Our smartphones go almost everywhere with us, and they can be connected to our televisions, computers, and other household gadgets. That’s why it is no surprise that you can connect your smartphone to your car using platforms like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Considering that in the global market, Android has an estimated 86.2% of the mobile operating system market, compared to just under 14% for Apple’s iOS. This means that Android Auto generally serves as a more ubiquitous option than Apple CarPlay.
However, your car may not necessarily support Android Auto via its infotainment system as an Android user. While over 500 models support this platform, you may not have one of them. However, depending on your car model, you can get an Android head unit installed to get Android functionality out of it.
These head units run entirely on Android, just like a phone, but sometimes you want to connect your phone to it and use Android Auto how you usually would. In these cases, you need to learn how to install Android Auto on Android head unit so that you connect your phone to it. Worry not. This article will show you how to do that.
Do you have a particular question about installing Android Auto on Android Head unit? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
Benefits of Android Auto head units
You can get many advantages when you choose an Android head unit in your car, as opposed to the kind that runs Android Auto itself or any other OEM stereo.
Here are just some of them listed below:
- There is no limitation on the apps that can be downloaded. Unlike Android Auto, which blocks certain apps from being used for safety purposes, an Android head unit is just like a standalone smartphone, so it can technically support most apps.
- You get GPS navigation options. While modern infotainment systems come with sat nav functionality, the advantage to using a head unit running Android is that you can choose from multiple options like Google Maps or Waze. You can also sync the maps in your car to those on your Android device.
- One app many people wish to access in their car is YouTube. With Android Auto, YouTube is blocked for safety purposes. This prevents people from driving and watching, but it is inconvenient for those who want to watch while parked and enjoying a meal. Fortunately, you can watch YouTube without restrictions with these kinds of head units.
- Access to internet browsers. It certainly isn’t a comfortable experience to browse from the head unit in your vehicle, so Android Auto blocks this entirely. But what if you want to do that anyway? Get one of the head units that run Android, because there’s no reason why you can’t!
Types of Android Auto head units
There are three different kinds of Android Auto head units, and it is crucial to understand the differences between them to ensure that you buy the right kind.
- The simplest of these head units is the kind that runs exclusively on Android Auto. This means it comes with all the restrictions Android Auto has in cars that have it built in. Certain apps can’t be used, some things can’t be utilized when driving, and more restrictions.
- Of course, head units also run on Android the same way your phone or tablet does. With these, there are fewer restrictions, and this is the best choice if you want close to the full Android experience in your car.
- Finally, there are head units you can get that support both Apple CarPlay and Android. This means they are similar to the above kind of head unit, but they have more versatility. Of course, this comes with a higher price tag.
How to install Android Auto on Android head unit?
Suppose you want to install Android Auto on Android head unit. In that case, the steps are much simpler than you must imagine. Of course, among the types of head units mentioned above, these steps apply to the second one. We are trying to install Android Auto on it, but not in the same way we do on our phones, so the steps are very different.
- From the Android head unit in your car, install Headunit Reloaded from the Google Play Store. It’s a paid app, but it is worth it. You can also opt for the Android Auto APK for head unit through this link if you want to use the trial version to test things.
- Now, next is to install Android Auto on your Android phone. If your device runs Android 10 or higher, it comes pre-installed. Otherwise, install it from the Google Play Store.
- You will need to connect your phone to the head unit to check if Android Auto on Android head unit is working. Connect it with a USB cable.
- Accept any prompts on the head unit as Headunit Reloaded opens automatically. If it doesn’t, you can open the app manually, select “USB,” and then the connected phone. That’s all!
Tips for activating Android Auto in the Chinese head unit
If you have an Android head unit from a Chinese company like Joying, you might wonder whether you need to jump through any hoops to get Android Auto on it.
I’m glad to tell you that with an Android Auto Joying unit, you must follow the same steps as above to get Android Auto running on them like in other cars.
Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.
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