Here’s How You Can Download Android Auto 8.8 Right Now

As a long-time Android Auto user, I already know that every time a new version comes out, the desire to install it immediately faces fierce opposition from the thought that I could end up unable to use the app in my car.
Android Auto 8.8 is now available for download 13 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
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This is because Android Auto updates have often become the culprits of new bugs that users did not expect to encounter because new releases are typically supposed to refine the performance of an app.

In the case of Android Auto, installing new updates often proved to be a risky game. While users could indeed receive worthy fixes, they might also end up struggling with new bugs that sometimes were impossible to address with generic workarounds.

The Android Auto update rollout

Before anything else, it’s important to understand how the rollout of new Android Auto versions takes place. Google uses an approach that others are relying on as well, including Microsoft for the Windows operating system.

The search company ships app updates through the Google Play Store, but it uses a controlled rollout strategy to make sure major bugs that escaped unnoticed don’t cause too much damage to production devices.

This means only a small set of Android phones receive the new Android Auto updates in the first 24 hours. During this whole time, Google is analyzing reliability and stability data, trying to determine the likelihood of users coming across glitches after installing the latest version.

Android Auto Coolwalk interface
Photo: Google
If no bugs are discovered, Google then accelerates the rollout, bringing the update to more users. At the end of the day, this method comes with obvious benefits, but at the same time, it also makes it hard for users who are eager to try out new features immediately.

This is what the beta program is all about. If you don’t mind running pre-release software, the Android Auto beta program allows you to download updates and try out new features early, though you are supposed to report any potential problems as soon as they occur. Google then uses the information you provide to fix the bugs before the public rollout to production devices begins.

All of the above means that not all users are getting a new version of Android Auto on day one. Some people need to wait longer than others until the rollout expands to their devices.

How to download Android Auto 8.8

Android Auto 8.8 makes no exception to the policy I detailed above. The first set of users received this version earlier this week through the Google Play Store, but the rollout is still progressing slowly, as Google keeps monitoring reliability data before accelerating the process at a later time.

Installing Android Auto 8\.8
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
If you don’t wait to wait and are willing to install the update from a source other than the Google Play Store, you can do this today by simply handling the whole process manually.

Everything comes down to the concept of sideloading.

Android users are allowed to install apps on their devices using the stand-alone APK installers, pretty much like Windows users do with .exe or .msi files. This means you need to download the APK installer on the device and then install it manually.

The first thing you need to do is to get the Android Auto 8.8 APK file and save it on your Android device. When the download process comes to an end, you need to browse to its location using the file manager of your choice – Google’s Files allows you to do this without the need for any other app, but if you use a Samsung phone, the built-in file manager is called My Files.

The next step is the actual installation of the new Android Auto version. Tap the APK installer to begin the process and read the on-screen instructions. You should be prompted to allow the installation of apps from third-party sources (this is what sideloading is all about), so make sure you grant the requested permissions. Wait for the installation to come to an end, and voila, you are now running Android Auto 8.8.

Installing Android Auto 8\.8
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

The obligatory Coolwalk comment

While many users rush to install the latest Android Auto versions hoping to finally get access to Coolwalk, the redesigned experience isn’t by any means tied to an update.

Just like Android Auto updates, Coolwalk is enabled for users in stages, but the process is controlled by Google with a server-side switch. Users aren’t getting the new interface all at once, as the search giant wants to look into reliability data to make sure everything is working as planned.

Eventually, this means that installing Android Auto 8.8 won’t bring you Coolwalk. If anything, updating to this new version of the app should provide you with the latest fixes, but otherwise, there’s no option to get the redesigned interface other than just waiting for Google to enable it for you.
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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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