Android Auto got some useful new features in the 2021 holiday season that are definitely worth checking out.
Ahead of the 2021 holiday season, Google announced a slew of new features for Android Auto that will make your next road trip more convenient. This update laid the groundwork for another major Android Auto release in May 2022 featuring a split-screen view.
Below is a round-up of all the features that Google added to Android Auto before the 2021 holiday season.
1. Automatically Launch Android Auto
The release added an option to automatically launch Android Auto when your phone connects to your car’s Bluetooth system. Before this, you had to manually launch Android Auto after sitting in your vehicle.
2. Smart Reply for Messages
Android Auto and Google Assistant already make it easy to reply to incoming messages. But with the December 2021 update, Google added smart replies to make this process even easier.
After the update, Android Auto started displaying suggested replies for incoming messages, just like your phone. You can tap on the reply you want to send or use Google Assistant to quickly transcribe your voice into text.
3. Quickly Play Music
Google added a new always-on play button to Android Auto, so you can quickly start playing music from your favorite app without having to open it first. Additionally, you could use your voice to search for music in the music app of your choice by simply saying the artist’s name or song.
4. Digital Car Key
The December 2021 Android Auto update enabled Samsung Galaxy S21 or Google Pixel 6 users to use their phones to start, lock, and unlock their compatible BMW vehicles. This feature was made possible by the UWB chip found inside these devices.
Apple has provided similar functionality on iPhones for quite a while now, so Google was playing catch-up with Apple in this department. As Google noted in its announcement on The Keyword back then, the feature will only be available in select countries on the phones mentioned above.
Android Auto Keeps Getting Smarter
Following the December 2021 update, Google announced another major Android Auto update in May 2022 with split-screen support to better work on large-screen car infotainment displays. Besides the refreshed UI, the update introduced always-on navigation and media controls.
These regular updates from Google have helped improve Android Auto over the years and ensure that it better caters to users’ needs.