5 Things You Must Know If You Don’t Like Android Auto Coolwalk

Some people want Coolwalk to go away 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Android Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interface
Google's Coolwalk brings a modern overhaul to Android Auto in the car, yet this doesn't make it everybody's cup of tea. The card-based look causes frustration in the Android Auto community, with some users calling for Google to bring back the previous UI.
Everybody knows this won't happen, so if you don’t like Coolwalk, you need to learn to live with it.

With a card-based setup, similar to the CarPlay Dashboard, the Android Auto redesign allows users to run multiple apps side-by-side. The main benefit is that this functionality is supported regardless of display size, as previously, having two apps on the same screen was only possible for devices with a wide resolution.

Coolwalk puts the focus on the essential apps that people use behind the wheel, including navigation and music. Phone calls can be managed from the main screen as well, with Google Assistant also displaying contextual cards that make sense for what happens on the display.

Despite all these improvements, some users claim Coolwalk isn’t their favorite cup of tea. As such, they are looking for a way to go back to the previous interface that put the focus on just a single app.

You can’t disable Coolwalk

Some people can’t wait for Google to enable Coolwalk on their devices, but others want it to go away by all means. If you’re looking for a way to disable the new interface, you'd better give up.

There’s no easy way to do this, and Coolwalk is Google’s modern approach for Android Auto going forward.

I’ve seen users trying to block Android Auto updates, hoping that Coolwalk wouldn’t be enabled on their devices. There are two reasons this isn't going to produce any improvement.

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google
First of all, the Android Auto redesign is enabled with a server-side switch, so it’s not tied to a specific update. This means it will show up on your device with or without an update.

Second of all, you’ll still be forced to update to a newer Android Auto version eventually, as Google regularly drops older builds to focus on the latest improvements.

Using Coolwalk like the “old” Android Auto

The previous interface in Android Auto focused on a full-screen experience, so if you don’t want to stick with the card-based UI, that’s quite alright.

All you need to do to return to a more familiar approach is to simply run your apps in full screen. To do this, just tap the card of the app you want to use the entire screen, and then use the app dock to toggle between navigation, music playback, phone calls, and so on.

The Coolwalk interface is only supposed to play the role of a modern home screen, but you should be able to ignore it completely. Sure, you might lose some new-generation functionality, such as the contextual cards, but otherwise, you can stick with apps running in full screen just fine.

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google

The weather information

One of the reasons that made people criticize Coolwalk was the lack of weather information. Truth be told, many users really liked having the current temperature and the conditions displayed in the status bar, but Coolwalk brings everything to a whole new level. With a catch, of course.

The weather info in the status bar has been replaced by a dedicated card. The same details are now displayed in the Coolwalk UI, only if you have a portrait screen.

That’s right, the weather card doesn’t show up on displays with a landscape orientation, but I’m being told that Google is working on fixing this as we speak.

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google

Don’t blame Coolwalk for bugs

A very popular opinion I’ve seen lately is that Coolwalk completely broke down Android Auto from a functionality perspective. Some say that after the new UI was enabled, the app launches to a black screen, crashes in the middle of driving, and the navigation freezes for no reason.

This behavior is very unlikely, as Coolwalk hasn’t changed too much in the way the app works.

Just like before, the black screens or the app crashes could be caused by other problems, such as a faulty connection between the mobile device and the head unit. If you believe Coolwalk is the culprit for these errors, you should turn to the generic workarounds, which involve clearing the cache and the stored data, reinstalling the app, and trying out a new cable.

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google

Coolwalk went away for no reason

Others believe Coolwalk produces too much instability in the Android Auto ecosystem, as the new interface showed up and went away on some devices apparently for no reason.

But while the Android Auto redesign could sometimes go away, this happens for a very good reason.

Google is rolling out Coolwalk in stages, specifically to be able to discover bugs in an early stage. Once this happens, the company can suspend the rollout or even disable the new interface on devices that could be impacted by a glitch. As such, the redesign could sometimes go away, with Google to re-enable it at a later time, when all issues are fixed.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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