How to Fix the Missing Taskbar on Android Auto

This fix brings back the taskbar on Android Auto 15 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Google
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There's a lot going on in the Android Auto world, and unfortunately, the most buzz revolves around the bugs that users come across occasionally.
A problem that appeared earlier this month took many by surprise, as it removes the taskbar in Android Auto, making the app almost useless.

If you've been using Android Auto for more than a couple of days, you probably know that the taskbar is integral to the experience with the app. It allows users to toggle between apps, launch the Coolwalk view, activate the microphone, and see essential information like the clock.

Due to this bug, the taskbar went dark, making all these features unavailable. Nobody knew precisely what was happening, but many users blamed the latest Android Auto versions. The issue affected Android Auto 10.4, with users running version 10.5 also confirming the same behavior. Android Auto 10.6, which was released earlier this week, does not bring back the taskbar.

Android Auto users are stuck with Google Maps without the app taskbar, as the navigation app launches automatically after connecting the smartphone to the head unit. Closing Google Maps and switching to another app is difficult, though some turned to Google Assistant to configure Waze or play music in Spotify.

Fortunately, someone on Google's forums discovered a workaround. The issue happens due to the Google app. On Android Auto, the Google app is responsible for powering Google Assistant (the same thing is valid on Android, too).

Many users who encountered the glitch causing the taskbar to go missing were running a beta build of the Google app, either because they were enrolled in the testing program or previously installed a pre-release version.

To fix the issue, users can just leave the beta program and return to a stable Google app version. To do this, you can exit the testing program, delete updates, and clear the app cache and data. You can also manually sideload the latest APK version for the stable Google app channel. Users on Google's forums claim version brings things back to normal, with the taskbar restored on Android Auto.

Google did not comment on the bug, but if the problem is caused by a beta version of the Google app, the expected behavior should return once a new release goes live to all channels. In theory, users who weren't running a beta build of the Google app should not experience the glitch, but manually sideloading the version above should bring everything back to normal even if this happens.

Android Auto 10.6 is the latest version in the stable channel, but the update doesn't seem to bring significant changes. The focus has most likely been on addressing performance problems and other general bugs, but you can try it today by sideloading the APK.
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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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