What apps can I use on Android Auto? The 5 best apps for Google's in-car system

The 5 best Android Auto apps taken from a much larger list

Android Auto
(Image credit: Google)

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 there's a total of 260. Yes, indeed: two hundred and sixty to pick from, plus others that we suspect aren't in that list or can be unofficially side-loaded. 

But you don't want to trawl through the masses to find the top picks, so we'll help you by selecting the best Android Auto apps to use with Google's in-car system. As Google Maps is installed by default for navigation we'll skip that one – but as you'll see from our list there are alternatives anyway. 

1. Spotify

Android Auto is great for music, so it's a perfect match for Spotify. (If you subscribe to another service, however, then you can fill in as preferred here: Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer and others all have native apps, but even Apple Music and Tidal will be able to send sound to your in-car system).

Great integration of album artwork, mapped controls for volume, voice selection courtesy of Google Assistant, and a stack of great tunes to play from download or via livestream make Spotify a great Android Auto companion. It's often on our display instead of navigation. 

2. Waze

While Google Maps is the default option in Android Auto, it's not the only navigation tool at your disposal. Waze is a great free-to-download system that many people prefer for its visuals and accuracy over Google's own model. 

That it's free makes it a great alternative, too, as there are pay-for alternatives such as Tom Tom (from £/$€1.99 per month) should that be your preference. But we think Waze's traffic and accident updates and rerouting will deliver the business for most people. 

3. WhatsApp 

Again, this one will depend on your messenging system of choice: Android Auto supports WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook Messenger, so you can choose your preferred or, well, use the whole lot if that suits you best.

WhatsApp is our go-to messenging app, though, and it integrated into Android Auto nicely: you can have message alerts pop-up on the screen, trigger them to be read out if you wish, even use Google Assistant to speak a reply back, as if having a conversation. It's really handy in some situations. 

4. Audible

Android Auto doesn't just play nice with music services such as Spotify, it's also a dab hand in delivering 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 get stuck on the road a lot too, then Audible for Android Auto is an ideal solution. There are original shows, book reads, and podcasts aplenty. It's a subscription service, but it'll be worth it if you're putting in lots of Tarmac hours. 

5. Zap Map

Okay, so this one is situational: you'll only want Zap Map if you have an electric car and intend to cover some pretty considerable distances. It's probably not going to be much use if you drive a Tesla, but anything else it'll have its worth. 

You'll need a premium subscription for Zap Map to be able to integrate with Android Auto, but paying the fee (£/$3.99 per month) will deliver 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 point of view you can't do any better than downloading BBC Sounds, which compiles the previous four weeks of all BBC's radio programming. That's a lot of potential content to tap into. 

You can favourite and download various shows to get them cued up to listen back to, which is great as there's a lot of BBC programming that plays in the small hours rather than mainstream day. So if you're keen on your underground rock or bass music, these late-night shows can be accessible for you to blast out during the day using Android Auto. Smashing!

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.