How to Fix Waze Voice Commands on Android Auto Coolwalk

Waze on Android Auto Coolwalk 8 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Waze on CoolwalkWaze on CoolwalkWaze on CoolwalkWaze on CoolwalkWaze on CoolwalkWaze on CoolwalkWaze on Coolwalk
The most recent version of Waze packs support for Android Auto Coolwalk, allowing it to run side-by-side with other apps, including Spotify.
At the same time, it also seems to break down the voice command integration, so setting up the destination hands-free is no longer possible.

Voice commands in navigation apps are part of the essential feature package. The likes of Google Maps and Waze require users to look at the screen regularly to see the route and determine which way they need to go. The parent company tried to reduce the distraction with voice guidance and voice command integration, though it's no secret that many drivers are still tempted to check out the map every now and then.

Waze has so far remained tight-lipped on any information regarding this new bug, so it's hard to tell whether a fix is in the works or not. If anything, the company says in responses to user feedback that this is how Google Assistant in Waze on Android Auto is "intended to work."

Waze on Android Auto Coolwalk

Coolwalk was released in January this year as one of the biggest Android Auto redesigns in history.

Its main highlight is the support for running multiple apps side-by-side on the same screen regardless of display size, aspect ratio, or orientation.

Coolwalk is rolling out in stages, but most users have already received the new interface. Google hasn't provided any timing information regarding the general availability, yet the rollout should complete by the end of the year.

Waze on Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Coolwalk splits the interface into separate cards. Each app category, such as navigation and music, receives access to a certain card. However, apps must be updated to support running in the provided card.

The most recent Waze update includes this feature, essentially replacing Google Maps as the navigation app in the Coolwalk interface.

The broken voice commands

While Waze says the current Google Assistant behavior on Android Auto is the intended configuration, the claim is inaccurate. Everything worked properly before the Coolwalk integration was added, so it's all just a bug that the company is yet to acknowledge.

As I said earlier, the broken voice commands force users to interact with the screen more often. Hopefully, this happens mostly when the vehicle is parked, as typing isn't allowed while in motion – selecting a new destination from the recent locations or saved addresses is still possible, though.

The bug only impacts Waze, as everything else works properly in Google Maps. As such, some users switch to Google Maps temporarily until Waze comes up with a fix.

Given the company hasn’t yet acknowledged the bug, this could take a while, and no information is available right now in this regard.

Waze on Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

How to fix Waze voice commands

The only way to restore voice commands in Waze on Android Auto is to downgrade to an earlier release. The process involves the user manually downloading the APK installer of a previous build and installing it on their Android device.

The most recent version that appears to work is Download the APK file, save it on the local storage, and then begin the downgrade by simply launching the installer. You don't need to remove the existing version of Waze, as all files are replaced automatically.

On some Android devices, the installer might require additional permissions. Android is configured to block the installation of apps from non-Google Play Store sources.

Downgrading to this version should restore Waze voice commands on Android Auto, though I think the bigger concern is the lack of transparency the parent company seems to show. Bugs come and go, and pretty much any application out there occasionally hits them. But on the other hand, acknowledging issues and working together with users helps both in the short and the long term, especially as the navigation space is getting crowded these days.

Waze on Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Waze has a frustrating history of widespread bugs it remained completely tight-lipped about. Last year, an app update wreaked havoc on CarPlay, breaking the vehicle's audio controls entirely. Adjusting the volume level of the playing music was no longer possible, despite Waze running in the background. In some cases, Waze caused issues even when it wasn't even launched.

The bug was eventually resolved, but the Google-owned company provided little to no information about what happened. Users were left all alone in their struggle to find a fix, and many eventually ditched the app completely, switching to the likes of Google Maps and Apple Maps.

The whole thing happens again, as Waze seems to pretend that nothing is happening and the voice command integration is still flawless. Most likely, a fix will still go live sooner rather than later. I'll keep you posted about new Waze versions, so you'll know precisely when you can safely update from version without losing voice commands again.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
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.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories