Red haired man looking inside a Volkswagen T-Cross at the Apple CarPlay connectivity.

An Introduction to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have taken New Zealand vehicles by storm. Years ago, our cars were simply mode of transportation – now they’re moving offices, mini concert halls, and personal assistants. Providing the ultimate connectivity at our fingertips, more vehicles are now coming standard with these capabilities, making it easier than ever to stay connected and safe while on the road. 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow us to safely access our phone’s features while remaining alert and attentive to the road. How? By projecting our phone’s face onto the digital touchscreen of our vehicles, usually through a USB connection.

The systems have both been refined over the years, making them easier than ever to use and allowing more apps to connect, keeping all your vital information easily accessible while you safely drive.

How does it work?

Apple CarPlay is easy, simply plug your iPhone into your vehicle’s USB cable and your phone will be mirrored on the vehicle’s touchscreen.

If you have an Android 10 operating system or higher, Android Auto is the same. Just plugin and get going. Navigation, calls and messages, home screen, music, and audio all feature on Android Auto. If you have Android 9 or below, download the Android Auto app on your phone and connect your USB cable to your vehicle.

Verbalising your needs is encouraged for both systems. A simple “Hey Siri!” gets Apple CarPlay’s attention. You’ll have to activate Android Auto manually or with a “Hey Google!” where Google Assistant is applicable.

Only apps that have been approved as safe to operate while driving will work, though the list is long. Phone, music, maps, messages, podcasts, and audio are all available on Apple CarPlay and similar on Android Auto.

Entertainment

Want to play your favourite song on repeat 100 times? No problem. With voice activation, all you have to do is ask. You can also seamlessly flip through albums, songs, podcasts, and more. Many popular music streaming and storage apps are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Your road trip just got way better.

Navigation

Access your favourite navigation apps with the touch of a button, or by activating your “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google”. CarPlay goes a step further with its smart features, predicting your desired location based on addresses in your email, text messages, contacts, and calendars.  

SKODA display screen with Apple CarPlay navigation connectivity displayed.

But Don’t I Need Satellite Navigation, too?

Nope, not with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The satellite navigation’s software in your vehicle isn’t updated as frequently as navigation apps like Google Maps or Waze, so you may miss road construction updates, crucial turns, and more. Plus, with phone-based apps, you’ll get traffic updates, points of interest, and more. It’s easier to customise the apps to suit your needs as well, such as swapping out kilometres for miles, if that tickles your fancy.

Not to mention, these apps can easily recognise points of interest, like petrol stations and cafes, in times of need. You’ll never be fumbling around looking for a petrol station as the gauge slips closer to empty again! These smart apps also automatically connect to your email, calendar, and more, so finding addresses for appointments is a breeze.

Your vehicle’s built-in satellite navigation system is clever, but comes with its limitations, making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto a welcome perk.

Smart phone connected to SKODA touchscreen display.

Phone Book/Address Book/Audio Options

Make phone calls, listen to voicemail and text messages aloud, and answer texts all while keeping two hands on the wheel. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can read text messages out to you, and you can respond with a simple message, like “Siri/Google, tell Christopher I’m just around the corner.” Done.

Organise Your Life

The calendar app allows you to quickly view your day, keeping you on track. If you’re on your way to a meeting, tap the event to get direction to the location. If the meeting is on phone, just tap to dial in.

Touchscreen display for Smartlink on display.

I’m Hooked. What Vehicles Come With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

You’re in luck. Volkswagen and ŠKODA have strived to provide these desirable features in their base models, so you have plenty of choices.

ŠKODA Vehicles with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto*

  • 2016 – 2020 Fabia
  • 2020 Kamiq
  • 2017 – 2020 Karoq
  • 2017 – 2020 Kodiaq
  • 2016 – 2020 Octavia
  • 2016 – 2020 Rapid
  • 2020 Scala
  • 2016 – 2020 Superb
  • 2016 – 2017 Yeti

Volkswagen Vehicles with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto*

  • 2016 – 2020 Amarok
  • 2018 – 2020 Arteon
  • 2016 – 2020 Caddy
  • 2016 – 2020 California
  • 2017 – 2020 Crafter
  • 2016 – 2020 e-Golf
  • 2016 – 2020 Golf
  • 2016 – 2020 Passat
  • 2016 – 2020 Polo
  • 2020 T-Cross
  • 2018 – 2020 T-Roc
  • 2020 Tiguan Allspace
  • 2016 – 2020 Tiguan
  • 2020 Touareg

Ready to experience connectivity at your fingertips? Get in touch with our team to learn more today.

*Please note that some base models do not come standard with this feature, and there may be discrepancies with the dates. Please speak with our team to learn if you’re desired model features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Young man and woman leaning on a turquoise Volkswagen T-Cross SUV looking at their phone.
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Please note that imagery and specifications may be of overseas vehicles and include optional extras.