Android Auto is the integrated car software experience you get when connecting an Android phone to a compatible car. However, some older phones are losing access to the feature.
9to5Google first noticed that Google updated its Android Auto support articles, which now state the feature now only works on phones running Android 8.0 ‘Oreo’ or later. The change appears to have started with Android Auto version 7.5.6213, released back in April of this year, according to data from app host APKMirror. The Play Store listing says the latest version “varies by device,” indicating old phones might still be able download the older versions, but they won’t receive new features and could break at some point in the future.
The good news is that the minimum requirement for Android Auto is still generous — your phone must be running Android 8.0 or later, which was first released in 2017. Based on distribution data Google released in November of last year, that includes 82.7% of actively-used Android devices. However, that number includes tablets, Chromebooks, and other non-phone devices that most people wouldn’t use with Android Auto.
Android Auto was previously compatible with all phones running Android 6.0 ‘Marshmallow’ or newer, which accounts for 94.1% of all devices. The change leaves behind any phones that were never (officially) updated to Android 8.0 or later, which includes the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Google Nexus 5.
It’s always a shame when older devices are left behind with software updates, but considering the past five years of Android releases are still supported, Android Auto’s new higher requirements won’t negatively affect too many people. Any of the best Android phones will be a great replacement for old devices, though you may have to kiss the headphone jack goodbye if you’re coming from a 2015-era phone.