Android Auto: 10 Lesser-Known Tips & Tricks Every Driver Should … – HotCars

Driving requires 100 percent focus; as such, hands-free navigation has become non-negotiable in today’s world. Thankfully, a vast array of modern ICE-powered and electric cars fit revolutionary and intuitive infotainment systems that can mirror your smartphone’s OS onto your automobile’s screen. To facilitate intrusion-free drives, you can key into Google’s Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay. Although we’ve pitted both OS mirroring systems against each other in a unique guide, this article will give credence to Android Auto.



Initially, Android Auto had a dedicated application usable on Android-powered smartphones. However, this compatibility has ended, and you can only access Android Auto capabilities if your Android device is connected to your vehicle via USB or Bluetooth.

If you’re an Android smartphone user who owns and drives a car, utilizing Android Auto lets you seamlessly access communication, navigation, and entertainment extras within your vehicle. But, how can you get the most from this functionality? Stay tuned as we deliver context on widely unknown Android Auto tips and tricks.

10 Unleash The Staggering Potentials Of Google Assistant

Google Assistant in action on Android Auto
YouTube | Kia Features & Functions

Some automobiles are characterized by glitchy voice recognition systems. However, the opposite takes precedence on Android Auto’s Google Assistant. Besides seeking context on the day’s weather forecast or LMAO-worthy jokes, Google Assistant can serve reminders on your calendar, help you call a friend, and play your favorite podcast or song.

To enable voice commands, open the Android Auto application. Now, hit the “Hey Google” Detection under the General segment. On the subsequent menu, activate the While Driving option.

Although Google Assistant fulfills a truckload of commands, ensure that instructions sounded while driving are relevant. For example, you can say these phrases for best results:

  • “Navigate to the office”
  • “Set far temperature to 65 degrees”
  • “Activate seat heater”
  • “Read my text messages”
  • “Call Samson”
  • “Did the New York Yankees win yesterday”
  • “Skip this podcast episode”

You can also curate personalized Google Assistant shortcuts to execute commands without saying “Hey, Google.” They could range from resuming an audiobook or texting a specific number.

RELATED: Here’s How Porsche’s New Google-Based Infotainment Will Lead To A Whole New Experience

9 Download Apps Compatible With Android Auto

Reports confirm that infotainment systems are among the leading causes of distracted driving. As such, you’ll discover that Android Auto isn’t compatible with thousands of applications. Nonetheless, the selection you’ll have access to is quite extensive.

But in the sea of Android Auto app selections, we recommend sticking to these essentials:

  • Music:
    AIMP, MediaMonkey, Poweramp, Pandora, Spotify, Pulsar, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

  • Messaging:
    Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, Kik, Hangouts, WeChat, and Signal

  • Radio/News:
    iHeartRadio, myTuner Radio, MLB at Bat, CBS Radio News, New York Times, and ABC News.

For navigation, you can bank on Google Maps to do the job efficiently. But if you’d like something different, you can utilize Waze — an application that incorporates crowdsourced data to deliver real-time data on road conditions, obstacles, and hazards.

Installed music and radio applications will appear in Driving Mode and Android Auto. Just tap on your choice variant to see what it offers (more on that in a bit). Furthermore, messaging apps curated for Android Auto function a tad differently; you’ll receive notifications for incoming messages and can issue replies via voice command.

8 Arrange Your Android Auto Applications

Android Auto App Screen

You might be familiar with the “too many cooks spoil the broth” phrase. The same thing happens when you download a truckload of Android Auto-compatible applications without arranging them. Besides making your screen overly cluttered, searching for installed apps while driving can be distracting.

Fortunately, there’s a decluttering solution. After opening the Android Auto app, hit the Customize Launcher setting. While the “A-Z with suggested apps at top” is the default, you can select the “Custom order” option and rearrange icons to suit your preference. To remove an app from the launcher, uncheck its associated box in the Customize Launcher segment. However, you’ll be restricted from eliminating system applications like Phone or Maps.

7 Earmark Your Preferred Music Streaming Application

Spotify Music interface on Android Auto
Practical Tips

With different music streaming applications installed on Android Auto, Google Assistant can hit a brick wall when asked to play a song.

For instance, paid Spotify users won’t be able to use Spotify without linking their account to Google Assistant. Similarly, asking Google Assistant to play a song without adding “on Spotify” will see it deliver a generic response, telling you that you’re not subscribed to YouTube Music.

