Android Auto Overview Updated May 21, 2021

Android Auto

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324 'Android Auto' stories

June 2014 - March 2023

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You should always focus on the road when you’re driving a vehicle, but maps and music can make the journey better. That’s why phone-powered platforms have become a favorite for many car owners. Android Auto is Google’s offering for owners of Pixel, Samsung, and other popular smartphones. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What is Android Auto?

Google’s Android Auto platform isn’t its own operating system. Rather, it is an extension of a connected Android smartphone that can display some apps, entertainment, and mirror messages on a car’s dashboard. The platform was announced in 2014 with tie-ins to Google Calendar, Maps, and other products. The original design mirrored Google Now with cards for weather, appointments, and infotainment such as music controls.

Later, in 2019, Google revamped the design of Auto entirely with a focus on apps and shortcuts, as well as deeper reliance on Google Assistant.

In my experience with the new Android Auto, the biggest positive change has been the new navigation system. Instead of the row of apps switchers, Google has opted for just three static buttons. There’s a home button off to the far left side of the display, with buttons for notifications and Google Assistant on the right side. Having the home button off to the right makes it just a bit easier to use since it’s closer to the driver.

Another big change that Google has made to the new Android Auto is the addition of Google Assistant “apps” on the homescreen. Filling out the app drawer on the new homescreen, you’ll see the likes of Weather, News, and more. These aren’t actually proper applications, but rather, buttons you can push to trigger what would otherwise be voice commands.

The new design has since been updated to include a gallery of wallpaper options and powerful Google Assistant shortcuts that can be customized by the user for essentially any action, like opening the garage door, for example.

Android Auto is designed to help keep driver’s attention on the road rather than their smartphone. The platform limits users to just a handful of apps, primarily those used for media, such as Spotify, YouTube Music, and others. Mapping apps are also a core part of the platform, with Google Maps and Waze both offering apps. In 2021, Google opened up Android Auto to more third-party mapping apps, with Sygic and TomTom quick to offer their own apps.

Traditionally, Android Auto connects to your vehicle over a wired USB connection, but it can also be done wirelessly. You’ll first need an Android smartphone using Android 11 or higher (or a Pixel/Samsung device on Android 9 and up), as well as a vehicle that supports wireless Android Auto. If your vehicle only supports a wired connection, the third-party AAWireless dongle can be used to add that functionality to nearly any car.

What cars support Android Auto?

Advanced infotainment systems are a crucial part of modern cars, and, in most cases, they come with support for Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay. Notable brands that support Google’s offering in at least some widely available vehicles include the following, and you can view the full list here.

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Buick
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Fiat
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Mazda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Ram
  • Subaru
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

There are well over 500 different vehicles sold today that include Android Auto support, and the list is constantly growing. For example, Porsche recently announced it would add support for Google’s platform starting in its 2022 Porsche 911. At I/O 2021, Google announced that over 100 million cars on the road support Android Auto natively. The company also mentioned that future updates to the platform would enable better support for modern vehicle displays including the instrument cluster. Apparently, widgets may also soon come to Android Auto.

If your car doesn’t natively support Android Auto, you can add it with the help of a third-party head unit. Popular brands that offer Google’s platform include Pioneer, Sony, Alpine, and others.

You can learn more about Google’s platform in our continued coverage below, and read our review of the updated design here.

Android Auto Stories March 13

Google Maps and Android Auto should go together quite nicely, as both are developed and maintained by the same company. However, users have been reporting increasing issues with Google Maps in Android Auto not working as it should, with GPS issues being the lead issue.

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Android Auto Stories March 6

Android Auto is slowly rolling out its major new “Coolwalk” redesign with a new dashboard on the homescreen. It’s already functionally better than it was before, but with a tweak, you can get even more space for widgets on Android Auto “Coolwalk.”

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Android Auto Stories March 2

Android Auto’s newest redesign takes several different bits of information and lays them out across the new home screen. To give a little more freedom in an otherwise fixed layout, Android Auto has made a new option available to change the layout of Android Auto. Here’s how to use it.

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Android Auto Stories February 22

Android Auto has long carried a frustrating restriction that prevents Google Maps from being opened on the connected phone, but it appears that is finally changing.

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Android Auto Stories February 21

Waze update aims to fix Android Auto freezing, ‘Coolwalk’ support is still in beta

If you’ve noticed Waze has been freezing on Android Auto lately, you’re not alone. A new update to Waze aims to fix these freezing issues on Android Auto, but it doesn’t yet deliver some long-awaited functionality.

Android Auto Stories February 15

While the design of Android Auto has remained mostly static for much of last year, Google has switched things up a bit with the new Android Auto redesign that looks entirely different. This redesign shifts the information you’d need at a glance around, making it easier to navigate and use.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series officially launches later this week, but some early buyers are seeing problems using Android Auto with their new phone.

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Android Auto Stories February 13

Android Auto – How to fix a lost GPS signal or Google Assistant not responding

Android Auto is a great tool for music, navigation, and handling incoming calls or texts. Unfortunately, it tends to have bugs here and there. A couple of major Android Auto problems are a Google Assistant that doesn’t respond or a lost GPS signal. Both of these problems are fixable and the below steps will give you a good chance of mediating them.

