Auto Tech

Watch Android Auto and Apple CarPlay slug it out in a Mazda CX-9

YouTubers "The Straight Pipes" sit down to find out which platform is better now that Apple CarPlay supports Google Maps.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

People love to duke it out over the various merits of Apple CarPlay versus Android Auto. For a long time, Android had a big edge in that users could use Google Maps navigation while Apple users were stuck with Apple Maps. Now, with iOS 12, that playing field is a little more even, so how do they stack up?

A couple of our favorite Canadian YouTubers decided to find out which was better, once and for all (or at least until the next major software update), so they grabbed a new Mazda CX-9 and started plugging in USB cables.

What they found out was interesting, but some of the competition was skewed by the way Mazda has chosen to integrate Android Auto. For some reason, Mazda didn't enable touchscreen use with Android Auto but did with Apple CarPlay, so this leaves Android users to muck around with the scroll wheel.

A major downside for Apple that we see in the video is that while you can now use Google Maps through CarPlay, you can't ask Siri to give you directions with it. It always defaults to Apple Maps -- even if you've deleted it from your phone. While we understand that Apple has spent a lot of money on development for its Maps program, we wish it would give users the option to select their own default mapping program.

In the end, the two systems seem evenly matched in most respects, but the area where Apple still seems to be in the lead is in the number of vehicles that support the CarPlay platform versus vehicles that support Android Auto. As The Straight Pipes point out, if you have an Android phone and you own a Porsche or a BMW, you're out of luck for now.