What is Apple Carplay and Android Auto?

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are car assistant systems that basically replicate in the car the functions you most use on your phone.You access certain apps and features of your smartphone, either through your infotainment system or through your phone interface.

This connection allows you to do a variety of things like making phone calls, navigating (eg. Apple Maps or Google Maps), listen to music (eg. Spotify), or check incoming texts using either manually through the buttons/touchscreen of your car, or voice commands.

One of the features of the Skoda Octavia is the SmartLink^ system. The SmartLink system delivers a seamless connection between your car and selected apps from your smartphone using either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto interfaces. Whether you want to select and listen to music on your smartphone or receive turn-by-turn directions, selected apps are mirrored and can be controlled via the Octavia’s infotainment unit.

^SmartLink is compatible for selected apps with the latest smartphone versions of iOS and Android, active data service, and connection cable (sold separately).

Do all cars come with it?

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were first introduced in about 2014. There has been rapid advancement in technology and adoption since, and in the last couple of years have seen most manufacturers integrating them into new cars.

As cars become increasingly tech-focused, you can expect to see a lot more integration of these two systems going into the future.

Why do I want it?

Connecting your phone to your car via Apple Carplay or Android Auto offers drivers both convenience and safety. It reduces any distractions and temptations to glance over at the phone, allowing you to stay connected with your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.  

If you make use of voice command (which they highly encourage) you can access your favourite mobile apps and functions freely while driving, without having to touch your phone.

 Is it hard to use?

For the most part, you simply connect your Apple or Android phone to the infotainment system via cable (or wireless if available) and follow some simple prompts. After that, if you own a new car with touch screen capabilities (like the Skoda Octavia), the display basically mirrors that of a smartphone and you can use it as such.

If you don’t want to fiddle with manual controls while driving, remember both interfaces offer voice command (Carplay using ‘Siri’ and Android Auto using ‘Google Now’). You may have to press the voice command button or microphone on your steering wheel to use this function. With Carplay, using the classic “Hey Siri” should get you started.

How do I get it?

As mentioned previously, most new cars should already have or be able to offer either Android Auto and/or Apple Carplay already integrated into their infotainment systems.

The good news is that both Apple Carplay and Android Auto come standard with the Skoda Octavia, integrated into the SmartLink system, all ready to go.

It won’t work – who can help?

If you have any problems with connection or use, you can consult your owner’s manual. Alternatively, if for example you own a Skoda Octavia, contact your local Skoda dealership Perth for help.