The saga of Android Auto’s weather icon continues, now with Google considering reviving the icon on the “Coolwalk” redesign after removing it from the previous look.

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Android Auto Stories February 10

Android Auto is already a convenient way to use your smartphone’s most important features while behind the wheel, but wireless support just makes it even better. Years later, wireless Android Auto is finally making its way to the last country it wasn’t supported in – Japan.

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AAWireless adapter for wireless Android Auto returns after going out of stock for weeks

Wireless Android Auto is easier than ever to get, with AAWireless being one of the best options available. After a few weeks missing from Amazon, AAWireless is back in stock.

Android Auto Stories February 9

To kick off 2023 Google announced that Android Auto would be rolling out a redesign to all users, but a month later, “Coolwalk” still isn’t widely available to everyone.

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Android Auto Stories February 8

Android Auto is still in the process of rolling out its big dashboard redesign known as “Coolwalk,” but as that update slowly makes it way to users, Google is already making tweaks including updated animations and the potential of a light theme.

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Android Auto Stories February 7

While the latest redesign of Android Auto makes it a bit more difficult to see the weather forecast at a glance, there is a new option incoming. “WeatherRadar” is debuting as the first full weather app for Android Auto.

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Android Auto Stories January 26

Some Android Auto users seeing ‘Searching for GPS’ issue with Google Maps

If your Android Auto sessions lately have been plagued with a “Searching for GPS” issue, you’re not alone.

Android Auto Stories January 25

How to enable developer mode in Android Auto, and why you might want to

Just like for an Android device, Android Auto allows you to enable developer mode to get access to setting you wouldn’t otherwise see. This guide will take you through enabling it and what you can actually do with developer mode turned on.

Android Auto Stories January 24

After launching in beta late last year, Google’s redesign of Android Auto is now getting full support for one of Google’s own mapping apps, as Waze now supports the Android Auto “Coolwalk” dashboard.

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Android Auto has supported wireless connections for a few years now, but it’s only been over the past year that folks have been able to use it widely. And, now, Google has decided to remove the toggle that made it easy to turn off wireless Android Auto in the latest app update.

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Android Auto Stories January 23

Android Auto 8.7 is now rolling out, but almost no one has the ‘Coolwalk’ redesign

Google announced the long-awaited “Coolwalk” redesign for Android Auto earlier this year, but as time goes on, the update is still only headed to a select few users. Now, Android Auto 8.7 is widely rolling out, but it still doesn’t bring the revamp.

Android Auto Stories January 16

After some heavy delays, Google finally launched its latest major redesign of Android Auto, codenamed “Coolwalk,” to the general public early this month. But many users still have yet to get the update – have you?

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Android Auto Stories January 14

Google is in the process of bringing the “Coolwalk” redesign of Android Auto to most users, but there’s another new feature also making its way to the platform. Rolling out now, Android Auto is finally adding a seek bar in music apps.

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Android Auto Stories January 10

It’s been almost a decade since Google first launched Android Auto, a way of maintaining control over music, maps, and messages while behind the wheel. Over that time, Android Auto has undergone three major versions with the latest, “Coolwalk,” bringing a dashboard that delivers on some welcome upgrades.

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Android Auto Stories January 6

The January 2023 update arrived earlier this week for Google Pixel owners, but it seems the patch is carrying some problems along with it, as some users are seeing issues with Bluetooth and Android Auto.

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Android Auto Stories January 5

After entering public beta in November, Google is rolling out Android Auto’s split-screen redesign into stable starting today (January 5).

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Android Auto Stories January 1

Motorola MA1 adapter for wireless Android Auto sees first big discount to $70

Wireless Android Auto adapters are becoming increasingly common but are rarely found at a discount. Ringing in the new year, though, the Motorola MA1 adapter for wireless Android Auto is seeing a $30 discount at Best Buy.

Android Auto Stories December 29, 2022

There’s a growing number of Android Auto users who have noticed that Google Assistant is at least partially broken following the update to Android 13.

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Android Auto Stories December 21, 2022

Carsifi adapter for wireless Android Auto is now available on Amazon for $89

Wireless Android Auto adapters arrived en masse in 2022, with Carsifi being a solid option for those with more than one driver in their vehicle. Now, the Carsifi adapter for wireless Android Auto has arrived on Amazon, making it a bit easier to buy.

Android Auto Stories December 20, 2022

Android Auto just launched its major redesign in beta, but with Waze missing support for the split-screen dashboard feature. Now, it’s confirmed that support is just around the corner.

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Android Auto Stories December 19, 2022

AAWireless adapter for wireless Android Auto stock returns as production moves out of China

It’s easier than ever to get wireless Android Auto in your car thanks to adapters, and the first company to tackle that goal was AAWireless. Now, AAWireless is making a couple of moves behind-the-scenes including pulling production of the device out of China and revamping the packaging.

