5 Must-Have Android Auto Apps Everybody Must Download Right Now

As such, it’s no surprise that Android Auto has become a common feature in new cars, as customers are particularly interested in phone projection support when ordering a new model.

In fact, Apple’s numbers support this trend. The iPhone maker says nearly 80 percent of new car buyers in the United States wouldn’t even consider getting a vehicle that doesn’t support CarPlay. The same should also be valid for Android Auto, as cars that run CarPlay also ship with support for Google’s app.

By default, Android Auto comes with a pre-loaded app lineup that should help users run the essential tasks behind the wheel. The navigation experience is powered by Google Maps, while YouTube is in charge of music playback. Google Assistant is integrated into Android Auto to power the hands-free interaction with the app.

However, while some users would stick with the default set of apps just fine, the Android Auto experience can be significantly enhanced using third-party solutions available on the Google Play Store. Here are the top five applications every Android Auto user must try out right now.

Waze

Google Maps is the native navigation app on Android and Android Auto, but Waze is, without a doubt, the top alternative right now.

Thanks to the crowdsourcing system that allows users to send traffic reports, Waze finds faster routes to the destination while also making the road more predictable.

The big difference between Google Maps and Waze is the traffic reporting system. Users can flag the location of a wide array of incidents, such as accidents, traffic jams, roadkill, and potholes. The other motorists are then getting warnings when going through the same spots.

Waze does not support offline navigation, as it needs a permanent Internet connection to download traffic data and generate alternative routes. Waze already supports the Coolwalk interface, so you can run it side by side with other apps on the multi-app view screen. Waze can also run in the smaller tile on Coolwalk when another app, such as Spotify, uses the main card.

Waze on Coolwalk

Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

Tidal

While YouTube Music is the recommended music streaming service and Spotify is the top alternative, Tidal is, without a doubt, a solid choice.

The impressive audio quality sets it apart from the crowd, as Tidal supports up to 9216 kbps audio as part of the HiFi Plus tier.

It includes over 100 million songs and offers an ad-free and offline experience. Users can skip as many songs as they want if they have a subscription.

More often than not, Tidal is also available at lower prices than Spotify and YouTube Music. A HiFi Plus subscription in the United States costs $19.99 per month if no promo is active. A free version with up to 160 kbps quality and ads is also available.

WeatherRadar

While most Android Auto users need nothing more than a solid navigation tool and a music app, WeatherRadar proves the app ecosystem keeps growing at a very fast pace.

WeatherRadar is the first full weather app available on Android Auto, providing users with access to the forecast right from the dashboard.

The feature lineup includes everything you’d need, starting with the current temperature and ending with chances of rain and a radar.

Weather Radar on Android Auto

Photo: Weather Radar

Pocket Casts

The number of podcast apps on the Google Play Store might be overwhelming at first, making it difficult to pick the right one for Android Auto.

After trying out way too many such apps, I figured out Pocket Casts is one of the best, as it offers pretty much everything you’d need to listen to your favorite podcasts.

You can subscribe to shows, automatically download them, discover new ones, and resume from where you left off. The best feature for Android Auto users is the sync option, so you can listen to an episode on your phone and then resume the playback on Android Auto.

SpotHero on Android Auto

Photo: SpotHero

SpotHero

Another must-have app for Android Auto is a parking assistant. SpotHero is currently one of the leading names in this particular app category, offering a very easy way to see your parking reservation and then get navigation to its location.

SpotHero doesn’t yet offer full Android Auto integration, meaning that you won’t be able to book a spot from the dashboard. The whole thing happens on the mobile device, but you can do this before leaving on a new trip.

Once the spot reservation is complete, you can launch the SpotHero app on Android Auto to see the booking and tap it to launch Google Maps for navigation instructions. Paying for a parking spot isn’t currently possible on Android Auto, but the parent company says it’s already working on additional features for the car, so expect news on this front sooner rather than later.

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