMS and MMS, and you can even customize things like the emoji you see in the app. It works well with Android Auto as well. You can send and receive messages. Google Assistant reads out the texts just fine. Everything seems to work well.
If you happened to get the double SMS notification while connected to the car, go into your Settings menu and turn off the SMS permissions for Android Auto. After that, you’ll only get notifications from Textra and Google Assistant will still read and respond to messages as normal.
Waze and Google Maps
Waze and Google Maps are two of the only navigation apps that work with Android Auto. Both are also by Google. Google Maps is the obvious choice because it has a ton of features and it’s the default option. However, you can go with Waze as well if you want something a little different. Both apps respond to voice inputs on Android Auto and both help you navigate to your destination. There isn’t much else to say really.
All these other Android Auto apps
Price: Free / Varies
Google has a whole Google Play Store page for Android Auto apps. You can find all kinds of hidden gems on this page, including individual radio station apps, various messaging apps like Skype, news sites, podcast apps, and all kinds of other content. All of these apps should have Android Auto support and those looking for the diamond in the rough apps should find them on this page. Hit the button and prepare to browse through stuff Google says has Android Auto support. Unfortunately, we couldn’t try all of these before writing the article because there are dozens of them. However, the ones we tried did work and all of the Android Auto apps on this list are also on the linked page.
If we missed any great Android Auto apps, tell us about them in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists. You can also read our guide on adding and organizing Android Auto apps to help make sure your car’s screen is exactly the way you like it.
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