Wireless Android Auto with Google Maps is terrible

Android Auto in Volkswagen ID.4 Google Maps Navigation

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

On paper, wi-fi Android Auto is like a dream come true. You hop within the automobile, rev ‘er up, and your cellphone’s apps and companies magically seem in your infotainment system. Inside seconds, you’re listening to your music, receiving turn-by-turn navigation directions, and delivering voice instructions for texting, cellphone calls, and extra. It’s like we’re residing sooner or later!

After all, that’s solely on paper. In the actual world, utilizing Android Auto wirelessly could be such a trouble that you just would possibly wish to leap again to utilizing it wired — and even drop it altogether.

I not too long ago obtained a new-to-me automobile — a 2019 Subaru Crosstrek — which comes with Android Auto as commonplace. It solely helps wired connections natively, however I used to be in a position to receive a Motorola MA1 dongle that brings wi-fi assist to any Android Auto car. After utilizing this setup for a number of weeks now, I’m severely questioning whether or not or not Google totally thought out its rollout of wi-fi assist. It merely doesn’t really feel prepared for primetime.

Wireless Android Auto merely would not really feel prepared for primetime.

As an example the issues I’ve confronted, I’m going to focus quite a bit on certainly one of Google’s personal companies: Maps. Certainly, if something ought to work nicely with a wi-fi Auto system, it could be Maps, proper?

Getting began? How one can join Android Auto to your automobile

Arms-free Maps? No thanks.

As any Android Auto person will know, you may’t use the cellphone model of Google Maps when you are utilizing the Android Auto model. Whether or not you’re utilizing it wired or wirelessly, Maps turns into solely accessible through your automobile’s show when you’re related. If you happen to attempt to open Maps in your cellphone whereas engaged with Auto, the app merely doesn’t open.

The Auto model of Maps, nevertheless, is extremely watered down when in comparison with the total cellphone app. Looking for restaurant menus is inconceivable, for instance, and doing granular searches for particular locations isn’t simple both. “Malls which might be inside 25 miles of me and open at 6:00 PM,” as an illustration, could be troublesome to navigate in your automobile’s show. Since you may’t use your cellphone to determine these items out, you simply…can’t?

Google Maps performance is severely restricted whereas related to Android Auto.

It’s apparent why Google limits the cellphone model of Maps on this means. The entire level of Android Auto is to drive you to go away your cellphone alone and deal with the highway. Nonetheless, there are quite common conditions that Google doesn’t appear to take note of with this limitation. One is apparent: what if you’re parked? Utilizing the cellphone model of Maps whereas parked is utterly protected, however Maps nonetheless gained’t work in your cellphone when you’re related. And it’s not like Android Auto doesn’t know you’re parked. It should know as a result of it turns Android Auto’s keyboard on or off relying on whether or not or not the automobile is in movement.

Further complaints: Android Auto is so unhealthy it made me change again to the iPhone

One well beyond this is to show your automobile off. Within the case of my Crosstrek, nevertheless, you don’t disconnect wirelessly from Auto by turning off the automobile alone. As a result of the automobile assumes you’ll nonetheless wish to take heed to music or whatnot whereas parked, Android Auto stays engaged till you open the driver-side door and take the important thing out of the ignition.

To regain full Maps management, I must park, flip off the car, open the door, take out my key, shut the door, after which wait.

So, in different phrases, to make use of the cellphone model of Maps whereas within the automobile and related to wi-fi Android Auto, I must park, flip off the car, open the door, take out my key, shut the door, after which anticipate Auto to completely disengage. Then I determine what I would like from Maps, restart the automobile, anticipate my cellphone to reconnect, after which go on my means. How handy!

Nonetheless, if I used Android Auto with a cable, this could not be as vital of an issue. I might simply unplug and use Maps on my cellphone to my coronary heart’s content material. I might even do this whereas driving! I wouldn’t, in fact, however that brings us to a different big subject that comes up when utilizing Auto wirelessly.

Hey, Google: Typically there are two folks within the automobile

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra stacked on top of the OnePlus 9 Pro

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Crosstrek is a shared car between my accomplice and me. I’m the motive force most instances, however there are many instances she drives it as a substitute. It’s solely logical that she would additionally join her personal cellphone wirelessly to Android Auto.

This creates an explosion of much more issues. The primary is big; there’s no technique to management who will get precedence for wi-fi Android Auto. Theoretically, when there are two telephones current, Auto ought to prioritize connecting to whichever cellphone was most not too long ago related. Nonetheless, we now have seen this fail quite a few instances.

