Android Auto & Apple CarPlay On My 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited

Now that I’ve updated my 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited to support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, I figured that I would give both a walk-through to give you an idea of what the big deal is about these car based infotainment systems.

Let me start off by saying this: After you’ve used either system for any length of time, you’ll come to this conclusion. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are Godsends as automakers don’t do a good of job at making good in car infotainment systems. This is backed up by a study by Nielsen and SBD Consultancy which found that the infotainment systems in new cars to be the biggest cause of customer complaints.

Here’s an example of what I mean. If I want to navigate to an address using the built in system provided by Hyundai (but I should note, most cars brands that I’ve reviewed aren’t much different), this is what I have to do:

  1. Press the voice command button and wait for the system to say “Say a command”
  2. I reply with “navigation”
  3. I then wait for the system to ask for the state that I want to navigate to.
  4. I reply with “Ontario” as provinces and states are the same thing to this system.
  5. I then wait for the system to ask me for the address.
  6. I reply with the address.

After all that I hope that the system got everything right. If it did, I have to issue a couple more voice commands confirming the address and to start navigation. If not, I’m starting all over. That’s very frustrating and is likely to take your attention away from driving. Which of course is not good.

By contrast, this is what you do with Siri which is part of Apple CarPlay:

“Siri, navigate me to 123 Main St. in Toronto.”

Or this is what you do in Google Now which is part of Android Auto:

“Navigate to 123 Main St. in Toronto.” 

Both of those are far more natural and so much more civilized in my opinion.

On top of the voice commands, the user interfaces use smartphone like metaphors. That means users who are already familiar with their phones will have no trouble coming up to speed in terms of using their cars. I say that because I spend a lot of time and unfortunately make a lot of money showing people how to use the infotainment systems in their cars. I say unfortunately because if you need someone like me to show you how to use the infotainment system in your car, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with the universe. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will change that for the better. As an example of this, I had a client who had a luxury car that had an infotainment system supplied by the manufacturer. I spent two or three hours trying to get her up to speed with limited success because she was never really comfortable with it and it was very confusing to her. She recently got a new car with Apple CarPlay and after one 10 minute tutorial (which by the way I didn’t charge her for) she was an expert at navigation, or reading and sending text messages, or playing music from her phone, or whatever else she needed to do. That’s because she’s been using an iPhone for years which makes learning and using Apple CarPlay a snap. If she were an Android user, I am certain that using Android Auto would be the same.

Now what’s really cool about both systems from a technical standpoint is that they basically project what is on your phone onto the infotainment system, rather than have the infotainment system drive everything. The advantage of that is that both Google and Apple can make changes in their respective OSes or apps that drive these systems without forcing you to update the software in your car. Plus because the phone is running things, navigation through the user interface of each system is fluid and what you would expect from a phone. It also likely means that you never have to pay your car manufacturer for an update ever again. Given that you also get up to date maps for the navigation parts of these systems via your phone (assuming that you spend the bucks on the data charges as maps are pulled via your cellular connection to your phone) which used to be a motivating factor to get updates to your infotainment system, I am sure that this is something that sends chills down the spines of car company execs as this will cut off a significant revenue stream for them.

One thing that I will not do in this article is to say which system is better. There’s simply no point in doing so as you really have no choice in terms of what you use depending on what phone you have. If you’re an iOS user, you’re using Apple CarPlay. If you’re using Android, you’re using Android Auto. It’s not like you can switch from one system to the other as you would have to switch phone OSes to do so which is far from a pain free process. And if you have neither phone OS (BlackBerry or Windows Phone for example), the discussion is moot unless you switch to iOS or Android.

Finally, while I am demonstrating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in my 2016 Tucson, the experience that I will show you and discuss with you is going to be largely if not entirely the same regardless of what brand of car you have.

Apple CarPlay

From 1 Infinite Loop in The Valley comes CarPlay from Apple. It promises to be “a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car.” All you have to do is plug in your iPhone (running iOS 7.1 or higher) into the USB port in your car (which by the way, disables any Bluetooth connection between the car and the phone that might have been present) and the infotainment system displays giant icons that you’re already familiar with such as Music, Maps, and Messages. This simple interface allows one to quickly become accustomed to CarPlay quickly and gives you easy to hit targets if you have to glance and then poke at them while driving. Now some of you out there will likely be asking why you have to plug your phone in via USB when the iOS operating system supports a function called wireless CarPlay. The answer is that not one car company supports wireless CarPlay at this time, and Apple might have something to do with that. According to Car and Driver, Volkswagen built a compatible car and planned to demo wireless CarPlay at CES earlier this year. But someone from 1 Infinite Loop phoned someone in Germany and the demo got deep sixed. Thus who knows when this functionality will appear. There’s only a small handful of apps that support CarPlay beyond the stock apps on your iPhone. Finding them is a bit of a challenge, but Apple has highlighted most of them on their CarPlay Page. But if you’re looking to use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp in your car, you’re out of luck. You can control Apple CarPlay via voice, touch, or a knob on the infotainment system or steering wheel. Plus it knows when the car is in park or drive from a transmission perspective so that it can limit or give you access to certain functions.

