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‘Android Auto for Phone Screens’ is shutting down w/ Android 12 in favor of Assistant Driving Mode [U]

Google’s ambitions in the car led to Android Auto being redesigned a couple of years ago, mostly to positive feedback. However, the version of Android Auto on phone screens was meant to shut down at the time and has been on life support ever since. Now, that version has stopped working for some users.

The aptly named “Android Auto for Phone Screens” was launched in 2019 as Google was forced to delay Google Assistant Driving Mode. That feature, which finally started rolling out in 2020, continued into earlier this year, and has expanded since, was supposed to replace the experience on phone screens. At the time, Google called this app a “stopgap” for users who needed an in-car experience but lacked a vehicle compatible with Android Auto.

Fast-forward to today and apparently, some users are seeing a notice that Android Auto for Phone Screens no longer works. XDA says that some Pixel owners on Android 12 saw the app skip the typical experience entirely and instead display a notice that says:

Android Auto is now only available for car screens. On your phone, try Google Assistant driving mode instead.

Update: In speaking with Google, we are able to confirm that Android Auto for Phone Screens is, indeed, shutting down with the release of Android 12. The experience will not be available for users on Android 12, but still on older versions of the OS. Google says that Assistant Driving Mode will be “the built-in mobile driving experience” on Android 12.

Google’s full statement follows:

Google Assistant driving mode is our next evolution of the mobile driving experience. For the people who use Android Auto in supported vehicles, that experience isn’t going away. For those who use the on phone experience (Android Auto mobile app), they will be transitioned to Google Assistant driving mode. Starting with Android 12, Google Assistant driving mode will be the built-in mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time.

At this point, we’re not seeing the notice on a Pixel running Android 12 or a Galaxy Z Flip 3 on Android 11. The app is still available via the Play Store, too, but is now showing as incompatible with Pixel devices on Android 12.

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