Android Auto Not Reading Messages? These Fixes Could Help

Android Auto home screen on Coolwalk redesign 6 photos
Photo: Google
Android Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interface
One of the main benefits of Android Auto is the way it is integrated into the driving experience. Thanks to support for voice commands, for example, Android Auto significantly reduces distraction, as it allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road and still be able to interact with the apps installed on the mobile device.
Then, the application is also fitted with other capabilities whose purpose is also to help the person behind the wheel to always focus on the road.

One of them is the support for reading incoming messages. Also powered by Google Assistant, this feature allows Android Auto users to have their messages read out loud whenever they arrive on the mobile device.

By design, Android Auto displays a notification when a new message arrives. Users can then listen to the message, as this is the only way to access the content in the first place, otherwise, reading the text is blocked on Android Auto for obvious reasons.

In the last few major updates, the experience with messages has been further polished with new capabilities. Google also added quick responses, therefore making it easier for users to reply to messages without causing too much distraction.

Unfortunately, the experience with incoming messages on Android Auto is leaving a lot to be desired these days. This is because the app sometimes fails to read messages out loud, all for a reason that nobody seems to be able to figure out.

Spotted in late December, the glitch was happening after an Android Auto update (at this point, the most recent version of the app is 8.7, but in early January when the issue become more widespread, Android Auto 8.5 was the build available broadly).

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google
While Google asked for additional information and phone logs from users encountering the glitch, a full fix is yet to be released. This means users are still trying to find a solution themselves, and the workarounds we’re sharing below sometimes managed to bring the expected behavior back on Android Auto.

The first idea that you should try is to reset the cache and clear the data of both Android Auto and the Google app. This should help users get rid of errors and corrupt data – keep in mind that in some cases, this means you’ll have to re-configure Android Auto from scratch on the head unit.

The Google app is the one responsible for the integration of Google Assistant in the car. As such, resetting the app on the Android device also helps remove any errors that you are encountering, including the Assistant failing to read incoming messages.

This is a solution that worked for some users, but as we said earlier, no universal fix is known to exist.

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google
This leads us to the second recommendation. The issue appears to be in some way related to work profiles that are configured on Android Auto. While for some users this is a must-have setting of the app, it looks like that enabling the work profile no longer allows Android Auto to read messages out loud. As a result, disabling work profiles completely (or even removing them if you are allowed to do this on your device) should bring things back to normal.

In some cases, simply disabling and re-enabling work profiles allows Google Assistant to read messages correctly – there is a chance that once you use these toggles, the configuration is reset, and the expected functionality is restored. However, you should first check to see if the messages are read correctly with work profiles disabled completely.

The most awkward fix concerns the settings of your navigation application. If you’re using Google Maps on the device to get turn-by-turn guidance, just make sure that the navigation voice is not configured to mute. If it is, it appears that enabling the voice guidance in the navigation app brings things back to normal. It’s not precisely clear why this is making such a big difference, and while it’s not exactly the most convenient workaround, once the sat-nav voice is unmuted, Google Assistant is able to read messages system-wide as well.

And last but not least, users should always (but always!) make sure they are running the most recent app versions released by Google. In this case, the one you should specifically make sure is up-to-date is the Google app, as it’s the one powering the voice commands and hands-free interaction on Android Auto. I’m seeing reports that the most recent versions of the Google app (the current stable version at the time of writing is 14.3.15, so any build newer than this should be good to go).

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google
At this point, Google continues the investigation, but it’s too early to tell when a fix could go live. This means the workarounds detailed here are pretty much your only options, but if you discover another solution that brings things back to normal, make sure you let out readers know about it using the comment box below.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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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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