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Our Favorite IoT Automotive Apps and Features at Blue Label Labs

By Brian Hall on December 29, 2020

We spend a lot of time in our cars and we spend even more time with our phones. With both of these things being true, it only makes sense automotive app development is really taking off.

This isn’t to say that apps for your car are a new thing – they have been around for a while. With that said, they have come a long way in the last few years. Early car app design was mostly limited to apps that worked alongside your car instead of connecting with the car. After that, you had car apps that could connect through USB.

Now that Bluetooth is a common feature in cars, we are seeing more apps that can connect wirelessly to an automobile. This is not only more convenient, but it also makes for a better connected experience.

With Bluetooth bringing the best of IoT to automobiles, we would like to look at some of the best automotive apps available today.

CarPlay

You can’t talk about automotive apps without mentioning Apple’s CarPlay. It is a standard for iPhones and it makes it possible for users to connect their phones to their car. This allows for features like making the in-car display a display/touchscreen for your phone and it also connects a range of features like your navigation system, music, voice controls and more. It can also make it easier and safer to do things like take phone calls and send messages when you are driving. 

This is an app that has been around for some time. As long as the car supports CarPlay, the app can connect and there may even be built-in controls that connect with the phone. Depending on your car, you can connect through the USB port in the car or use Bluetooth to connect. One new feature that is rolling out with some 2021 model-year cars is the ability to unlock your car from your phone.

Android Auto

While you can’t get CarPlay on Android, the Android Auto app is a nice alternative that offers many of the same features. Just like CarPlay, this app makes it possible to connect your phone to your car. Your apps will appear on the display in the cabin and you can unlock a range of helpful automotive features. The app is great for Google Maps, it can be used with various entertainment services and you can also use Google Assistant and make phone calls. 

Most users will have to use a USB cord to connect Android Auto to their car but this is changing. The app will support wireless connectivity starting with Android 11. It also works with a great assortment of entertainment apps, so it is the best option if you are looking to connect a wide assortment of music, podcast, radio and audiobook apps to your car speakers.

Spotify

If you are just looking to connect music to your car, Spotify offers one of the best experiences. Spotify is considered to be the best music/audio entertainment app available and it can connect to cars easily. Of course, you can use Spotify through apps like Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto, but the app comes with the ability to connect to car stereo systems on its own. 

Depending on your car, you can connect to Spotify using a USB cable or through Bluetooth. If your car doesn’t support these options, there is always the possibility to connect through an auxiliary audio jack. With that said, Bluetooth does offer the best experience and it supports the Spotify Car View feature.

Toque Pro

This is an app for troubleshooting issues with your car. It will be more useful for people who do much of their own repair work, but it can also help your average person. This app does connect over Bluetooth, but you will need to buy and install an OBD II Bluetooth adaptor. Once you have the adaptor installed, the app can easily connect to the car and it will provide a range of useful diagnostic and performance data.

One thing it can do is read the fault codes for things like the check engine light. Beyond that, it can provide information for things like transmission temperature, 0-60 speed, CO2 emissions and more. It can even connect with phone utilities like the GPS and compass to offer a broader range of features than your average OBD II scanner.

Manufacturer Apps

Finally, we recommended downloading the app from your car’s manufacturer if it is compatible with your model. If you are looking for apps for your car, you will find few that are as useful as the one developed by the manufacturer. Many brands already have their own app, and the ones that don’t will probably be releasing one before too long.

These manufacturer apps can do a lot for a car owner. Depending on the app, it might have convenience features like remote starting and wireless unlocking. Many of these apps will also offer features for troubleshooting and diagnostics. They are also great for helping a car owner stay current on maintenance work. The app can track when you need to do things like change the oil or have your tires rotated.

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