Android Auto 11.8 Now Available With a Change Google Probably Forgot About

The Android Auto old redesign is almost complete 16 photos
Photo: Google/autoevolution edits
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Google started the Android Auto 11.8 rollout a few days ago, but as per the company's typical (and often frustrating) approach, the new version comes without a changelog.
It means it's impossible to tell what's new in this version without first downloading and dissecting the update on your device.

While Android Auto 11.8 doesn't seem to include any big changes at first, it looks like the new version does come with big news under the hood. And for now, only a few users are getting it.

The long-overdue Settings menu overhaul, which Google promised many years ago, has started rolling out to users with the release of Android Auto 11.8. However, the new look isn't tied to the latest version, so installing Android Auto 11.8 won't enable the new Settings screen design on your device. Google uses a server-controlled rollout, meaning some users will have to wait longer than others to get the new look.

The Settings screen now uses the Material You design, aligning with the rest of the operating system. The biggest change is undoubtedly the support for a dark theme, so if you use Android in dark mode, the Android Auto settings screen can now follow the same visual style.

The new Settings UI
Photo: 9to5Google
It's unclear why Google needed so much time to bring this long overdue facelift to the Android Auto settings screen, but it probably forgot about this part of the app, mainly because you shouldn't use it too often. Once you configure Android Auto, you rarely go to the Settings interface, as the car interface is the one you typically interact with.

However, creating more consistency on Android is definitely a good thing, especially considering that the previous Android Auto Settings interface lacked a dark mode. It still does, as the developer options use the previous visual style with a light theme.

Android Auto 11.8 is now rolling out to users worldwide through the Google Play Store, but the process could take up to several weeks to complete, so you might have to wait a while until you see the new version. You can always download and install version 11.8 manually using the stand-alone APK installer.

Google hasn't yet announced the Settings screen redesign, and I doubt the company will talk about this subtle change in the app, mainly because it's a bit embarrassing to ship it several years after originally launching the Android Auto redesign.

However, the search giant could discuss its Android Auto plans at the I/O developer event in the coming weeks, where it typically unveils its short-term strategy for essential products. Android Auto and Android Automotive have become key products for Google's expansion in the automotive space, especially as competition in this space is getting fiercer, with Apple fully committed to CarPlay and Apple Maps after the demise of the Apple Car.
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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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