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Android Auto Taking Over the Radio in the Car Forcing Internet-Based Apps

In theory, even if you’re running Android Auto on the head unit in your car, you can still listen to the radio because you’re always in control of the source of audio.
The media glitch is already under investigation 1 photo
Photo: Apple Valley Toyota
But not a long time ago, users have discovered that Android Auto forces the media to come from an app installed on the Android device, thus taking over the radio on launch and afterward.

Users who turned to Google’s forums to report the problem claim that even if they manually revert to the radio after running Android Auto, the switch to media apps automatically occurs either immediately or after a few minutes.

Same issue started happening to me, VW Golf GTI. Head unit radio only works if the phone (Pixel 3) is unlocked or disconnected from the car, obviously completely defeating the purpose of Android Auto,” one user posted earlier this week.

At the time of writing, no workaround is known to exist, though some users claim they managed to restore the radio by keeping their smartphones unlocked. That's obviously not very convenient, especially during long drives.

Also, it’s not known if downgrading to a previous version of Android Auto resolves the problem; on the other hand, installing the latest updates doesn’t seem to produce any improvement. Users have reported this behavior with various mobile devices, such as the Google Pixel and Samsung phones, as well as in a wide variety of car models, including from Nissan, Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai, and others.

The good news is that Google is already investigating the whole thing, though for now, there’s no ETA as to when the company could come up with a fix.

A Google community specialist said the reports have already been forwarded to the Android Auto team, who is monitoring the available information to conduct a thorough investigation of the bug. More details on what’s happening will only be shared at a later time.
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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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