Google Maps Makes a Good Case for Switching to Another Navigation App on Android Auto

Google Maps on Android Auto 9 photos
Photo: Florin Profir/autoevolution
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Just like all the other sat-nav solutions out there, Google Maps needs GPS access to work properly. Unfortunately for Android Auto users, this is precisely what the app is losing once the Android device where Google Maps is installed is connected to a head unit in the car.
Due to a reason that is yet to be determined, Google Maps loses the GPS signal only when Android Auto is running. If users run the app without their mobile devices mirroring the UI on a media receiver, everything is working properly.

This seems to suggest that the culprit is a recent Android Auto update, though it’s not very clear what version is causing the GPS problems – at this point, the most recent stable build is 8.7, but its rollout has started literally a few hours ago, so there’s a good chance the one to blame is version 8.6.

Users who encountered the error say they are getting the GPS signal lost message right after launching Google Maps. They claim they’ve tried the typical workarounds, including checking the battery saving settings, location permissions, and so on. They aren’t located in an area with tall buildings or tunnels either, so Google Maps should theoretically work properly.

And it does, only that it somehow loses the GPS signal when Android Auto kicks in.

No workaround has been found at this point, but the only solution for people who rely on Google Maps navigation for every minute behind the wheel have no other option than to switch to another similar solution. It looks like Waze is running properly on Android Auto, so the GPS signal lost issue could come down to a compatibility error with Google Maps.

As we told you only a few days ago, the GPS signal problems in Google Maps could also be caused by various other problems. The application could no longer be able to determine your connection when the mobile device is placed in the lower part of the dashboard where the GPS signal could be blocked. This doesn’t seem to be the case this time though, as users claim that Google Maps is always working properly when the device is not connected to the Android Auto head unit.

Google is currently looking into reports and waiting for more information from users, but for now, it’s obviously too early to tell when a fix could go live. Unfortunately, this means all the impacted users are more or less forced to switch to another navigation app until a fix goes live, or to just stick with Google Maps without connecting their devices to Android Auto. These aren’t the most convenient solutions, but they are pretty much the only ways to get navigation guidance if this bug occurs.
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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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