Android Auto Stories December 14, 2022

Google is currently testing the next generation of Android Auto, and many people are able to try out the new update through the beta program. However, the Android Auto redesign, known to many as “Coolwalk,” wasn’t available on cars with rotary input until just this week.

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Android Auto Stories December 12, 2022

How to use wireless Android Auto

Our phones have the ability to make a commute or road trip better with free navigation and access to music and more, and systems like Android Auto make all of that safer and less distracting. While Android Auto is convenient in any form, it’s best when wireless. Here’s how to use wireless Android Auto.

Android Auto Stories November 30, 2022

How to use Waze with Android Auto

Waze provides a lot of function and a little bit of a social atmosphere for drivers on the road. With that, using Waze on Android Auto can prove quite useful. This guide will bring you through how to add and use Waze with Android Auto.

Android Auto Stories November 29, 2022

Google Maps having widespread issues with voice search on CarPlay

Google Maps relies on voice search, opting to keep you safe while on your drive. Unfortunately, it looks like the voice search feature in Google Maps for CarPlay is breaking for a number of users, only working after multiple attempts.

Android Auto Stories November 25, 2022

Android Auto just released its long-awaited redesign to beta testers, but the in-car UI isn’t the only thing getting a revamp. Hiding behind the scenes of the latest Android Auto updates is a redesigned settings menu full of Material You.

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Android Auto Stories November 24, 2022

AAWireless adapter for wireless Android Auto celebrates two-year anniversary with a discount

The adapter that started it all is now two years old. AAWireless is this week celebrating the two-year anniversary of its wireless Android Auto adapter with a discount and a look back at how things have changed.

Android Auto Stories November 22, 2022

Android Auto is in the midst of a redesign, and with that has come some big changes to the platform. One of those changes is ditching the persistent, glanceable weather icon in Android Auto’s status bar. But some good news, that’s finally fixed on the original look.

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Android Auto Stories November 21, 2022

How to switch back to taskbar widgets on the Android Auto redesign

Android Auto’s new beta comes with some new tricks up its sleeve, including a new taskbar redesign. Well, what if you don’t really want the new look? This guide will take you through switching back to having media control and Maps taskbar widgets on your Android Auto device.

If you’ve been having issues between Android Auto and Pixel phones, Google might have some good news for you. In an update to its known issues thread, Google says that the Android 13 update on Pixel phones should fix some calling issues when using Android Auto.

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Android Auto Stories November 17, 2022

Android Auto finally released its long-awaited redesign last week, but without room for new users to join in on the fun. Over the past day or so, Google appears to have opened up a few more slots for the Android Auto beta program.

Update 11/17: The Android Auto program appears to be full yet again. See below for more.

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Android Auto Stories November 16, 2022

Android Auto bug breaks rotary controls on Google Maps for vehicles without a touchscreen

Android Auto is currently beta testing its next generation, but some users without the update are seeing an issue as an Android Auto bug has broken non-touchscreen rotary controls, specifically with Google Maps.

Android Auto Stories November 14, 2022

After a long delay, Google has finally released its redesign of Android Auto into beta as of this week. However, Waze users are getting the short end of the stick, as the app doesn’t yet fully support the Android Auto redesign’s best feature.

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Android Auto Stories November 11, 2022

At I/O 2022 in May, Google previewed a big redesign of Android Auto that brings a split-screen mode to in-car displays of all sizes, including smaller 5- and 6-inch screens. The summer launch was delayed due to Google incorporating feedback from early testing and polishing, but it’s entering beta today with a slew of upgrades.

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Android Auto Stories November 1, 2022

Android Auto has been around for the better part of a decade at this point and has worked for all phones for quite a long time. After quietly raising its requirements earlier this year, Google appears to essentially be cutting off older phones from using Android Auto with a forced update.

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Android Auto Stories October 31, 2022

Some Pixel 7 owners hit with Android Auto issues, but Google says they should be fixed now

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have only been on the market for a few weeks now, but some early buyers have seen issues with Android Auto on Google’s latest flagships. Luckily, those issues should be fixed with recent updates.

Android Auto Stories October 11, 2022

AAWireless adapter for wireless Android Auto gets its first discount ever

If you’ve been holding out to get a wireless adapter for Android Auto, today might be your day. AAWireless, the very first wireless Android Auto adapter and one of our favorites is getting its first discount for Amazon’s deal week.

Android Auto Stories October 7, 2022

Google’s Android Auto just can’t seem to squash this one bug. After disappearing for ages for some and finally returning, the weather icon in Android Auto is gone for some yet again.

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Android Auto Stories October 4, 2022

In May of 2019, Google Assistant Driving Mode was announced to replace “Android Auto for Phone Screens.” The launch occurred slowly, with the previous experience not going away until this June. Assistant Driving Mode is now losing Google Maps integration and this noticeably changes the experience to the point where it’s no longer an Android Auto replacement. 

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Android Auto Stories October 3, 2022

Google is investigating why some Pixel phones can’t use Android Auto following Android 13 update

If Android 13 broke your ability to use Android Auto, it seems you’re not alone, but Google is looking into the problem.

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