Here’s a video demo of CarPlay in action:

Google Android Auto

From Mountain View California comes Android Auto from Google which they claim “was designed with safety in mind.” Once you install the Android Auto app on your Android smartphone and plug in your Android smartphone (running Android 5.0 AKA “Lollipop”) into the USB port of your car (though WiFi support is coming in Android 6…. Which is great if you have WiFi in your car), you get a user interface that includes larger touch targets, bigger text designed to be glanced at, a focus on voice commands. This interface is a bit of a departure from the Android interface on your phone, but users will have no problems adapting to it as it has cues like a status bar at the top of the screen and a navigation bar which are straight out of the Android OS. You can navigate via voice, touch, or the sort of controls that you find on steering wheels and on infotainment systems. Of note, Android Auto has access to some or all of the cars sensors which means that the potential exists to do a lot more with Android Auto. You can install third-party apps for Media and Messages, but that is all you are allowed to install. Not only that, app developers cannot even make their own UIs for those apps. They can only plug in to Google’s built-in Music or Message interface. So while you can interact with the apps that you want to, mostly, you will have to use a different user interface to do so.

Here’s a video demo of Android Auto in action:

If you’re in the market for a car today, I would strongly recommend looking for a car that has both Android Auto or Apple CarPlay as it will make using the infotainment system much easier as you. Based on the feedback that I get on this blog, manufacturers who are asleep at the switch on this front may have to get with the program as consumers really want this functionality in their cars. Both Apple and Google have lists of cars that come with either system.

Now if you already own a car, you might be able to upgrade to get this functionality as companies like Ford have made upgrades to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available to millions of their owners for free. I’d contact your dealer to see if that’s possible with your car. Since I demoed this in a 2016 Hyundai Tucson, I should cover how to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in that vehicle as neither system is presently not available as a stock or optional feature from the factory in that vehicle or many other Hyundai vehicles. American Hyundai owners can go to My Hyundai and log into to download the Android Auto/Apple CarPlay update. There’s no charge and the update is user installable. In the case of Canadian Hyundai owners, Hyundai Canada as I’ve written on several occasions doesn’t have this update available at present, never mind for free, and it may never come. However, if you’re willing to pay $235 USD for it, MnSOFT which is the infotainment division of Hyundai will sell you the update on an SD card that is user installable.

One last note, the videos that are part of this article were filmed using the Sony Xperia X Performance smartphone. I will be reviewing this phone in a few weeks so please watch for that review.

UPDATE: I got a tip that version 10.5 of the update software that MnSOFT will bring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to more Hyundai vehicles. I know that the Santa Fe is on the list and I am working to get a complete list of vehicles at this time. Version 10.5 is due to be released later this year.

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33 Responses to “Android Auto & Apple CarPlay On My 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited”

  1. Scott Gregory Says:

    Thanks for showing Carplay on your Tucson. I purchased a 2016 Tucson two weeks ago and while the dealer said they have had meetings on the issue and it “may” be coming, I’m not pleased that its taking so long when the software is already out there. I called customer service at Hyundai Canada and got a lame response and then posted on the question on their Canadian Facebook site and actually got a response as well that they are working on it but it may be retroactive. Just a standard response again and I believe they have a terrible optics problem going on right now that they need to handle in a much more customer friendly manner.

    • I have to agree with you that Hyundai Canada has a really bad optics and PR problem on its hands when it comes to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its vehicles. Based on the response that I’m getting from this article via e-mail and on various Hyundai enthusiast boards, I might have inadvertently cranked up the pressure on them as the majority of those on those want this in their cars via a free software update just like the folks in the US.

  2. badboyzen Says:

    Thank you for your post here. I had recently purchased a 2017 Santa Fe Sport in Canada and was disappointed to find that Apple CarPlay is not present. After reading your last post, I went to the MnSoft website to find the latest version of the software for my car:

    http://www.hyundai-gpsmap.ca/map-updates/2017-hyundai-santa-fe-sport-map-update-103s58.html

    The subtext below the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features seems to imply that the features are available only for the 16-17 Elantra and Tucson, even with the v10 of the software.

    But my car, which I believe has the v9.5 preinstalled, already has Android Auto. If we follow the above logic, it would mean that by installing v10, I would lose the Android Auto feature which would make no sense. Otherwise, if the implications are invalid, then it would mean that installing v10 would allow my Santa Fe to have CarPlay. I am currently getting MnSoft customer support to confirm that.

