An illustration of a car dashboard and an infotainment system to represent how you sync your smartphone to your car.
Illustration: Rodrigo Damati

Taking the time to truly integrate your smartphone with your car can make it faster, easier, and less distracting to access the information you need on the go. Just think: Instead of having to find your dentist’s address and then type it into your car’s navigation system, your car could already know your phone’s calendar, putting the directions to your appointment right at your fingertips.

Using smartphone apps in your car is particularly easy if your car came with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, systems that seam­lessly replicate some of your phone apps on your car’s infotainment screen. 

More on Car Tech

To get directions to that appointment with CarPlay, for example, you’d simply say, “Siri, where is my noon appointment?” Or you can manually tap the calendar icon on your CarPlay Dashboard, then tap on the appoint­ment, which will allow you to get directions or even to call to say you’re running late. (Of course, this works only if you add location and contact info to your appointments when you enter them on your phone.)

If your car doesn’t support CarPlay or Android Auto, you’ll probably need to download the companion app that works with your car’s infotainment system from the Apple or Google Play store. Look for an app that includes your vehicle brand name, such as myCadillac, FordPass, or Toyota Entune. Once the app is installed, connect your phone to the car to sync your data.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the February 2021 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.