There’s an Android Auto update that will be rolling out this summer, and it brings a number of small but meaningful changes to the interface.
Starting with the more basic added functions, Google’s announcement says you’ll now be able to personalize the launch screen directly from your phone. We’re not sure how deep this personalization goes quite yet, but it’s sure to take things beyond the current ability of hiding some apps and changing the order of others. You’ll also be allowed to manually set dark mode if you’d like to use it 100% of the time.
Browsing through long playlists in your media apps of choice is about to get a lot easier, too. Google says it’s adding A-Z quick scrolling functionality to the vertical scroll bar that’ll let you skip around in lengthy catalogs of songs. The same goes for your contacts list. Additionally, Google says a “back to top” option will pop up for a quick return to the top of any list you’re scrolling through.
The text messaging experience is said to be improved. Enhanced integration for more messaging apps like Whatsapp and others will be available globally now — we’ve enjoyed use of these messaging apps in the U.S. Android Auto for a little while now. It’s unclear if there are any new texting features for most American users coming with this update, but we’ll be looking for them once we get our hands on the software.
One of Google’s final updates concerns drivers of electric cars. Newly available integration of some EV charging, parking and navigation apps is coming, allowing you to start using them in Android Auto instead of your phone screen. Google was light on details, though, as we don’t yet know what apps will be available on Android Auto.
The last update Google outlined for us is an easier pairing process. First-time users won’t need to spend as much time getting started or plod through as many taps as before. You won’t notice this added convenience if you aren’t swapping between cars all the time, but at least when you do swap cars, there will be fewer steps between you and Android Auto.