Google confirms it’s the end of the road for Android Auto on phone screens

A few years ago, Google announced a whole new experience for drivers looking to use their phones hands-free without putting others at risk. Dubbed “Assistant Driving Mode,” it was meant to replace Android Auto’s dated display – until suddenly it didn’t. Instead, Google developed a shortcut for Android 10 devices, designed to keep the old automatic interface alive while work continues in the assisted driving mode. With the slow arrival of the new app in various parts of the world, the old user interface is on the way out.

Some users today open the dedicated Android Auto app for phone screens only to find that it no longer works. As the XDA developers discovered, some Pixel devices running the Android 12 beta receive pop-up notifications redirecting users to try out the Driving Assistant mode. Specifically, the warning states that Android Auto is no longer supported on phone screens, now requiring a dedicated car screen to use.

Image via XDA developers.

Now, it should be noted that only one of the available XDA devices actually displayed this notification. AP staff tried multiple devices but failed to reproduce the same warning. This is Google we’re talking about, so it’s probably a server-side switch that hasn’t hit most users yet.

While that banner might just be some weird behavior triggered by the beta of Android 12, frankly, the handwriting has been on the wall for years. While the dedicated car user interface has been refreshed and updated, Auto’s design on phone screens has remained unchanged. The shortcut developed by Google in 2019 never even received an update, which could be another sign that it was always intended as a stopgap solution.

Left: Android Auto. Right: Assisted driving mode.

The assisted driving mode looks like a much more modern experience – including support for larger screens – but that’s not all good news. To activate the Driving View, you must first enter a destination in Google Maps, which is not always necessary if you are heading to a known location. Once you start navigating, you can switch between calls, messages, media apps, and even completely cancel your route, but that’s always an extra step that isn’t required in Android Auto.

Presumably, you will be able to continue using Android Auto in areas where the Driving Assistant mode is not available. We’ve seen the feature arrive in several countries over the past year, although it’s still not accessible everywhere. For now, enjoy Android Auto while you still can.

Google Confirmation

In a statement delivered to 9to5Google, Google confirmed that Android Auto for phone screens will be phased out with the launch of Android 12 this fall. Here is the full statement:

The Google Assistant Driving Mode is our next evolution in the mobile driving experience. For people who use Android Auto in supported vehicles, this experience is not going to go away. For those who use the experience on the phone (Android Auto mobile app), they will switch to the Google Assistant driving mode. From Android 12, the Google Assistant driving mode will be the integrated mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time.

If your current phone is not upgraded to Android 12, you can continue to use the mobile experience until you change your device. For everyone else, you will need to switch to Driver Assistant mode for your navigation needs. This transition explains why only users running the beta version of Android 12 saw the banner notification in the app.

As we pointed out yesterday, the current state of the assisted driving mode is causing real concern. Some of our readers raised additional points in the comments, including missing landscape support, issues with some Android Auto apps not working well with Assistant, and inaccessibility even in regions where the feature should be active. . Hopefully some of these issues will be resolved over the next few months. Until then, take advantage of the remaining days of Android Auto on the phone screens, as he has little time left in this world.


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