What is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay?
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay provide a similar function in projecting certain phone apps onto an integrated display within a vehicle. Think of it similarly to casting a YouTube video from a phone to a television.
This means that apps like Waze, Google Maps, Pandora and IHeartRadio can now be displayed on the car console touchscreen. All interfacing can be done using the touchscreen. Just plug in the phone and after a few seconds, start to use the touchscreen just like you would on the phone.
Only a fraction of the apps are supported by these features but it’s the ones that are popular in a car.
I find the app performance to be acceptable. Usually.
There are times where I find Waze map rendering to be slow and not updated as rapidly versus running on the phone. This normally isn’t an issue except when driving in a city environment and needing to make turns close together. In those cases, I revert to using the phone.
I have also noticed certain apps to not be fully functional. This could be unique to my configuration or even car manufacturer as I have read others using the same apps without a problem using a different phone or vehicle.
Where to Put the Phone
Now if it turns out that Android Auto or Apply CarPlay isn’t cutting it for you then a car mount is still going to be needed. Our site has plenty of articles on this topic. A good place to start is our article on choosing the right mobile phone mount.
If Android Auto or Apply CarPlay is all you need, a lot of people will choose to simply leave their phone in a spare cup holder or some have a tray built in to hold larger stuff (like your phone). Even better, vehicle are now equipping many vehicles with wireless charging capabilities by placing the phone in a tray with Qi technology integrated into the bottom.
If you prefer not to put it into the tray or don’t have a spare cup holder, the vent is a good place to mount it. The middle vents are likely close to the USB outlet and the phone can be referred to easily as most air vents are near eye level. Our favorite vent mount is profiled in our review of the Square Jellyfish Vent Mount for Phones.
So is a car mount still needed if using Apply CarPlay or Android Auto? Probably not. Assuming most are comfortable with the spare cup holder or have a big tray that’s near the USB port (assuming that’s required), a mount isn’t necessary. However for compact cars and those that are using the cup holders, a mount still makes sense.