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Does Android Auto use data? How does it work?

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  • 6 min read


Google’s Android Auto rolled out in 2015 as a “smart driving companion that helps you stay focused, connected, and entertained, powered by the Google Assistant. With a simplified interface, large buttons, and voice actions, Android Auto is designed to make it more convenient and safer to use apps that you love from your phone while you’re out on the road. 

In more simplified words, Android Auto is a tool that mirrors some of the primary features of a smartphone to the car infotainment system, including navigation, music playlist, SMS/Calling compatibility, Google voice assistance and reading apps.

Also read: How to disable Android Auto?

How much data does Android Auto use? 

Android Auto can be used in two different ways — standalone and with an internet configured device. In the case of the former, you can use it to receive messages or calls on a large screen of your infotainment system without opening your device or play pre-stored music on the dashboard, which does not require any internet connection.

Now to enable the entire feature list of Android Auto, the internet is a necessity. Suppose your device is not connected to any internet, you won’t be able to use Google voice command assistance, navigation, and many apps like Pandora, Spotify and Waze.

To answer the question of whether Android Auto uses data? It really comes down to your usage — the more internet-connected featured you use, the more data bill you’ll incur. Android Auto doesn’t exactly use any more internet than what the apps in use will need to deliver content to the infotainment system. The connection between your phone and Android Auto doesn’t incur any data transfer.

If you want to use Android Auto like a Bluetooth connection, you don’t need internet for your device. However, if you do, you’ll have to bear the charges.  

Also read: How to fix the Android Auto not working error?

How does Android Auto work?

If you are using Android Auto for the first time or with a new car, then before going further, you need to set up Android Auto and establish a connection between the vehicle and your phone. Once you are done setting it up, Android Auto will override the infotainment system with the information of the Android smartphone and displays the same on the car’s interface with cards that you can swipe out of the way, legible menus, and large icons.

Now every time you connect your Android device via USB cable or wireless connection with the car,s head unit, it will automatically make a connection and turn your Android phone’s screen blank while the system is running to prevent distractions. And the software will port saved destinations, recent call lists and songs from your phone to the infotainment system, so you don’t have to manually type in the address to your house, your office, or last dial every time.

Moreover, Android Auto also offers options like Day/Night mode, Android driving mode configuration, Automatic media resume, built-in weather card to show the conditions in your current location and a lot more. 

Android Auto has made its overall messaging experience even easier to use, letting you access and use your messaging app of choice from the launcher screen. 

Also read: How to add Apps to Android Auto?

What does Android Auto look like?

Android Auto has a permanent menu bar at the foot of the screen for quickly returning to the maps, phone or music app. It has a card-based menu display that’s of Google’s unified design language. Also, the current time and your phone’s signal strength and battery percentage always appear at the top of the screen.

  • App Launcher: Tap on the App Launcher button to open the app launcher, where you’ll find the familiar app icons laid out with your most commonly used apps automatically featured in the top row.
  • Multiple-tasking widget helps control the app that is currently running like a music app while you use another app.
  • Notification centre: The bell icon Notification button on the bottom will mirror any new received calls, messages and alerts on your Android device.
  • Microphone: To run Google assistant, you can simply tap on the microphone button Assistant microphone.

You can also launch Google Assistant by saying “OK Google,” or if the car has a physical voice command button on the steering wheel that you can press and hold to talk to Google.

What Phones Does Android Auto Work With?

Android Auto only works with Android devices. You can use CarPlay if you’re using Apple’s iPhone.

For Wired Connection:

An Android phone with Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and up, an active data plan, and the latest version of the Android Auto app

For Wireless connection:

A compatible Android phone with an active data plan, 5 GHz WiFi support, and the latest version of the Android Auto app. Wireless projection is compatible with these Android versions:

  • Any phone with Android 11.0
  • A Google or Samsung phone with Android 10.0
  • A Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, or Note 8, with Android 9.0

Also read: Google Play Services keep stopping: 9 Fixes

Vishal Chandel

Vishal Chandel

Reader, Writer, Lawyer, Horse Rider. Vishal thinks he's funny, unless you beer him; then he's actually funny!