The new Android Auto update that arrives this summer brings a new look to Android Auto in your car and upgraded features. This is what you need to know about what we’re calling the 2019 Android Auto update.
Android Auto is one of our must have new car features and something that we look for as we review cars. Over the last year Apple CarPlay arrived in new vehicles and we are finally seeing some manufacturers test the waters with Android Auto support on select models after years of holding out.
You can use Android Auto in over 500 car models from more than 50 manufacturers and on older cars you can upgrade your stereo to Android Auto with a new head unit. This isn’t easy to do on new cars thanks to tight infotainment integration, but on cars with a normal stereo it’s a pretty easy upgrade.
When is the 2019 Android Update Release Date?
While Google is showing off a lot of new Android Q features and talking about Android Auto in more details at Google I/O, you don’t need to wait for the release. Google will be rolling out the Android Auto update to compatible vehicles in summer 2019.
This is as detailed as they get, which puts the release date sometime between June 21st and September 23rd based on the standard Summer dates in the U.S. this year. The 2019 Android Auto update will arrive when you plug your phone into one of these vehicles as an over the air update.
New Android Auto Features in 2019
Google’s primary focus with the 2019 Android Auto update is on the looks and ease of use in Android Auto. As you can see in the video above there is a new darker look and an area to see and control music and other items at the bottom of the screen. There is also a new notification area that will help you see alerts at a glance easier. Here’s a Full look at the new Android Auto features coming in summer 2019.
- Smart Start – When you get in your car, Android Auto will automatically start playing what you were already listening to and will open your default navigation app so that you can get started faster.
- Navigation Bar – There is a new navigation bar that will let you see turn by turn directions, control apps and other items without jumping between screens.
- Faster Access – Android Auto will now let you do more faster by cutting out the number of taps for common actions. Examples include getting turn by turn directions, rewinding a podcast or taking a call.
- Texts and Call Improvements – With this update the new notification center will show you recent calls and texts so that you can see them,listen or respond easier — even if that means waiting until you’re pulled over.
- Android Auto Dark Theme – We’re seeing more dark themed apps and that’s coming over to Android Auto with a new dark theme and bright accents so that you can easily see what you need.
- Wide Screen Support – Android Auto will now adapt to wider screens in cars so that you can see more information on-screen at once if you have a bigger screen.
We could see some other items appear and hopefully there are fixes for Android Auto disconnect issues that seem to plague some users.
Do I need a New Version of Android?
While Android Auto is part of Android, you don’t typically need an Android update to deliver the new features. Google’s shifted many of the major updates like this to Google Play, so you don’t need to wait for Android Q to roll out to your phone, which is very good news if you own an older phone or if you are already waiting on Samsung Q Android updates.
Is this Update Changing Android Auto On Your Phone?
The one thing we don’t know for sure about this update is if it will change how you use Android Auto on your phone. This allows users to open the Android Auto app and use the phone screen with a good phone mount to use a phone screen size version of Android Auto. We’ll hopefully learn more soon.
2019 Android Auto Compatibility Changes
This update doesn’t add in any new Android Auto capable cars, but there is good news from manufacturers who are working to add in support for models. One of the recent upgrades is to Toyota and Lexus.
Toyota is adding Android Auto compatibility to the 2020 4Runner, Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia. Lexus is adding support and making more announcements in the near future, but we expect that it could come to the same cars that feature Apple CarPlay. The new widescreen feature is especially interesting since Lexus vehicles include wider screens on many models.
You can check out the additional Android Auto vehicles on this list.
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