Saturday, December 2, 2023

Is it safe to use CarPlay or Android Auto in a carsharing, rental, or other car?

Thanks to CarPlay and Android Auto you can make your car make your trip more bearable. Through the vehicle’s integrated screen you can see directions on the map, listen to music or podcasts, know what tasks or meetings you have for today and a thousand other things. Plus, it’s relatively easy to connect your phone to the car. Whether it is compatible as standard or if it is a screen installed by you. But, What happens when you travel in a foreign or rented car? Is it safe to use CarPlay or Android Auto in rental, carsharing or third-party vehicles?

With some frequency we are given recommendations about not connecting our phones to public charging points or accessing WiFi in libraries, airports or cafes. The reasons for this are that someone may install malicious applications via USB, or that, through WiFi, they may intercept the data sent and received. So it is not surprising that we have some reluctance to do the same in a strange vehicle.

But the advantages of integrating your phone into your rental car are many. So, beyond suspicions or unfounded fears, let’s see what’s true and what we can do to enjoy all the possibilities that current vehicles offer thanks to CarPlay and Android Auto without giving up on keeping the data on your smartphone safe and away from prying eyes.

The precautions you should take before using Android Auto or Apple Carplay

To access Android Auto or Carplay, the first thing you must do is connect your mobile to the operating system of the vehicle in question via USB or wirelessly. Each of these pathways is associated an asterisk when it comes to security.

In the case of using the USB socket, It is best to use your own cable. This way, you will avoid coming across a trick cable that could insert malware on your mobile. Another point of risk is the car’s USB socket, which may have been altered to insert some kind of malware. However, in this case little can be done preventively.

If you choose to go wireless, you must first pair the mobile device with the car via Bluetooth. During the process, pay attention to the data being synced. Car operating systems themselves sometimes request permission to import contacts or recent calls from your mobile. Such information is then stored in the vehicle’s memory. Since we don’t want that to happen, reject any related requests that may appear on your mobile.

In both cases, and as an additional security measure, You can delete the car memory once the trip is completed. Normally, you will find this option in the vehicle settings.

Everything you do within Carplay or Android Auto is safe (even in a rental car)

Once the device is linked – wirelessly or via USB – with the car’s operating system, it will offer you the option to start the Carplay or Android Auto apps. In doing so, You will enter a new safe environment free of risks and worries. In Android Auto or Carplay you can open any application, access your contact list or make calls without fearing for your privacy.

The key is that all Carplay and Android Auto processing happens in the smartphone. Once started, the car only projects the image signal it receives from it, but never stores or processes data. Both systems also use encryption at all times and are governed by strict security regulations.

Use Carplay and Android Auto in a rental car, carsharing or someone else’s is, therefore, very safe. They are encapsulated environments that do not share information with the car. Of course: during the connection process prior to starting Android Auto or Apple Carplay, it is important to take the above precautions to protect our privacy as much as possible.

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