Can you download apps on Android car stereo?

An Android car stereo refers to an in-vehicle infotainment system that runs on the Android operating system. This allows you to access many of the same apps and services that you use on your Android smartphone or tablet, but through the larger display and interface built into your car’s dashboard.

Android car stereos provide smart connectivity and entertainment options right from your driver’s seat. Key capabilities include:

  • Hands-free calling and texting
  • Navigation and mapping apps like Google Maps
  • Seamless music streaming from apps like Spotify
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration
  • Voice control using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa
  • Customizable home screen and widgets

Overall, Android car stereos aim to mirror the experience of your smartphone on a larger in-car interface. This allows you to access many of the same apps and functions while keeping your eyes on the road.

Downloading Apps

To download apps onto an Android car stereo, you will need to use the Google Play Store app. The Play Store comes pre-installed on most Android head units, allowing you to browse, download, and install compatible apps directly on your car stereo.

To get started, launch the Play Store app on your car stereo’s display. You can then search or browse for apps just like on your smartphone. When you find an app you want, tap “Install” and the app will download directly to your head unit.

One tip is to search for “Android Auto” apps if your car is compatible. The Android Auto app allows you to connect your phone to access features like Google Maps, playlists, and voice commands hands-free through your car stereo.

The Play Store makes it simple to find and install new apps right on your Android head unit. Just be sure to only download apps optimized for the car to ensure proper performance and safety.

Compatible Apps

Many popular apps are compatible with Android auto head units and can be easily downloaded. Some of the most common compatible apps include:

  • Spotify – This popular music streaming app allows you to access playlists, podcasts, and more through your car’s stereo. Spotify offers a free ad-supported tier or a paid premium subscription for an ad-free experience. The app is optimized for in-car use with easy controls.
  • Google Maps/Waze – These navigation and traffic apps provide turn-by-turn directions, real-time route updates, speed limit warnings and more. Google Maps comes pre-installed on Android auto units while Waze offers crowdsourced traffic data.
  • Pandora – Pandora music streaming service offers customized stations based on your preferences. The app offers hands-free control and is designed for safety while driving.
  • Audible – With Audible, you can listen to audiobooks, podcasts and more through your car stereo. The app has playback features like variable speed control and bookmarks for easy in-car use.

There are many other great apps optimized for Android auto units like podcast players, fuel finders, news apps and more. Most popular apps have downloadable versions compatible with Android head units.

Navigation Apps

Navigation apps are one of the most useful categories of apps to download for Android car stereos. Being able to access directions and maps right on your car’s display allows for safe and convenient navigation while driving. Some of the most popular and recommended navigation apps for Android Auto include:

Google Maps is widely considered to be the best navigation app for Android Auto with its clean interface, real-time traffic info, lane guidance, and integration of other Google services like finding places and routes (Source). The app comes preinstalled with Android Auto making it a seamless experience.

Waze is another top option known for its crowdsourced traffic data, reporting of hazards and delays, and social features. Waze emphasizes navigation optimization and road awareness. The app has a more gamified, interactive feel (Source).

Overall, navigation apps allow drivers to get from point A to point B more safely and efficiently. With turn-by-turn directions, voice guidance, and real-time traffic updates readily available on the car stereo display, drivers can focus on the road ahead.

Music Apps

Android Auto’s seamless integration with music streaming apps makes it easy to access your favorite tunes on the go. Here are some of the top music apps available for Android Auto:

Spotify – The popular music streaming service is fully compatible with Android Auto. Spotify Premium subscribers can download playlists for offline listening. The Android Auto interface makes it easy to browse playlists, albums or podcasts in Spotify.

YouTube Music – Google’s music streaming app lets you access the vast music catalog on YouTube through Android Auto’s interface. You can play your personalized playlists, albums, songs and artist radios from YouTube Music. It also offers unlimited skips and ad-free listening with a paid subscription.

Amazon Music – Amazon Prime members get access to 2 million songs ad-free. The Android Auto version of the app makes Amazon’s music library easily accessible on your car’s display. You can play music based on your mood, activity or personalized playlists.

Pandora – The popular personalized internet radio service can play stations based on your favorite artists, songs or genres via Android Auto. Paid subscribers get features like unlimited skips, higher quality audio and offline listening support.

The seamless integration of these and other popular apps means you’ll always have the right soundtrack for your drive when using Android Auto.

