Eyes on the Road: 8 Android Auto Tips Every Driver Needs

Eyes on the Road: 8 Android Auto Tips Every Driver Needs

Fingers-free navigation is a should for drivers. Fortunately, smartphones make it easy with apps that mirror the cellphone’s working system onto your automotive’s show. Apple has CarPlay, whereas Google has Android Auto that can assist you hold your eyes on the street.

For these with an Android gadget, Android Auto may help you with instructions, music, cellphone calls, and extra. At CES 2024, Google introduced the power for EVs to share real-time battery info with Google Maps, beginning with the Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, in addition to extra apps accessible this yr like PBS Children and Crunchyroll. A month later, it additionally rolled out a brand new design and AI textual content summaries. Here is what else Android Auto can do.


Android Auto vs. Google Driving Mode

Google has a couple of driving assistant characteristic. Android Auto is a standalone app and Google’s GPS navigation assistant for gadgets operating Android 6-11. You may connect with your automobile through USB or Bluetooth to make use of Android Auto, however the cellphone display model not works.

Beginning with Android 12, those that shouldn’t have built-in Android Auto performance of their automotive will as an alternative be directed to the Driving mode contained in the Google Maps app when attempting to make use of Android Auto on a cellphone display (because the Google Assistant model has been discontinued as nicely).

Since Google Maps comes pre-installed on Android gadgets, you do not have to obtain a standalone app or use a number of apps for navigation. You may configure Driving mode to begin any time you join a smartphone to your automotive’s Bluetooth system, or use it by tapping Begin in Google Maps everytime you get instructions.

Undecided in case your automotive’s appropriate? Google has a helpful rundown.


1. Play Music and Podcasts

(Credit score: John Bogna)

In case you like some tunes or a podcast whereas driving, you may name up apps like Spotify when utilizing Android Auto or Google Driving mode. With Driving mode open, the house display will show your most just lately used media app together with some easy controls. Relying on what sort of system your cellphone is related to, Driving mode can combine with options like steering wheel mounted audio controls. Or say “Hey Google, play the newest episode of [podcast name].”


To open further apps and settings, faucet the app launcher icon that appears like 4 bins within the bottom-right nook of the display. It’ll launch a menu that incorporates a number of icons for numerous apps and options. Faucet the icon with a automotive and a gear on it to enter Settings. From right here, you may configure Driving mode choices like whether or not to simply accept calls and texts whereas on the street. You may as well toggle driving-friendly messages on and off. To get there with out tapping by means of any screens simply say, “Hey Google, open Assistant settings.”


3. Inform Driving Mode When to Activate

After an preliminary setup, your cellphone ought to join and launch Android Auto routinely through Bluetooth or a wired connection. In case your cellphone is configured to attach routinely, it’s best to be capable of entry Android Auto in your automotive’s sprint display with out unlocking your cellphone. To set that up, open the app in your cellphone, go into the Settings menu, and toggle Begin Android Auto Whereas Locked to on.

Nonetheless, you may not need that automated connection, like if the passenger is attempting to play music. To configure precisely when Driving mode launches, open Assistant Settings, then faucet Transportation > Driving mode and set while you need Driving mode to activate. You may configure Driving mode to open when beneath one of many following circumstances:

  • Whenever you join your smartphone to a automotive’s Bluetooth

  • Whenever you open the Android Auto app

  • When your cellphone detects driving (its sensors detect you transferring in a short time)

Whether or not you select to arrange the app wired or wirelessly, Google recommends holding Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and placement settings turned on for essentially the most correct outcomes.


4. Make Calls or Ship Messages

phone call with google assistant

(Credit score: John Bogna)

On Driving mode’s house display, you’ll see giant buttons for Ship a message and Make a name subsequent to your media app controls. Faucet both button to make use of voice instructions, or simply faucet the microphone icon. You may as well say “Hey Google,” or use the devoted voice command button in your steering wheel, if in case you have one.

Frequent voice instructions embrace “name [name from Contacts],” “ship message to [Contact],” or simply “ship message.” Texts get learn aloud, and while you get a cellphone name, Google’s voice assistant says who’s calling and asks in the event you’d like to simply accept or decline.

Advisable by Our Editors

Android Auto is appropriate with different messaging apps past Messenger, resembling WhatsApp and Skype, so these messages could be learn aloud, too.


5. Use Voice Instructions for Driving

Very like Android Auto, Google’s Driving mode modifications the interface of your smartphone for much less scrolling and subsequently much less distraction. The standard show is changed by giant, easy-to-tap playing cards that open apps, let Google hear for voice instructions, and extra. You may carry up Driving mode with out touching your cellphone by saying “Hey Google, let’s drive” or “Hey Google, navigate to [destination].” For extra on primary voice instructions, try Google’s information to Driving mode.


6. Return Dwelling or Exit Driving Mode With One Faucet

Whenever you’re within the app launcher menu, one other menu like Settings, or wanting although Spotify for a playlist, faucet the automotive icon on the backside heart of your show to return to the Driving mode house display. To exit Driving mode altogether, faucet the automotive icon with a line by means of it on the top-right nook of the display.


7. Customise Your App Dashboard for Simpler Entry

Android Auto helps you to configure the app menu so your most used apps are entrance and heart. Whenever you first activate Android Auto you may carry up an alphabetized listing of your apps from the launcher icon. To keep away from prolonged scrolls by means of this menu whereas driving, go to the Settings menu and faucet into the Customise Launcher possibility. Faucet and maintain the dots subsequent to every app’s title to manually drag them into the order you need. Spending somewhat time earlier than your subsequent street journey setting this up could make issues rather more handy. 

You may as well arrange customized icons for a selected goal. If, for instance, you generally lookup close by espresso outlets, arrange a shortcut icon that can seek for locations close to you with one faucet. 


8. No Show? Use a Wi-fi Adapter As a substitute

wireless car adapters

(Credit score: Eric Griffith)

Android Auto works whether or not you’re utilizing it on a cellphone or Bluetooth system. In case your automotive is an older mannequin that doesn’t have Bluetooth, there are wi-fi adapters that supply Bluetooth connectivity or tablet-like gadgets that work like a built-in infotainment system. The simplest and most cost-effective route on this scenario could be to only get a automotive mount in your smartphone and use the app that approach. 

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