How to Fix the Google Maps Dark Mode Bug on Android Auto

Google Maps dark mode on Android Auto 6 photos
Photo: Google
The new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UI
It’s not a secret that features tend to break down for absolutely no reason in the Android Auto world, and more often than not, software updates do more harm than good.
This appears to be the case with a recent Google Maps glitch as well, as users discovered that their favorite navigation app defaults to the dark mode on Android Auto.

In theory, Google Maps should be able to automatically toggle between light (standard) and dark modes based on a series of factors, but at the same time, users are also allowed to choose the default style they want to use in the app.

However, even with Google Maps allowed to configure the right mode (the display mode is set to automatic), the application still uses the dark mode no matter what.

The new Android Auto UI
Photo: Google
First of all, how is Google Maps supposed to know when the dark mode must be enabled?

If you’re running the app on Android Auto, Google Maps can receive information like the status of the headlights. If you turn on the headlights, which you typically do at night, Google Maps automatically switches to the dark mode to reduce the eye strain in the cabin.

Then, Google Maps can also change the display modes based on the operating system settings. As a result, Google Maps can follow the system theme (for instance, if the OS is set to dark, it can automatically enable the same setting as well). Some users have also configured Android to switch from light to dark in the evening, so Google Maps must follow the same settings as well.

For some reason, however, Google Maps seems to ignore all these settings and only use the dark mode on Android Auto. The issue appears to be widespread, as plenty of users are complaining here on Google’s forums that similar behavior is happening in their cars as well.

The culprit is the most recent version of Google Maps for Android devices. So no, it’s not Android Auto this time, but a Google Maps update that apparently broke down the automatic display mode switching system.

The new Android Auto UI
Photo: Google

How to fix the dark mode bug

Before anything, it’s important to know that the culprit is Google Maps version 11.33.1. In other words, if you’re running this particular version, there’s a chance the bug is there for you as well.

So the easiest way to avoid the bug is to skip this Google Maps version altogether. If you haven’t installed it just it (and your device isn’t configured to receive app updates automatically), you’d better not do it until a fix is released.

On the other hand, if you have already updated Google Maps to this version, you have two options. You can either uninstall app updates from the Android app settings screen or remove Google Maps completely and then install a previous version using the dedicated APK installer.

The steps to remove app updates on Android devices can vary a little bit from one device to another, but on a Samsung phone, here’s the path to do it:

Settings > Apps > Google Maps > App Info > Uninstall Updates

If you want to downgrade to an earlier version of Google Maps, you can find all the previous updates on this page. Download the APK file for the version you want to install and then just tap the installer on your device – keep in mind you’ll have to allow the installation of apps from third-party sources.

At this point, we still don’t know when Google is supposed to come up with a fix, but a member of the Android Auto team recently said that all user reports are currently being looked into.
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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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