The 10 Best Android Auto Apps

Make the most out of your drive time

Android Auto can be utilized directly on your smartphone screen or on your car's built-in dashboard display in compatible vehicles, connecting to your phone wired or wirelessly with a combination touchscreen and voice-driven interface to ensure that your focus stays on the road, where it should be.

Designed to take advantage of many of your smartphone's features while driving, such as making and receiving calls and messages or plotting the steps to your trip, Android Auto also supports a number of useful apps found in the Google Play Store. Some of the best from that group are listed below.

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Screenshot of Waze for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Remarkable traffic accuracy.

  • No need to set up an account.

What We Don't Like
  • Clunky, unattractive interface.

  • Voice command option is hidden in the menu.

Waze boasts almost a hundred million users for good reason: it usually gets you where you're going via the easiest and quickest route possible. Powered by a combination of Android's Location Services and real-time information crowdsourced from its massive base, the app takes into account a number of key factors including construction, up-to-the-minute traffic conditions, accidents, police activity and more.

In addition to guiding you to your destination, Waze provides a number of secondary benefits which include alerting you to the cheapest gas stations and if there is a speed trap coming up. Since it is community-based, the app also contains a number of social-centric features that let you connect and interact with fellow Wazers if you desire.

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WhatsApp Messenger

Screenshot of WhatsApp Messenger for Android Auto
What We Like
  • No email registration required.

  • Sending group texts is a breeze.

What We Don't Like
  • Calls are only free when calling other WhatsApp users.

  • Message encryption is unreliable.

WhatsApp Messenger utilizes your smartphone's internet connection, whether it be Wi-Fi or a broadband cellular network such as 4G, to send messages and even make calls directly through the app. While much of its additional functionality such as group chat isn't conducive to Android Auto, standard voice communication and speech-to-text messaging fits right in with a hands-free driving experience.

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Spotify Music

Screenshot of Spotify for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Impressive song library.

  • Extensive social media integration.

  • Reliable offline mode.

What We Don't Like
  • Free account only offers 6 months of unlimited streaming.

  • Can't purchase DRM-free songs in the U.S.

A free, ad-supported app that unlocks access to millions of songs from yesteryear and today, Spotify provides a custom soundtrack whether you're driving cross-country or just across town. You can search for individual artists and song titles or allow the music selection engine to choose for you. A paid subscription to Spotify Premium ensures an ad-free experience, better quality audio in some instances and the ability to skip an unlimited number of songs.

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Pandora Music

Screenshot of Pandora for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Good song recommendations based on listening history.

  • Create playlist stations for others to hear.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't listen to individual songs.

  • May pause playback without reason.

Pandora also features an extraordinary large music collection, accessible by creating personalized stations that are based on a specific artist, song or genre. The app and its accompanying tunes are free, but you'll need a Pandora Plus subscription if you'd like to avoid listening to commercials and wish to skip past songs without limitation.

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Screenshot of iHeartRadio for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Hosts hundreds of live and curated artist streams. 

  • Includes song lyrics and artist bios.

What We Don't Like
  • No way to rewind live radio. 

  • No multi-user subscription plans.

iHeartRadio lets you stream stations from all over the globe, expanding your radio's reach much farther than the typical local selections. Lift the shackles of regional topics and tunes with this app by driving along to whatever call letters you want or creating your own personalized stations based on artist or genre. All of this is available for free, while a paid subscription allows you to replay and skip an unlimited number of songs.

of 10 At Bat

Screenshot of At Bat for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Real-time game scores.

  • Collection of news articles.

  • Schedule automatically adjusts to your time zone.

What We Don't Like
  • Subscription must be renewed each year.

  • Live video app limited to one game per day.

What's better than taking a long summer drive, fresh breeze blowing through the windows, listening to a baseball game? With Android Auto and the At Bat app you'll never miss another pitch while behind the wheel, no matter if your favorite team plays locally or on the other side of the country. A subscription is required to play each game's audio feed, with both home and road broadcasts as well as Spanish-language radio offered when available.

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Screenshot of NPR One for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Simple, attractive interface.

  • Push notifications for new episodes of favorite shows.

What We Don't Like
  • Default sound is very quiet.

  • Discovering new content could be easier.

Get up-to-date local and world news along with in-depth features from National Public Radio with this free ad-driven app, covering a breadth of topics from politics to the arts. NPR One's customizable design ensures that your drive is accompanied by the news and stories that align with your specific interests and regions.

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Audiobooks from Audible

Screenshot of Audible for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Largest library of audiobooks ever compiled.

  • Extra perks and content for Amazon Prime members.

What We Don't Like
  • Paid subscription limited to one or two books per month.

  • Requires an Amazon account.

Listening to books can be just as enjoyable as reading them, and the best part is you can immerse yourself in the latest release from your favorite author while still keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. It's no surprise that audiobooks are so popular in today's on-the-go society, and the Audible app opens up an immense library of titles narrated through your car's speaker system.

You can also listen to magazines and newspapers with Audible, with the overall service accessible by signing up for a 30-day free trial and paying a monthly fee afterward should you choose to continue.

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Scanner Radio

Screenshot of Scanner Radio for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Impressive detection range.

  • Helps avoid road blocks and traffic accidents.

What We Don't Like
  • Using such apps may be illegal in some areas.

  • Not 100 percent reliable.

The Scanner Radio app integrates the equivalent of a long-time Radio Shack favorite into your Android device, letting you listen to thousands of live frequencies from fire, police and other feeds across the US and Canada. With full Android Auto support and a number of handy features to locate, sort and save your favorites, this app is ideal for hobbyists or those who find it exciting listening to the action as it occurs. A pro version of Scanner Radio is available for a fee, removing all ads and unlocking advanced features including the ability to record live scans. We've ranked it as one of the 4 Best Free Police Scanner Apps.

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Screenshot of OverDrive for Android Auto
What We Like
  • Thousands of titles from hundreds of libraries across the country.

  • No late fees on overdue library books.

What We Don't Like
  • Complicated verification and check out process.

  • No automatic syncing between devices.

Since the advent of digital and audiobooks, your local public library may no longer be the first place that comes to mind when you're looking for a particular title. Don't be so quick to dismiss your tried-and-true neighborhood institution, however, as most now offer vast digital collections in addition to their traditional print inventory.

The OverDrive app, in conjunction with Libby, lets you borrow free audio versions of these books and play them right on your smartphone with Android Auto.