Four months after being “retired,” Spotify is letting customers test out a completely overhauled automotive interface called Car Mode.

In November, Spotify announced that it would be retiring its “Car View” with no immediate replacement prepared. Car View was a simplified version of the app that promoted safer driving by only showing playback controls and information about the current track.

At the time, Spotify shared that they were “actively exploring” alternative ways to keep drivers both safe and entertained while on the road. Now the app is beginning the rollout of a full redesign of the experience, which they’ve dubbed “Car Mode.” It’s not clear at this point whether Car Mode is available for iOS, or if it’s only being tested on Android for the time being.

When listening to music while connected to a car via Bluetooth, you may be prompted to “test drive the new Car Mode.” The most critical addition of Spotify’s Car Mode over the old version is that drivers can now easily browse and search for different music to play.

This is made possible by a three-tab design to match the main Spotify app, versus Car View, which kept its focus solely on the player view. The Home tab is now far less dense and therefore easier to browse and touch without looking directly at it. Your normal homepage suggestions are scrollable in groups that snap into place.

The player view of Spotify’s Car Mode is extremely simple, with only play/pause, skip, shuffle, and like buttons, along with an easy access microphone button for voice controls. The voice controls, also accessible from the middle tab, are your way to search Spotify’s library of music and podcasts while in Car Mode. And the Library tab offers quick access to the music you’ve listened to most recently.

Overall, Spotify has gone far beyond simply replacing Car View, they’ve managed to create a full experience that matches the way you expect the full Spotify app to work. As things are still in the testing phase though, there’s still time for the app to try other ideas or make changes. Car Mode is just one part of Spotify’s continued efforts to be helpful for drivers, between its recently launched “Car Thing” and integration with Google Assistant driving mode.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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