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Three Android Auto Features Apple CarPlay Also Needs

There’s no doubt Apple’s CarPlay has improved a lot in the last 12 months or so, and it’s all because the Cupertino-based iPhone maker decided to remove some restrictions and provide third parties with access to more features.
Apple CarPlay on Honda Civic 3 photos
Android Auto dynamic barWeather information on Android Auto in the top right corner
If until recently Apple Maps was the only navigation app on CarPlay, drivers can now use Google Maps and Waze as well thanks to a layer-based approach that allows third-party apps to be rendered on the CarPlay screen.

And while new iOS updates bring even more capabilities to CarPlay, Apple still needs to further refine the experience that drivers get behind the wheel in several key areas. Some of these features are already available in Android Auto and could easily help Apple make CarPlay better moving forward.Weather widget
First of all, it’s the weather information on the screen. While Apple Maps itself displays weather info on the iPhone’s screen, Android Auto pushes the whole concept a step further.

The old version of Android Auto featured a weather widget right on the home screen. The new release, on the other hand, removes the weather widget but brings a weather icon and temperature indicator to the status bar at the top of the screen.

Many think such a feature would more or less be redundant since, after all, you can just look outside the window to check the weather. But what if you’re in a garage or underground parking? A small indicator really doesn’t eat up that much space on the screen and would definitely be a great addition to CarPlay.

Furthermore, given the multi-view screen, or the dashboard as some people call it, in CarPlay, Apple could just add a new weather widget to display not only the current temperature, but also the full forecast. Since Apple itself is a lot less restrictive these days, this could open the door to more weather apps on CarPlay, essentially expanding the app ecosystem specifically aimed at drivers connecting their iPhones to cars.

Popup media notifications

One feature that I truly miss after making the switch from Android Auto to CarPlay is the support for popup media notifications.

On Android Auto, whenever I used Spotify and a new song started playing, a banner showed up at the top of the screen to display basic info like artist and the name of the song.

On CarPlay, on the other hand, the only way to get such details is to open the media app itself, as notifications aren’t displayed when a new song starts. Popup notifications, however, already exist in CarPlay – for example, when someone sends you a text or WhatsApp message, a popup notification is displayed at the bottom of the screen, along with the app name; the content of the message isn’t displayed to prevent distractions.Dynamic bar
The dynamic bar is the most awesome addition to the new Android Auto experience, and there’s no doubt CarPlay needs such a thing as well.

The Android Auto update that went live the last summer replaced the static bar at the bottom with a dynamic version that adapts to whatever you’re doing on the screen, technically allowing you to perform certain things faster.

For example, if you’re running Google Maps with Spotify playing music in the background, the dynamic bar displays music playback controls, like play, pause, previous, and next. If you switch to Spotify on the full screen, the dynamic bar changes to Google Maps, displaying navigation information.

CarPlay has a dock on the left side of the screen, but this one only displays the app icons, the current time, and the connection signal. This is more or less similar to the original Android Auto approach, so switching to a dynamic concept would give drivers enhanced controls over the apps they run behind the wheel.


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