Android Auto is a game changer in the car. Regardless of whether you have a dedicated Auto head unit, your car came Auto-ready, or you’re just using your phone in Auto mode, it’s a killer piece of software. But it can also be frustrating when things don’t work like they should. Here are some suggestions on what you can do if Auto isn’t working.
Step One: Check the Cable and Bluetooth Connections
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re using a dedicated Auto head unit, the cable is the first place to start. If Auto simply isn’t loading for you, try swapping out the cable for a different one. There’s a good chance the one you’re using has been damaged, which can cause all sorts of weird issues.
Along those same lines, make sure your phone is paired and connected to your car’s head unit. While Auto does most things over USB—play music, Maps voice commands, etc.—it does rely on Bluetooth for voice calls. You’ll know if you have an issue here pretty quickly—just tap the phone button in Auto’s menu. If it tells you to connect your phone to make calls, then Bluetooth is disconnected. You’ll likely need to unplug the phone from USB and return to your head unit’s settings menu to re-pair the device. For exact pairing instructions, consult your car or head unit’s instruction manual.
Step Two: Check the App’s Permissions and Notification Access
From this point forward, the rest of our suggestions will apply to both the native phone Auto interface and the head unit. So if you’re having issues on either interface, try these.
RELATED: What Is Android Auto, and Is It Better Than Just Using a Phone in Your Car?
App permissions can cause all sorts of weird issues if they’re not enabled, or have somehow become disabled. So if you’re having issues with phone calls, notifications, voice controls, or any mix of the bunch, this is where I’d start.
NOTE: the following steps were done on stock Android, so they may be slightly different depending on your handset’s manufacturer.
To check permissions, jump into Android’s settings menu. Pull down the notification shade and tap the gear icon.
From there, scroll down to “Apps.” It may be called “Applications” depending on your phone.
Tap “Android Auto,” then “Permissions.”
From here, just make sure everything is enabled. Enable anything that’s not already on to ensure the smoothest experience.
If you’re having an issue with notifications not coming through, you’ll also want to make sure Notification Access is enabled.
Back in the Apps menu (Settings > Apps) tap on the gear icon in the upper right.
Scroll down to the very bottom and tap on “Special Access.”
From there, tap on Notification Access.
Make sure Android Auto is enabled here.
Step Three: Clear All App Data and Start Over
If you’re still having issues after making sure all the necessary boxes are ticked, it may be time to basically “refresh” the app.
Again, we’re going jump into the Apps menu. So head back into Settings and tap “Apps,” then find Android Auto.
Tap on “Storage.”
Tap on “Clear Data.” This will essentially erase all of your custom settings, so you’ll have to start over the next time you use the app.
A warning will pop up letting you know this will remove all personal settings. Click “OK.”
Just like that, everything will be gone and you’re free to start over.
Step Four: Uninstall and Reinstall
If all else fails, you may have to resort to starting over from scratch completely. This is basically your last resort.
Jump into the Apps menu by heading into Settings > Apps. Find Android Auto.
Tap on it, then tap on “Uninstall.”
A popup will ask if you’re sure. Tap “OK.”
After a few seconds, the app will be gone.
Just to be on the safe side, restart your phone.
Once it’s back up and running, head over to the Google Play Store and re-install Android Auto.
Since you’re starting over from scratch, you’ll have to do the entire setup process again. But hopefully it’ll be worth it and everything will work as it should moving forward.
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