If you have an Android phone and a car, you should know how to use Android Auto for a better info-tainment experience on the road. Even if your car doesn’t have support for the app, you can still use its features right on your phone’s display.
Most of the available Android Auto apps fit into a few categories. Let’s take a look at some of the best apps for Android Auto that you can use while driving.
Note that you must open most of these apps and log in to your account before they’ll work properly in Android Auto!
Download: Android Auto (Free)
The right tunes make driving a lot better. Choose one of the Android Auto music apps below and install it. Once you have, switch between them by tapping the Headphones icon once you’re already on the music tab.
The service that popularized internet radio is right at home in Android Auto. Once you’ve signed into your account in the normal app, you can slide out the left sidebar to pick one of your stations. Then it will continually play music.
You can use the Thumbs Up/Down buttons to influence the station, and tap the arrow to show Stop and Repeat buttons. It’s a simple interface, and Pandora is a great option when you just want to start some music and get going. With Pandora Premium, you’ll get even more.
Download: Pandora (Free)
One of the most popular music streaming apps, Spotify lets you access all the music you love in the car too. Slide out the left panel to access your library, including recent items, albums, playlists, and more. For best results, we recommend making a playlist with your favorite music so you don’t have to fumble about while driving.
Tap the arrow, and you’ll see extra controls to add the current song to your library, start radio for the track, and view the play queue. Remember that unless you have Premium, you can only use shuffle mode on Spotify’s mobile app.
Download: Spotify (Free)
3-4. Google Play Music and YouTube Music
If you’re not already hooked into an app for music, Google Play Music is a great choice. You can listen to ad-supported radio stations for free, plus upload up to 50,000 of your own tracks to listen in your car.
In Android Auto, use the app to listen to podcasts, radio, and your uploaded music. If you subscribe, you can listen to millions of tracks whenever you like, similar to Spotify. Plus, you’ll also have access to YouTube Red and can use the YouTube Music app ad-free (which also works with Android Auto).
YouTube Music lets you listen to remixes and niche tunes found on YouTube, while Play Music is best for “mainstream” music.
Looking to listen to something different in the car? If you’re a fan of video game music, then you’ll be happy to know about Rainwave. It’s the best video game music radio service, available free on Android. You can choose from five different stations, including remixes, chiptune, and game music only.
The Android Auto component is simple, but is great if you’d like to focus in the car and expand your musical horizons.
Download: Player for Rainwave (Free)
Texting and driving is dangerous, but Android Auto supports basic features for certain messaging services. With them, you can send new messages, listen to incoming ones, and send automated replies.
6. Facebook Messenger
If Facebook Messenger is your app of choice for keeping up with your friends, you’ll be happy to know it works in the car too.
You’ll see notifications for new messages and can hit the Play button to hear them. Tap the I’m driving right now auto-responder to let your friends know that you can’t respond at the moment.
Download: Messenger (Free)
7-8. WhatsApp and Telegram
Unsurprisingly, the wildly popular WhatsApp messenger works with Android Auto too. It carries a similar feature set to other messaging apps in Android Auto.
Say Send a message to Jim on WhatsApp to start a new message. You can also hear new messages and respond with your voice. Just remember that you won’t see these messaging apps appear anywhere in Android Auto’s menus like the music apps do.
If you prefer Telegram over WhatsApp, it’s also available with the same features.
9-14. More Messaging Apps
Since most messaging apps carry an identical suite of features in Android Auto, we won’t cover them in-depth. Instead, here’s a quick list of additional messaging apps that work with Android Auto the same way:
Prefer to listen to the radio instead of your music collection while driving? Android Auto has several apps for that.
If you don’t like the radio stations in your area, iHeartRadio has hundreds of options. Using this app, you can tune in to radio stations across the country.
In Android Auto, you can easily tune to your favorite stations or find new favorites based on genre.
Download: iHeartRadio (Free)
Another popular radio app, TuneIn lets you listen to thousands of radio stations for music, sports, or talk — whenever you like. Use the Android Auto app to quickly start listening to the perfect station no matter what you’re in the mood for.
Download: TuneIn (Free)
17. Scanner Radio
If you want to pretend you’re going undercover in a movie, this is the app for you. Instead of tuning to radio stations nationwide, Scanner Radio lets you listen to police, emergency, and amateur radio. Some might find this a bit weird to listen to while driving, but maybe you enjoy hearing what’s going on in major cities. It could also help keep you up while driving late.
In Android Auto, use the Top 10 Scanners to see what’s popular, or Nearby Scanners if you want to listen to something local.
Download: Scanner Radio (Free)
18. More Radio Apps
Most of the apps that work with Android Auto are local radio station apps. There’s not much reason to use these since you have so many other options for music. But you can give them a look if you think you’d be interested.
Navigation, News, and Audiobooks
We conclude with a few miscellaneous apps that don’t fit into other categories.
19. Google Maps
Chances are that Google Maps is already on your phone, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Tap the Navigation icon in Android Auto to open Maps and get where you’re going. Use your voice or tap the Set Destination box to set your destination, or just leave the app up to see traffic around you.
The Android Auto version of Google Maps uses a simplified interface, making it easy to navigate without a lot of clutter getting in the way.
Download: Google Maps (Free)
20. Waze (Car Unit Only)
While Google Maps is the trusted standard for navigation, Waze’s Android Auto app includes handy features that might win you over. Thanks to other drivers providing info, it alerts you to accidents, traffic, and even police waiting to catch speeders on your route. Waze also helps you find the cheapest gas on your route and reroutes you automatically if needed.
Unfortunately, Waze is only available if your car supports Android Auto. If you have a compatible vehicle, you should try both for your Android Auto navigation and see which you prefer.
Download: Waze (Free)
Prefer to listen to audiobooks instead of music when you drive? Audible has you covered. Use the Android Auto app to listen to your downloaded audiobooks. If you’ve never used Audible, check out our recommendations for what to listen to in your free trial.
Download: Audible (Free app, subscription required)
A selection of news apps are also available for listening in Android Auto. You’ll find them in your list of music apps once installed.
What Are Your Favorite Android Auto Apps?
We’ve covered the best Android Auto apps you can use. Some of them didn’t make the cut, but we imagine nearly everyone will be satisfied with this selection. Now you can listen to music or whatever audio you prefer, navigate in style, and message friends if needed, all from your car.
If you’re curious, find out how Android Auto stacks up against Apple CarPlay.
What Android Auto apps do you use? Are there any other apps you’d like to see adapted for Auto? Tell us down in the comments!