Great Feature Gone Wrong: Android Auto Warning of Overheating Phones for No Reason

Nobody likes overheating phones, and a mobile device struggling with excessive heat is certainly something you wouldn't want to deal with behind the wheel.
Android Auto home screen 15 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
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If we've learned something from the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blunder, it's how to deal with overheating devices. Everybody now pays more attention to device temperature, including not only the companies that make these products but also the customers that use them.

A new Android Auto error that seemingly issues warning alerts for no reason is now plaguing users who install the latest version.

Here's everything you need to know about this scary notification appearing on your car's infotainment screen.

Like your mobile device, Android Auto can warn that your smartphone gets hot, letting you know when to remove it from charging. Additionally, you can also give the mobile device extra time to cool down, as a device struggling to deal with excessive heat suffers from critical slowdowns and can no longer run apps properly.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
The overheating warning issued by the device is typically mirrored on the Android Auto screen, so you can see the notification on the smartphone and the head unit. The odd behavior now happening in the Android Auto only includes an infotainment warning, with the mobile device not displaying an overheating alert.

The mobile device is not displaying the same alert because the phone isn't even hot. Android Auto seemingly generates the error without the mobile device suffering from overheating, recommending that users to disconnect the phone from the charger. Android Auto does not disconnect, and everything continues to run correctly despite the warning.

One of my colleagues encountered the error this weekend. He uses a Galaxy Fold to run Android Auto, but people online claim the same behavior happens in their cars with other phones. Many signs suggest the problem is exclusive to Samsung smartphones, but it's too early to tell if this assumption is correct. Everybody believes the phone suffers from overheating, but when picking up the device to connect it from the charger, the device doesn't feel hot. My colleague said the phone was also running normally, with no slowdown in other apps.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
It's unclear why Android Auto issued these warnings, but the first reports landed this week. It's likely a new bug introduced by a recent update, albeit it doesn't affect all users. I run Android Auto wireless with a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and don't see the message. I also use a wireless charger while driving.

Someone on Reddit explained they got the same message for a wired connection. It means the problem is not exclusive to Android Auto wireless, so a recent update might indeed be the culprit.

The warning typically goes away after disconnecting the mobile device from the charger but reappears a few minutes into the next drive. It looks like the notification is generated automatically at a pre-defined time after Android Auto loads.

The "phone is overheating, remove from wireless charger" message alerts users, with some readers telling me they immediately pulled over to check the mobile device and disconnect it from the charger. Some say they didn't want to take any risk and purchased a new charger.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Google has yet to comment on the bug, but based on the number of reports, the company should kick off an investigation as soon as possible.

The Android Auto version misbehaving in my colleague's car is 11.2, but one reader told me they encountered the same problem on version 11.1.

The most recent Android Auto stable update is version 11.3. It was released this weekend and can be installed today by sideloading the APK. The rollout through the Google Play Store happens in stage, so it'll take a while until everybody receives the new version.

Meanwhile, no workaround seems to exist to prevent the overheating message from appearing. While the alert disappears when disconnecting the phone from the charger, it keeps returning when reloading Android Auto. Clearing the app's cache and data doesn't prevent it from appearing again. Downgrading doesn't seem to be a solution, either.

If the bug is exclusive to Samsung phones, it wouldn't be the first problem plaguing the devices manufactured by the South Korean company. Android Auto connection errors are now plaguing the brand's latest flagship, with Samsung Galaxy S24 owners complaining they can't run the app after upgrading to the latest-generation device. The connection problems also don't affect everybody, but the number of reports prompted Samsung to issue an advisory to detail potential workarounds.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
It's unclear if Samsung is also investigating these latest reports, but the experience with the company's phones is becoming very challenging behind the wheel. The overheating warning could make people anxious about using their smartphones with Android Auto, sometimes making them pull over to disconnect the mobile device.

I've also contacted Samsung for more information and will update the article if and when I hear back.
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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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