Google introduced Android Auto in 2015 as a way to use maps, navigation, and music playback on Android smartphones without too much distraction. It offered bigger UI elements for a better viewing experience. However, the company is now shutting down the app that was made for phone screens.
The Android Auto for phone screens app is being shut down and you can't use it anymore. The original Android Auto app is now limited to in-car infotainment systems. A few years ago, Google stopped offering a car-optimized UI in the Android Auto app but continued to offer a similar UI via a separate Android Auto For Phone Screens.
The Android Auto for phone screens app was already incompatible with Android 12. A few days ago, app users started seeing a message that said Android Auto for phone screens will stop working soon. Now, that change has come into effect and the app has stopped working even on phones running Android 11 and earlier versions.
Google Assistant Driving Mode is the replacement
However, Google is not hanging out users to dry. As a replacement, people can use Google Assistant's Driving Mode on their smartphone screens. It offers a similar UI with big elements, but it's still not a like-for-like replacement, largely due to the way things are implemented.
Google Assistant Driving Mode is harder to launch as there's no dedicated icon in the app drawer. You can start it by saying “Hey Google, launch Driving Mode.” Plus, it can't be used in landscape mode, which is a big disadvantage. While most music services are supported, the new UI lacks a full-app experience, only offering recommended albums and playlists.
Samsung used to offer a car-optimized UI with its smartphones, but that was discontinued after the launch of Android Auto. Which in-car UI do you like the most? What's your setup like? Let us know in the comments section below.
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