Using Android Auto


As you might have heard, I have a new car and a new phone. One result of which is that I now have the ability to hook my phone into the car’s systems for navigation and such (before, it was just audio via a headphone cable). I’ve installed the Android Auto app, which seems to have some good features, but there are certainly some weird things. So, I thought I’d ask the hivemind for any tips.

I’ve got two connection options: USB cable or Bluetooth. I prefer the cable because it also charges my phone, and it puts the display on the car’s touchscreen. If you use Bluetooth, no charging and the display stays on the phone. But, if I use the USB cable then I can’t use the “make a call” feature…says that only works on Bluetooth. Anyone know if there’s a setting to allow me to get the features of both connections?

Assuming that answer is no, another option would be to get one of those phone cradle things that you mount on your dash. Any suggestions for a good one? It would have to provide power and make it easy to use the phone’s screen (since I wouldn’t be using the car’s screen).

Also, Android Auto doesn’t seem to have an option for accessing existing text messages. It’ll pop up a notification if you get a new one (allowing you to listen/reply) but no way to get to existing messages. Anyone know if there’s a way to do that?


I’ve been using Android auto for about 6 months now and really like it. You can make calls still by just activating the voice reader and saying “call…”.

I think you can only read new text messages or Whatsapp messages as they come in, you can’t read old ones when it is activated.


I highly recommend ProClip cradles. They don’t plan to have Qi charging.

My car doesn’t have a display so Android Auto didn’t work well for me.


Android Auto actually requires both a USB and Bluetooth connection (at least in my car). When I plug it in, it asks if I want to launch Android Auto, and when I do, it turns on Bluetooth if it’s off and connects to the car. My complaint is that the usb port my car uses is low power, so it actually does not charge the phone – it keeps it roughly flat during use – so I don’t use it most of the time.

It’s nice for Google music. I hear they added Waze support to it a while back, which would be useful.


Huh, maybe mine is actually doing that. I’ll try a call next time I’m connected with USB and see if that’s what’s going on. If so, their UI sucks since it has a pop-up window that says it’s disconnecting Bluetooth whenever I plug it in. But hey, better a bad UI than non-functional!


I’ve used android auto for the past 2 cars and 3 phones and never seen a message like that. Bluetooth just automatically turns on whenever I plug the phone into the USB cable.


Yep, I tried it tonight and I was able to make a call with the USB plugged in. So that pop-up message is just terribly misleading!

Now if I can find a 2-foot USB cable that actually works with my phone, I’ll be in good shape. I bought one off Amazon but it won’t do any data transfer (despite saying that it should). Probably gonna have to return it and try again.


I’ve been using Anker 3ft USB-C to USB-3 with android auto, no issues.


Allow me to make a diversion/complaint. Play Music for Android Auto doesn’t allow me to browse music by Artist/Album/Genre/Song! I can only choose Playlist or Recent?!? Or Radio??!!?? I’ve dumped over 1000 songs into my phone with zero playlists. All I can do is play recent songs! Is there some way to at least let me play songs in random, until I force myself to setup playlists? (Do I really have to make playlists?)

On the other hand, my 2 podcast players work fantastic. They both lists everything properly*, and shows extra controls for going back 15 seconds/going forward 30 seconds.

*Android Auto limits lists to the first 20 or so entries…it won’t let me browse the others unless the car is in Park gear…


Wow the UI isn’t good at all for that, you are right. :(

In better news though, it responded well to voice commands. I just tested and “play album Discovery by Daft Punk” worked perfectly. “Play Carpenter Brut” also worked great, it played me a mix of Carpenter Brut songs.


Yep, same issue with Amazon Music. My solution is just to make one playlist with every song I wanted for driving, do the local download option in the Amazon Music app, and then in Android Auto I can just shuffle that playlist.


As an Apple user, I’m extremely jealous that Android Auto can use Waze and Google Maps. Apple need to get their act together.