Android Auto not working: 9 tips to get back on the road quickly

From WhatsApp messages read aloud in English, malfunctioning voice control to not even getting it to work at all: Android Auto does not work flawlessly for everyone. In this guide, we, therefore, provide solutions so that you can continue driving.

Your Android phone, but on your car dashboard. That’s Android Auto in a nutshell. Google’s on-the-go platform is very popular and generally works very simply. With new Android smartphones, it is usually a matter of pairing with your car (which must be supported) and you can hit the road.

Android Auto Not Working: 9 Possible Solutions

But, Android Auto doesn’t work that easily for everyone. So, in this guide, you will find some solutions to common problems with the Android car version. Tap one of the links below to go directly to the relevant tip.

Can you use Android Auto?

Before we start with all kinds of troubleshooting tips, it’s important to determine whether Android Auto is on your phone. Do you have a smartphone with Android 10 or Android 11? Then Android Auto is installed on your phone by default.

Do you have an Android device with Android 9.0 (Pie) or an older version? Then you have to manually install the app on your device. You do this by installing a so-called apk file. Normally you can install new apps via Google’s Play Store store, but Android Auto is not (yet) available here. In the article below we explain in detail how to install and download Android Auto.

Finally, don’t forget to check whether your car has support for Android Auto at all. The Android Auto website has an extensive list of all supported makes and models. If your car cannot handle the on-the-go platform, you can still install a system from, for example, JVC, Pioneer or Sony.

Updates: up-to-date on the road

Updates are to your phone what an APK is to your car. The updated software versions keep your smartphone up-to-date and working properly. Before you go out, it is therefore important to update both the Android version of your phone and your installed apps. 

Cannot connect to the car

You can already use Android Auto wirelessly, but in most cars, you still need a cable. Nothing happens when you connect your phone to your car, but should it?

Then try to rule out that the problem is not with the cable. Experience shows that not every USB cable works equally well. It is best to use your smartphone’s original charging cable or an alternative high-quality cable. In any case, avoid USB cables of questionable quality.

It also pays to browse through your car’s infotainment system. With most cars, you have to start Android Auto yourself and the way you do this differs per model. With many car systems, however, you have a cup with apps from which you can start Android Auto.

Connect multiple cars

Have you tested whether Android Auto works on multiple cars? Then it might be wise to ‘forget’ these cars again the moment you connect the app to your own car. That way you start with a figurative clean slate and the app doesn’t get confused:

  1. Open the Android Auto app on your smartphone;
  2. Tap on ‘Previously connected cars‘ and press the three dots at the top right of the screen;
  3. Choose ‘Forget all cars‘.

At this point, you have essentially reset the Android Auto app. Make sure the ‘Add the new car to Android Auto’ switch is blue, because this will let your phone take care of the rest when you connect it to your car.

Clear the temporary memory

Furthermore, there is no harm in clearing the cache of the Android Auto app. Cache memory ensures that apps, for example, remember your personal settings and temporary files. By clearing this temporary memory you refresh the Android Auto app:

  1. On your Android phone, go to the Settings.
  2. Search for the Android Auto app, for example in the list of all your apps;
  3. Tap “Storage & Cache” and tap “Clear Cache” at the top right.
  4. Allow Android Auto.

With Android Auto, you can send messages, listen to music and of course make phone calls. So the car version of Android has a lot of power, but you stay in is therefore wise to check the ‘permissions’. For example, if Android Auto can’t access your calendar, it won’t be able to schedule new events:

  1. Grab your smartphone, go to the Settings app and open the list of apps;
  2. Find Android Auto in the list and make sure the app has all the necessary permissions.

You can give the platform permission to access your contacts, calendar and location while on the road. With the latter, you can also specify whether the app should always be aware of your location, or only when you get behind the wheel. For Android Auto to work optimally, you need to give as many permissions as possible.

…And don’t forget the voice control

Android Auto works closely with Google Assistant. So you can, for example, put on music, navigate and call someone without having to take your hands off the steering wheel. However, Google Assistant does not work equally well for everyone. For example, the speech assistant responds poorly or not at all.

In that case, dive into the Google Assistant settings. You can get here by searching for “Google Assistant” in the Settings app. Then you come to an extensive list with all kinds of settings for Google’s voice help.

For example, under the heading ‘Your places’ you enter your home and work address. For example, you can say ‘Navigate to work’ behind the wheel, after which Google Maps (or Waze) will automatically map out the best route.

In the same way, you can specify a standard music service (YouTube Music or Spotify), indicate which news sources you want to hear and, for example, set a standard agenda for scheduling appointments.

Connecting Android Auto suddenly doesn’t work anymore.

Have you always been able to use Android Auto without any problems, but the software suddenly no longer works?

Shortly after the rollout of Android 11, for example, it turned out that smartphones with the (then new) operating system could not handle Android Auto. Updates to the car app itself sometimes throw a spanner in the works. Furthermore, the problem could also be with a specific app. For example, WhatsApp works very poorly for some Android Auto users. Received chat messages are spoken in English, or messages do not arrive at all.

If Android Auto suddenly no longer works properly, it is therefore wise to google for your exact problems. The cause may not be with you, but with a recent software update. If this is the case, you will soon see news items that address the problems of users. In that case, there is nothing to do but wait for a solution.

Uninstall and Install

Finally, a tip in the category “Have you already pulled the plug and plugged it in again?” It sometimes helps to remove the Android Auto app from your phone and then reinstall it. This solution is especially helpful when you can’t get the app to work for inexplicable reasons. It’s deleted like this:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android device and tap “Apps & Notifications,” or something similar;
  2. In the list of apps, go to ‘Android Auto‘ and tap ‘Uninstall‘ here.

you cannot delete the app, as it is a so-called system app. In that case, you can uninstall the updates. This will put a factory version of the Android car version on your phone. On phones with Android 9.0 (Pie) or a lower version, you can remove the app completely. Then it is a matter of reinstalling the app via an app file.

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