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Google is Shutting Down Android Auto for Phone Screens

The Google Assistant Driving Mode will replace "Android Auto for Phone Screens" with Android 12 — and vehicles with Android Auto will continue to operate normally.

Google has confirmed it’s shutting down the standalone “Android Auto for Phone Screens” app with Android 12. Instead, anyone who wants a driving-friendly interface for their Android phone should use the Google Assistant driving mode, which is available within Google Maps, or the native Android Auto interface available in select cars.

As first reported by 9to5Google, the "Android Auto for Phone Screens" is indeed being phased out with Android 12. The on-device experience was introduced in 2019 when Google Assistant Driving Mode was delayed.

Users running the Android 12 beta who attempt to load it are seeing a message stating it's only available for car screens and they need to use Google Assistant driving mode instead.

Sure enough, Google has now clarified the situation by releasing the following statement:

"Google Assistant driving mode is our next evolution of the mobile driving experience. For the people who use Android Auto in supported vehicles, that experience isn't going away. For those who use the on phone experience, they will be transitioned to Google Assistant driving mode."
"Starting with Android 12, Google Assistant driving mode will be the built-in mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time."

Android Auto’s app history is a little bit messy, but this is a move that’s been a long time coming. The saga started in 2019, when Google decided to build most of Android Auto’s features into Android 10 as a system level feature and expanding to 42 more countries since then, finally discontinue the previously downloadable app.

To use Google Assistant driving mode instead, you'll need to be using a device running Android 9.0 or higher with 4GB of RAM and ideally Assistant notifications turned on and contacts permissions granted (to allow calls and messages when in use).

The mode can be accessed by opening the Google Maps app, finding your destination, and tapping "Start." Alternatively, just say, "Hey Google, navigate to [destination]." While in use you can make and receive calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music.

Android Auto is similar to Apple's CarPlay in that it brings your smartphone UI to your car's infotainment system. While users in vehicles without Android Auto integration likely relied upon this phone workaround, Google probably sees the Google Assistant Driving Mode as safer or more preferable to the old experience.


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