This back and forth can be nerve-wracking, especially while driving. Thankfully, there’s a fix. First, launch the Android Auto app on your smartphone and hit Google Assistant. On the subsequent page, navigate downwards and click Music. Here, you’ll encounter the list of all installed music streaming services; tap your preferred alternative to set it as your default.

After you’ve done this, you’ll find a Link icon directly under your chosen music streaming provider. Click on it to connect it with Google Assistant. And from that moment onward, all your music requests will be played using your default music service. If you’d like to play a song from another music streaming service (i.e., Pandora), utter phrases like “play Bank on It by Burna Boy on Pandora.”

RELATED: These 10 2023 Cars Have The Best Infotainment Systems

Organizing your contact list is important to place seamless calls while in motion. We recommend keeping your contact listing clutter-free and devoid of ambiguity. For example, if you issue the “call James” command while driving, and you’ve got two or more contacts with the “James” tag in it, Google Assistant will demand context on which James you’d like to call. Stating your preference time and time again can impede your driving focus.

To avoid this scenario in its entirety, delete all duplicate contact cards and avoid saving contacts with emojis and special characters that’ll most likely confound Google Assistant. Once you stick to these principles, placing calls without a hint of delay will be feasible.

5 Tweak Certain Android Auto Settings

Android Auto Interface on a KIA Automobile
YouTube | Kia Features & Functions

At this juncture, you might think that you’ve learned all the vital tricks and tips associated with Android Auto. But the reality is there’s so much more to this infotainment system launcher. To get a hold of these extras, head to the Settings area. Here, you can tweak these add-ons to tally your definitive requirements:

  • Automatically Resume Media:
    Activating this feature automatically plays songs or podcast episodes you were listening to when you start your car.

  • Day/Night Mode For Maps:
    Toggle this option to force dark or light mode while navigating.

  • Start Android Auto While Locked:
    Enabling this function allows you to start Android Auto immediately when it’s connected to your locked Android device.

  • Show Group Message Conversations:
    Disabling this feature helps you mute group and individual texts from Android Auto-compatible messaging applications.

4 Use The Weather & Radar Application

In 2020, Google rolled out an Android Auto update that introduced the weather icon into the status bar. But the 2023 Android Auto Coolwalk upgrade removed this feature. Although rumors affirm a reintroduction in the near future, Android Auto users can make do of the Weather & Radar application in the meantime.

Weather & radar ranks as the first full-weather Android Auto application, positioning itself as your “weather companion” while driving. This application provides accurate and extensive satellite data revolving around the weather of your current location. The radar features diverse precipitation color formats — blue (rain), pink (snow), salmon (freezing rain), and yellow (lightning strikes). Temperature values are also displayed. With these data bits, you can tell if it’s safe to drive or halt in your tracks.

3 Customize Your Screen’s Wallpaper

Wavy Android Auto Wallpaper
Android Central

News that revered American automotive powerhouse — General Motors — will do away with Apple CarPlay Android Auto-compatible infotainment systems from 2024 has spread like wildfire. However, many individuals still prefer cars supporting these OS mirroring alternatives. One of the many reasons why? Customization.

If you’d like your Android Auto infotainment screen to be an extension of your personality, executing a wallpaper change is in order. To do so, head to the app’s Settings area and click on Choose Wallpaper. Thereafter, you’ll be able to select an image that tickles your fancy.

2 Play Immersive Games On Your Vehicle’s Touchscreen

Do you find yourself stationary in the parking lot often? If yes, you can transform these boring moments by playing immersive games on your car’s touchscreen via Android Auto. But how? Let’s get some context.

To access Android Auto games, click the GameSnacks screen icon. Once you do, you’ll find hundreds of bite-sized and easy-to-play games at your disposal, including popular alternatives like Northern Lights, Spiral Roll, Merge Pirates, Panda Pizza Parlor, and Daily Solitaire. These games have eye-popping graphics and can be controlled via your car’s touchscreen.

What’s better? These titles automatically connect to your car’s stereo system, offering rich sounds critical for an immersive gaming experience.

RELATED: This Is Why Tesla Doesn’t Include Apple CarPlay And Android Auto Support

1 Calendar And Navigation Integration

All-new Android Auto with Maps in action

You might be using your Android Auto’s Google Calendar to tell the days of the week only. But its more capable than that. For context, you can add an event and insert its location in your calendar. This helps you keep tabs of doctor appointments and get-togethers you don’t want to miss. On the said date, open Google Calendar on and tap on the address. Doing this automatically launches Google Maps and displays navigation to your intended location. How convenient.


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