Apple’s CarPlay Dashboard Is a Feature Android Auto Needs Too

Waze on the CarPlay dashboard 1 photo
Photo: autoevolution
CarPlay is often considered the more reliable alternative to Android Auto, and while this isn’t always exactly the case, Apple’s walled garden certainly contributes to providing users with a more stable experience overall.
But while CarPlay and Android Auto are both supposed to do pretty much the same thing on different mobile platforms, each comes with its very own exclusive features, and for Apple users, the one they love the most lately seems to be the dashboard.

Introduced with the iOS 13 update, the CarPlay dashboard is a new view mode that allows multiple apps to be displayed side by side on the screen, essentially making it possible for the driver to access essential data without the need for toggling between apps.

Not only that this feature is pretty eye-candy, but it also reduces the distraction behind the wheel, as it no longer requires the driver to interact with the screen and jump from one application to another.

The dashboard is divided into cards, each with its own purpose. The largest is used by navigation apps, which absolutely makes sense given this is what most drivers are interested in these days. Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze all support the dashboard mode, and there’s nothing you can do to enable this feature on CarPlay.

This is because Apple has designed the dashboard to work as straightforward as possible, so the latest navigation app that you launch always shows up on the CarPlay dashboard too. Want Google Maps on the dashboard? Just open the app and then return to the multi-view screen. If Waze is your preferred choice, just launch it on CarPlay and then head back to the dashboard.

Compatible third-party navigation apps appear on CarPlay Dashboard while in use. When you’re not actively navigating, or if you’re navigating using more than one app, CarPlay Dashboard displays the last compatible navigation app that was used,” Apple explains.

The other cards on the screen are reserved for phone calls, music players, and calendar information. Right now, the supported music players are Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, and others, and once again, the one that’s playing the tunes is the one showing up on the dashboard.

The experience overall is as intuitive as possible, so it takes just a few minutes to figure out what everything does.

Why is the dashboard such a great feature and why does Android Auto also need it? It all comes down to the reasons mentioned above.

The dashboard allows you to view multiple apps at the same time, so not only that it makes running a navigation app and the music player simultaneously more convenient, but it also contributes to reducing the distraction behind the wheel. This feature isn’t necessarily supposed to enhance the multitasking part of CarPlay, but to bring everything you use when driving on the same screen.

Since Google Maps and Waze have both been updated with dashboard support, I find myself using the apps in full screen only on rare occasions, simply because I can otherwise get all the information I need while also seeing the song that’s currently playing or view my next appointments without the need for additional input.

Android Auto, on the other hand, is trying to make jumping from one app to another more convenient with the help of the dynamic bar at the bottom of the screen, which shows info like navigation directions and music playback details when you’re in different apps. However, anything beyond a line of text requires tapping the screen and expanding the app, in which case this implementation clearly shows its limit.

Whether or not Google wants to bring something like a dashboard to Android Auto is something that remains to be seen, but for the time being, there’s no sign of such an update for users in the Android world.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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