Google Releases Surprise Android Auto Update, Mysterious Changes Included

Google ships Android Auto updates at a much faster pace than it did a year ago, and that's definitely good news for everybody, especially considering the number of bugs swirling around these days.
Android Auto 10.9 is now rolling out 15 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Google
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What's not so impressive is Google's lack of transparency, as it's impossible to tell what's included in these updates because the company does not release a changelog.

Android Auto 10.9 makes no exception. The beta build showed up not long ago, and now the company has also started rolling out the stable version. Everybody can download the new Android Auto update, but users who stick with the standard Google Play rollout system will have to wait up to several weeks to receive it.

If you don't want to wait and don't mind doing the update job manually, you can download the Android Auto 10.9 stable APK and install it on your device. The process is easy and only involves saving the APK file on your smartphone, browsing to its location, and tapping it to initiate the update. If your device uses the default installation policy, you must allow app deployment from non-Google Play Store sources.

I installed Android Auto 10.9 but can't spot any differences, likely as Google has focused on under-the-hood changes. The features that have been spotted lately are not live on my device either.

Google is working on a new wallpaper feature that will allow users to use the same background on Android Auto and their mobile devices. The wallpaper will roam across devices, offering more consistency in the Android world when switching screens. The feature is believed to be in the early days, so it could take a while until Google starts enabling it for production devices. Android Auto 10.9 does not include it.

The company is also developing an easy way to disconnect a smartphone from the head unit when running Android Auto wireless. If you're using the wireless connection mode, you probably know the only way to disconnect your phone is toggling Bluetooth to the off setting. It's the only option when trying to use another device in the car to run Android Auto, as otherwise, the head unit automatically connects to the primary phone you use for the application.

Google will soon update Android Auto with a disconnect button in the notification center on the mobile device. Tapping this button will instantly disconnect the wireless connection, allowing the user to stick with Bluetooth (which comes in handy whenever Android Auto doesn't run properly and users want to use Bluetooth for calls and music listening) or connect to another phone in the cabin. The work is still in progress on this feature, so it's not available in Android Auto 10.9.

The Google Play Store rollout happens in stages, so while some users might receive Android Auto 10.9 earlier, others might have to wait until December to receive it.
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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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