As in-car systems have progressed, manufacturers have found new ways to transfer what we’re used to seeing on our phones onto a car’s screen. This is done through smartphone mirroring - or, essentially, relaying what is on your phone onto the car’s display.

But why is smartphone mirroring technology useful and what can it be used for? Find out below.

So what is smartphone mirroring?

Like we mentioned, smartphone mirroring is a way of viewing what you see on your phone’s display on the car’s main screen. This is often done by connecting your phone to the car’s system via a USB cable, though newer versions can do this wirelessly too.

Can I use all of my phone’s functions in the car?

Not all of them, but the vast majority of your phone’s applications can be used when mirroring. Aspects such as the main phone and messaging can be controlled either via touchscreen or voice control, while third-party apps such as Whatsapp and Spotify can also be used through the display.

Most of these will require an internet connection via your smartphone, so you need to make sure you have a data plan large enough to cope with streaming music over longer journeys.

Android Auto screenshot

What happens when I connect my phone to the system?

It’s quite simple. If you’re using a wired connection, then the system will automatically detect that a phone has been connected. From there, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto will automatically launch and confirm that you’re happy to use it.

You may notice that your phone’s screen will change over to a car mode, while apps like Google Maps will change to reflect the fact that they’re being displayed on the car screen instead.

Who provides these services?

The two major providers are Apple and Android. These are in the form of CarPlay for Apple and Auto for Android, meaning that there’s a service for the two major smartphone systems.

A lot of Apple CarPlay systems are now offering wireless connections, while Android Auto has yet to catch up with the majority of cars with this system requiring a wired connection instead.

Am I allowed to use these services while I’m moving?

Of course. Since they’re properly integrated into the car’s system, you’re able to use them on the move. Plus, both incorporate voice recognition technology, so you can perform various functions - such as entering a destination into the satellite navigation - just by speaking.

You still won’t legally be able to use your phone on the move just as always - it’ll need to be stowed away safely, but can remain connected to the car’s USB port.

Are Apple CarPlay and Android Free?

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come pre-installed on many new vehicles, so you won’t need to pay any extra in order to access them. You can always ask a dealer or seller if it’s installed beforehand, or check in the car’s display for the relevant icons.

Apple carplay activation screen



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