If you’ve been relying on the screen on your Android mobile device to display Android Auto, you won’t be able to when Android 12 arrives and when you make the transition to it. The OS is in its fourth beta on selected devices and is slated to be officially released later this year.
With its arrival, the plug is being pulled on the Android Auto for Phone Screens app, handy for those looking for the Android Auto experience but without a vehicle infotainment system capable of handling it. Debuting in 2019 as a stop-gap measure to offset the delay in the introduction of delayed Google Assistant Driving Mode, the app is set to be replaced by Google Assistant Driving Mode.
According to 9to5Google, phone users running on Android 12 beta have started reporting that Android Auto for Phone Screens is no longer accessible to users, with a notice telling users that “Android Auto is now only available for car screens, and “to try Google Assistant Driving Mode instead.”
You can find Google Assistant Driving Mode in Google Maps, with a pop-up inviting you to try it when you set a destination. The interface is noticeably different from what you’ll find in Android Auto for Phone Screens, with the map view taking up the majority of the screen, joined by a bar with large, on-screen buttons for quick access to the app drawer and voice assistant. Playing media like Spotify will result in an additional bar with limited controls to appear near the bottom of the screen.
The impending switch will only impact those with devices running on Android 12, essentially newer phones and future devices. According to Google, Android Auto for Phone Screens will continue to be accessible to users running on older versions of its OS, and of course, Android Auto on vehicles will continue to offer the built-in mobile experience as usual.
Locally, Android Auto is not available on the Google Play Store, so that feature has never been official here, with users on earlier OS needing to install an Android application package (APK) for it, manually updating it each time. Android 10 users have AA baked into the operating system, which can run wired (or wirelessly, if supported) on vehicle infotainment systems that support it, but the phone screen app itself has been a sideload APK affair.
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