When people ask “What apps can I download on Android Auto?” the answer is: a lot! At the time of counting on Google’s official Play Store page for Android Auto (opens in new tab) there are 260 in total. Yes, indeed: two hundred and sixty for you to choose from, as well as others we suspect are not on this list or may be unofficially sideloaded.
But you don’t want to dig through the crowds to find the top picks, so we’ll help you by handpicking the best Android Auto apps for use with Google’s in-car system. Since Google Maps is installed by default for navigation, we’ll skip those – but as you can see from our list, there are alternatives nonetheless.
Android Auto is great for music, so it’s a perfect match for Spotify. (But if you subscribe to another service, feel free to fill in here as you please: Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer, and others all have native apps, but even Apple Music and Tidal can send sound to your in-car system).
Great album art integration, mapped volume controls, language selection courtesy of Google Assistant, and a stack of great tunes to play via download or live stream make Spotify a great Android Auto companion. It’s often on our display instead of navigation.
Although Google Maps is the default option in Android Auto, it’s not the only navigation tool available to you. Waze is a great free downloadable system that many people prefer to Google’s own model for its looks and accuracy.
That it’s free also makes it a great alternative, as there are paid alternatives like Tom Tom (from £/$€1.99 per month) if that’s what you prefer. But we think Waze’s traffic and accident updates and rerouting will bring business to most people.
Again, this depends on your messaging system of choice: Android Auto supports WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook Messenger so you can pick your preferred one or, well, use the whole pack if that suits you best.
WhatsApp is our go-to messaging app, however, and has integrated well with Android Auto: you can have message notifications appear on-screen, have them read aloud if you choose, and even use Google Assistant to speak a reply, like having a conversation. This is really useful in some situations.
Android Auto not only plays well with music services like Spotify, but also delivers the best new audiobooks and podcasts. If you prefer engaging with spoken word rather than nodding along to tunes, then Audible is a great app.
If you like to read a lot but also travel a lot, then Audible for Android Auto is an ideal solution. There are original shows, book readings, and podcasts galore. It’s a subscription service, but well worth it if you put in a lot of tarmac hours.
5. Zap map
Okay, this is situational: you’ll only want Zap Map if you have an electric car and intend to cover some pretty substantial distances. It probably won’t do you much good if you drive a Tesla, but everything else will have its value.
You’ll need a premium subscription to Zap Map to integrate it with Android Auto, but if you pay the fee (£/$3.99 per month) you’ll get a more reliable source of charger information, including broken terminals and more.
Bonus: BBC sounds
A number of apps for Android Auto are region specific, but from a UK perspective you can’t do better than download BBC Sounds, which compiles the last four weeks of all BBC radio programming. That’s a lot of potential content to explore.
You can favorite and download different shows to prompt them to listen, which is great as there are many BBC programs that play in the early hours rather than the mainstream day. So if you’re into your underground rock or bass music, Android Auto gives you daytime access to those late-night shows to get you started. Smash!