    I am also pursuing the car dealership to pay for this software upgrade should i confirm that it would get me CarPlay. Not all will agree with me, but I believe there is no reason why I have to pay extra to get a software update on a car that i just bought brand new. It’s like buying the latest and greatest laptop, only to have to pay a chunk of money immediately in order to upgrade to Windows 10; it makes no sense in this day and age. Especially when my car sales EXPLICITLY told me that CarPlay is a supported feature before i bought the car. The “false” information contributed to me walking away from the KIA Sportage (which has CarPlay from get-go).

    I’ll give an update as I get more info, and hopefully this will help other Santa Fe owners.

    • I just bought the 2017 Santa Fe Sport as well. No Apple CarPlay, although my dealership did tell me not included. I would be interested in hearing how it works out for you. I will likely wait for the 10.5 version to come out that shows will work on the Santa Fe and then purchase, although I hate to have to do so.

      • I think we Hyundai owners who have just purchased Tucson and Santa Fe models should be pushing the dealership to put pressure on Hyundai Canada as well.

  3. I just updated my system with Android Auto and Car Play. When I plug in my Samsung S4 with software version 5.0.1 I get the message “Phone is not responding”. As anyone come across this issue?

    Roger

  4. I figured out what the issue. I accessed the developer mode of the phone and disabled it, now my phone works with Android Auto.

  5. Scott Giesbrecht Says:

    Am I reading this correctly and in update 10.5 android auto will be available via the update method posted above? If so how do we know what models are getting android auto update? I guess I really want to know if I purchase 10.5 will I get android auto on my 2016 Sonata sport tech?

  6. so looks like v10.5 is here!!

    I’m getting impatient and eager of course…

    i will get this soon and test it out

    2016 Tucson Limited owner

  7. Since Apple CarPlay is supported on US 2017 Santa Fe (long body) can I download and install on my CAN model?

  8. I asked yesterday about 2017 Santa fe XL update and here is an answer from Hyundai Canada
    Thank you for your email on Apple Car Play with Hyundai vehicles.

    Hyundai Auto Canada does not have control over what programs are included in the Navigation updates on Canadian vehicles. At present we are aware that the 2016-2017 Elantra GT and Tucson which have onboard Navigation can obtain Apple Car Play and Google Android through the purchase of most current map/software update.

    The only vehicle at this time that has factory installed Apple Car Play is the 2017 Tucson.

    Please also note that Apple Car Play will be available for retrofit on 2017 vehicles which originally came with Google Android and have 7” or 8” screens in early 2017. The download will be available on this website (http://www.hyundaicanada.com/pages/Apple-Car-Play/index.aspx) for free.

    Best regards,

    Lina

  9. tucson_owner_TO Says:

    Could anyone in Canada tell me what their 2016 Tucson nav screen shows after V10.5 upgrade for;
    Software version + Map Version?
    Thanks!

    • I’ll send you mine tonight… i just did last night.

      everything works wonders, only thing is too bad GMaps doesnt show up … but of course thats Apple Carplay

      • tucson_owner_TO Says:

        That would be great – really appreciate it! Too bad about the Apple Carplay, I would be pretty frustrated. Luckily I’ve got Android (for now).

      • yeh totally forgot last night – i’ll try to remember again tonight

      • @tucson_owner_TO

        okay… here is my image… which does not correspond with the currrent Map Ver (update to date : NA.09.47.46.433) mentioned in MNSOFT.

        Interestingly my update button as you can see in my image is still there. Should i do it again? like, my Apple carplay works!

        I’m contacting support as i’m typing this.

        πŸ™‚

      • Okay, as long your MAP ver starts with the NAM.09.47.xx.xx.xxx – that itself indicates you are on the new 10.5v.

        Just got off the phone with MNSOFT support.

        Cheers

      • Hello. Do you notice any changes in the behavior of the stock nav system or CarPlay?

      • Going to be honest, i cant answer that now since i dont drive as often ha. I’m a GO Trainer mon-fri. I’ll be driving more during the weekends (and i’m off tomrrow), i’ll try it out for sure.

        probably going to be playing with applecar play (since i’m an iOS user), and see how the builtin apple maps is any good.

        TBH, being able to see traffic is already worth my money. how else any GPS application is suppose to map out your route? We drive in Toronto – and the weekends, we need traffic updates!

        πŸ™‚

      • tucson_owner_TO Says:

        @Shaun William Chan : Thanks for doing this! Let me know what the support team says and if it changed the numbers (Assuming they tell you to click update again). My Tucson radio is being swapped out and service is asking me for these numbers, however, the screen is blank. Figured if I can tell them the numbers for the most recent updated map, I can get the newest version available out there instead of the old v9. Appreciate all of your help!

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