Podcast Apps

Listening to podcasts in your car is a great way to pass the time during long commutes or road trips. Fortunately, Android car stereos allow you to download podcast apps and listen on-the-go. Here are some of the top podcast apps to consider:

Spotify – In addition to streaming music, Spotify also lets you browse, subscribe, and listen to thousands of different podcasts. You can download episodes to listen offline and it has auto-download features to keep new episodes ready in your queue.

Pocket Casts – This popular podcast app has a slick interface optimized for in-car listening. It offers personalized recommendations, cross-device syncing, and playback speed control. The paid version removes ads and unlocks extra features.

Google Podcasts – A simple, ad-free option from Google. Browse podcasts by category or search, subscribe with one tap, and easily download episodes to listen offline. It leverages your Google account to sync across devices.

Castbox – Discover over 100 million podcast episodes on Castbox. Features like Castbox Originals and curated categories make it easy to find new podcasts to enjoy. You can also create playlists and get smart recommendations based on your listening history.

So download one or more of these handy apps to start enjoying podcasts during your daily commutes and road trips!


One of the best things about Android Auto is the ability to customize the interface and shortcuts to match your preferences. According to Lifehacker, you can start customizing Android Auto even when you’re not driving. Open the Settings app on your Android phone, tap Connected Devices, then Connection Preferences. Here you can toggle features on and off, like automatically launching Android Auto when you connect your phone.

To customize the Android Auto display in your car, tap the app drawer icon in the bottom left corner to open the menu. Then tap Settings and select Display, according to SlashGear. This is where you can tweak settings for screen layout, font size, vehicle display, and more. You can even change the wallpaper. The split screen view is also customizable – tap the 3-line menu button and select Change Layout.

Custom shortcuts are another great Android Auto feature. You can rearrange apps or set custom shortcuts to favorite contacts and locations for quick access on the main screen. Take advantage of Android Auto’s flexibility to optimize the interface and shortcuts for your needs.


While Android Auto allows you to download and use a variety of apps on your car’s head unit, there are some limitations to be aware of. According to TomTom user forums, route planning capabilities in navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze are restricted, making it difficult to plan longer road trips with multiple stops [1]. You cannot build an itinerary or add multiple destinations when using Android Auto navigation.

There are also complaints about the limited number of supported messaging and audio apps. Options like WhatsApp, Slack, Audible, and Spotify are not available, restricting you to default apps like Google Messages and Play Music [2]. This can be an annoyance if you rely on specific apps that are not yet compatible with Android Auto.

In general, while you have access to media, messaging, and navigation apps, the functionality can be more basic compared to using them directly on your Android device. Advanced features may be missing until the app developers optimize their apps for the Android Auto platform.


If you’re having issues downloading or using apps on your Android auto stereo, here are some troubleshooting tips:

First, check to make sure your Android phone and the car stereo are fully compatible with Android Auto. You can refer to the official Android Auto website to verify compatibility. Older phones or car systems may have limited support.

Try restarting both your phone and the car stereo. This can help clear any software glitches that are preventing Android Auto from working properly. Unplug your phone, turn off the car stereo, wait a few minutes and restart both devices.

Check that the USB cable you’re using is a high-quality cable. Some cheaper cables can cause connection issues. Use the cable that came with your phone if possible.

Make sure the Android Auto app is updated to the latest version on your phone. Bug fixes in app updates often resolve problems.

Within the Android Auto app, go to Settings > Apps and clear the app data and cache. Then force stop the app and restart it to refresh the software.

Factory reset the car stereo if available. Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions. This will erase any software bugs and allow you to reconnect to Android Auto.

As a last resort, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the Android Auto app on your phone if no other troubleshooting tips work.


In summary, being able to download and use apps on an Android car stereo system can provide many benefits for drivers. Navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze give turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic alerts, allowing for easier and quicker travel. Music apps like Spotify provide access to millions of songs and podcasts to make any drive more enjoyable. Messaging apps allow you to dictate text messages hands-free so you can stay focused on the road. Customization apps let you personalize your stereo’s interface and features. While there are some limitations depending on your stereo model and Android version, overall adding apps enhances the experience and functionality of your Android car stereo.

The ability to utilize apps for navigation, entertainment, communication and customization directly on an Android car stereo system allows drivers to access many useful features safely and conveniently. With thoughtful selection of optimized apps, drivers can create a productive and enjoyable in-vehicle environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *