Google Silently Kills Off Android Auto on an Old Android Version

Android Auto now requires Android 6.0 or later 1 photo
Photo: Google
Google keeps making under the hood changes for Android Auto users, and one of the most recent silent tweaks concerns the operating systems that are supposed by the app.
According to a recent discovery, Android Auto no longer works on devices that run Android 5.0, an operating system whose general availability was announced in November 2014.

While the Android Auto app can still be downloaded and installed from the Google Play Store on a device running this six-year-old OS version, it would no longer run, and as it turns out, not even the phone interface is supported anymore.

In other words, if you want to continue using Android Auto on an old device, you must be running at least Android 6.0.

Google no longer provides public data regarding the Android version distribution, but the last time such information was available in early 2020, Android 5.0 was running on less than 10 percent of the devices out there. What this means is that the number of customers potentially affected by this silent change is likely very small.

On the other hand, this means nothing for someone using a new-generation Android device. Google has recently released Android 11 to the first wave of smartphones, but right now, the ecosystem is dominated by handsets running Android 9 and 10.

Android 11, however, comes with an important change for the Android Auto experience, as it enables the wireless mode for all devices running this OS version, as long as a compatible head unit is installed in the car. Previously, Android Auto wireless was only available on select Google Pixel and Samsung devices, so with the release of Android 11, this restriction is officially removed, and this mode can be enabled with phones from other brands too.

The Android 11 rollout is still underway at the time of writing. Samsung is yet to begin shipping this OS update to its devices, but the first flagships should begin getting Android 11 in late 2020 or early 2021.
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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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