Instant Fix Brings Back Games to Android Auto

Let’s be honest about it: while playing games in a car sounds like a huge no-no, there are times when they make perfect sense. As a father, waiting to pick up the kid from school is, well, boring, and that’s precisely when Super Mario Run comes in super-handy.
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Google knows this very well, and despite not enabling YouTube and Netflix on Android Auto, the search giant provides users with other time-wasting options.

GameSnacks is a collection of Android Auto games drivers can play when the vehicle is parked. Needless to say, you’re not getting anything other than simple, puzzle games, so if you believed you can finally play FIFA on your car’s screen, that’s not going to happen. Not now, at least, though cloud gaming is rapidly making its way to vehicles out there.

Starting earlier this year, GameSnacks no longer works in some cars. Whenever drivers try to launch the games, Android Auto returns an error. The game collection “is not available while driving,” the message reads. Oddly enough, the error appears when the vehicle is parked.

Users have been trying all kinds of workarounds since the problem was first spotted. Clearing the cache, deleting the data, and downgrading to an earlier Android Auto version didn’t produce any improvement.

Google chimed in and asked for additional information to determine what happened. But at this point, a full patch is still nowhere to be seen for Android Auto users.

In the meantime, someone has discovered a ridiculously simple workaround that restores GameSnacks on Android Auto. Applying the parking brake makes the error go away, letting drivers access the games on the Android Auto screen. Most likely, Google quietly changed the GameSnacks requirements in the latest app versions, though the blunder could also be the result of a bug.

In theory, putting the car in parking mode should be enough to let Android Auto know the vehicle is no longer moving. But engaging the handbrake now seems mandatory, possibly as Google wants to make sure drivers don’t play the games while in motion.

If anything must be improved, it’s how the change is communicated to drivers. The error message should be updated accordingly, as telling users to activate the parking brake would help deal with the confusion. Given the vehicle is already in parking mode, applying the handbrake isn’t necessarily a pain in the neck for drivers, as long as they know it’s required for GameSnacks.

Google has remained tight-lipped on any potential under-the-hood Android Auto changes on this front, so this one-second fix is definitely worth a try if nothing else works in your car. Keeping Android Auto up-to-date is also recommended in case Google quietly introduces a solution in a new app version.
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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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