How to Fix Apps Missing from the Android Auto Launcher

Some apps go missing from Android Auto all of a sudden 5 photos
Photo: Google
Android Auto settings on Samsung phoneAndroid Auto settings on Samsung phoneAndroid Auto settings on Samsung phoneAndroid Auto settings on Samsung phone
As many users found out the hard way, the experience with Android Auto isn’t always the most flawless, and it all comes down to a wide variety of reasons. These start with the app itself and end with the cable you’re using to power the experience in the car.
In theory, as long as you use a high-speed cable (those coming with Samsung phones are supposed to work just fine), the latest version of Android Auto, and the most recent releases of the apps on your mobile device, there’s no reason for something to go wrong.

Yet, such problems still happen, and a living example in this regard concerns apps that go missing for no clear reason on Android Auto.

As I reported not a long time ago, the Waze app is nowhere to be seen on Android Auto, despite it being fully supported by Google’s app. In fact, this makes total sense as Waze itself is a Google-owned app too.

Right now, Waze is one of the top navigation apps out there, and this means it has millions of users not only on Android and iPhone but also on Android Auto and CarPlay.

But as far as Android Auto users are concerned, the experience with Waze hasn’t been the most flawless lately, and one of the issues reported recently is the one mentioned above.

Make sure the app is enabled

In theory, an Android Auto-compatible app should show up on the screen by default; if it doesn’t, then it must be enabled manually enabled by every user. To do this, you need to head over to Android Auto > Settings > Customize launcher. This menu allows you to enable and disable apps in Android Auto, so make sure the one you use is activated here.

Some Waze users, however, claim the navigation app doesn’t show up in their cars even when enabled on this screen. In this case, Google says there’s a chance the app has been temporarily disabled according to the settings of your mobile Android device.

If you can’t find your apps in Android Auto’s app launcher, they might be temporarily disabled. To save your battery life, some phones temporarily disable apps you haven’t touched in a while. These apps might still show up on your phone, but won’t show up in your Android Auto app launcher until you re-enable them. You can also manually turn off the auto disable settings for each app,” Google explains.

Restoring unused apps on Android

So theoretically, what you need to do in this case is to restore the unused app on your device. And to do this, you must first open the app on your phone to re-enable it and then go to the Android Auto launcher to use it. If this was the cause of the problem, the app should then show up in Android Auto, too, as simply relaunching it on your phone removes the temporary lock.

Google says you should also turn off settings to automatically disable unused apps on your smartphone to prevent this from happening. This setting is different from one device maker to another. On Samsung smartphones, you can find the option under Device care > battery > App power management > Put unused apps to sleep. You can disable the feature entirely or just set up an exception that would prevent the system from suspending the apps you always want to show up on Android Auto.

At the end of the day, these Google workarounds should help prevent apps from going dark on Android Auto for no clear reason. On the other hand, there’s a chance this doesn’t happen, in which case you should reach out to the company for assistance.
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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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