Continued studying: How one can replace Android Auto

I’ve heard that some programs will let you set a precedence record for the automobile’s Bluetooth connections and Auto defaults to this record. For instance, if Cellphone A seems on the high of the BT record, Auto will all the time go for this cellphone first. If it’s not there, then it goes for Cellphone B and so forth. This doesn’t seem like the case with the Crosstrek, and if it is it definitely isn’t constant. I couldn’t discover any documentation on-line from Google to say if this could work this manner or not.

It is clear that wi-fi Android Auto is not designed for a number of telephones.

Even when we might management the precedence, that wouldn’t change the truth that there is no direct technique to change who’s related after the actual fact. If I’m driving and need entry to my cellphone however her cellphone auto-connects first, there is no technique to inform Android Auto to drop that connection and transfer over to mine. As an alternative, she would wish to terminate her personal connection after which anticipate my cellphone to attach. This workaround is terribly inconvenient, first off, but in addition woefully sluggish. As soon as Auto realizes she’s “gone,” it may take a number of minutes for it to then auto-connect to my cellphone. Typically it doesn’t join in any respect! When that occurs, we really want to show the automobile off, open the automobile door, shut it, restart the automobile, and anticipate Auto to hook up with my cellphone. How is this OK, Google?

Android Auto Wireless connect a car

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Let’s return to Maps for a second. With one other particular person within the automobile, the issues I described within the earlier part would appear to be solved, proper? My accomplice can use her cellphone’s Maps to seek out that mall inside 25 miles and open at 6:00 PM for us after which I can use Auto to navigate there. Sadly, this additionally is a clunky expertise. There’s no means for her to ship me the data, for instance. She will share a location or route with me from inside Maps, however that share goes to e-mail, which is inaccessible via Auto. She will’t even textual content me a hyperlink as a result of Android Auto doesn’t acknowledge URLs in messages.

The one workaround for this is to select up the cellphone and discover the hyperlink, whether or not it’s in an e-mail or a textual content. When she’s within the automobile, this is tremendous, since she will do it safely from the passenger’s seat. You’ll be able to guess how I would wish to do that if she wasn’t within the automobile (trace: by breaking the regulation).

Wish to share instructions to Android Auto? Nope, you’d have to select up your cellphone.

After all, Google doesn’t need us to do that in any respect. I’m positive it could say she or I ought to simply inform Android Auto to navigate to the mall utilizing a voice command. That sounds good, however what if we’d like a selected route? What if we now have a number of stops? What if Maps has bother discovering the particular mall to which we wish to go? It could be a lot simpler to set all this up in Maps forward of time after which ship it to Android Auto.

Crazily sufficient, even a wired connection wouldn’t assist us right here. Let’s say we had been related with a cable. My accomplice might disconnect my cellphone after which use the total model of Maps to create a selected path to the mall with a number of stops. Nonetheless, when she plugs it again in, that may all disappear as a result of Android Auto’s model of the app is its personal factor. As soon as once more, how is this even remotely OK, Google?

Wireless Android Auto and Google Maps: Simply use Waze

Waze stock image 7

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I spent a bunch of time chatting with of us and lurking in varied subreddits attempting to determine how greatest to strategy these issues. Time and time once more, I noticed the identical recommendation: simply use Waze. Utilizing Waze in your automobile’s show frees up Maps from dominance by Android Auto. If you happen to’re utilizing Waze — which, to be clear, is additionally owned by Google — you (or your passenger) can nonetheless use Maps in your related cellphone. On this scenario, I can park and depart the automobile working whereas I take advantage of Maps to determine the place to go. As soon as I determine it out, I can have Waze do the navigation. I nonetheless can’t ship a number of stops or customized routes, however no less than I can get issues executed quicker and extra effectively.

After all, this doesn’t repair the opposite wi-fi Android Auto issues, resembling not having the ability to management who is related. Nonetheless, it’s the perfect various we’ve discovered up to now.

Isn’t that one thing? The least-terrible means to make use of the navigation inside wi-fi Auto is to not use Google Maps, one of many firm’s star merchandise.

Extra on this: Android Auto issues and find out how to repair them

Regardless, my accomplice and I are beginning to suppose that going again to a wired connection for Android Auto might be higher. We can have direct management over who’s related and, if we use Waze, we gained’t face as many points with Google Maps. We are able to solely hope that Google truly figures these items out quickly so we will expertise Android Auto the best way Google thinks it may present.