Google Maps Gets Huge Android Auto Update As Navigation Now Also Available on Phone

Google Maps can now run on Android and Android Auto simultaneously 15 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
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Google has quietly resolved a major Google Maps annoyance on Android Auto, enabling the app on both the mobile device and the dashboard screen simultaneously.
In other words, you can now do this natively if you want to use Google Maps on your mobile device without disconnecting the phone from the head unit and closing Android Auto.

Previously, if you connected the smartphone to a car AV receiver to launch Android Auto, Android automatically blocked the mobile version of Google Maps, telling users to stick with the larger screen on the dashboard.

Starting with the latest update, Google Maps is therefore available on both devices simultaneously, so users can stick with whatever version they feel is more advanced.

The feature first arrived for select users several months ago, and since then, the Mountain View-based search giant has been constantly working on refining it. The availability has been gradually improved, and this latest Google Maps update for Android seems to bring the new feature to all users running the app on Android Auto.

If you wonder who needs to run Google Maps on a mobile device when the application is already available on Android Auto, the answer comes down to a very simple scenario. Imagine you're waiting to pick up the kids from school and want to configure a route with multiple stops on your way home. Using the mobile device is much more convenient, as you can type faster, select the destination easier, and configure the route using the entire feature arsenal available in Google Maps.

Some Google Maps features aren't available on Android Auto, so once you set up everything on the mobile device, the route is automatically transferred to the larger screen.

The experience is greatly improved in cars with rotary controls, as typing using a control knob is a major pain in the neck. More often than not, drivers of such cars use the mobile device to set up navigation (especially as voice commands on Android Auto aren't always reliable), so with this update, using Google Maps is more straightforward.

The feature is part of the latest Google Maps update, so you only need to update the application to the newest version available on the Google Play Store. Alternatively, you can get the most recent APK installer and deploy the update manually on your device.

Time will tell if the same functionality eventually makes its way to Waze, but with this update, Google Maps is again regaining the navigation focus that it more or less lost in the last few months. On a similar front, Waze's integration in the maps division continues, with Google recently announcing the app's transition to Google ads. Analysts believe this is another step towards a complete demise, as Waze could eventually be integrated into Google Maps for one almighty solution.
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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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