No Need to Switch to Waze: How to Fix Google Maps Freezes on Android Auto

The most popular navigation apps on Android Auto right now are, without a doubt Google Maps and Waze, both offered by Google but coming with different purposes.
Google Maps on Android Auto 8 photos
Photo: Google
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While Google Maps is an all-in-one navigation app that offers everything from step-by-step guidance to offline maps, Waze relies on its community engine to provide super-accurate navigation that helps avoid traffic jams, speed traps, accidents, and so on.

So when something isn’t working as expected in one of them, many people are tempted to switch to the other.

This is what’s happening lately with Google Maps, as the app is freezing on Android Auto. And as a result, some people out there are considering a potential migration to Waze, just to be sure they have a navigation companion in the car.

What’s causing the Google Maps freezing?

First and foremost, it’s important to know that only Google Maps seems to be suffering from this freezing bug, so it’s pretty clear the problem doesn’t reside in Android Auto.

It’s something that is almost certainly related to Google Maps, so this is where the Mountain View-based search giant needs to look to come up with a fix.

Then, the freezing takes place when users enable the navigation.

Google Maps on Android Auto
Photo: Google
In other words, once the app loads and a destination is provided, Google Maps for Android Auto freezes. The audio keeps working, though, so only the UI appears to be stuck. Force-closing the app and relaunching it brings Google Maps back to normal, yet resuming the navigation causes the same freeze once again.

At first glance, the culprit is none other than the satellite mode bundled with Google Maps.

The navigation is freezing only when the Google Maps navigation uses this mode to display the map, as otherwise, everything is running properly.

Someone on the Google forums explains that on some very rare occasions, the Google Maps freezing could also occur with other viewing modes.

I've done some experimenting and it freezes most commonly (like 90%+) when Satellite view is on, and you enter a destination. As soon as the display does that quick turn around from overview of route to 3D driving view, the screen freezes. The audio continues, and using the OEM head unit home button twice to jump out of AA view and back fixes it for a time,” they say.

The fix

Given the one to blame is the satellite mode, you have two different options.

First of all, you can very well switch to Waze, at least until a fix is provided. As said earlier, some of the users struggling with the glitch are indeed considering a move to the other Google-owned navigation app, even though, at some level, such a thing isn’t necessarily a very convenient solution if features like offline maps are essential for your daily experience.

Google Maps navigation
Photo: Google
Second of all, you can just disable the satellite mode. Because this is the mode that causes the freezing, simply disabling it on Android Auto should bring things back to normal.

To turn it off, tap the settings icon in Google Maps on Android Auto and then disable the satellite view to return to the default mode in the navigation app. Of course, the navigation overall should feel more or less outdated now if you’ve been using the satellite imagery for quite some time, but this is pretty much the only way to continue using Google Maps without the said freezing.

Unfortunately, Google is yet to acknowledge the glitch at this point, so we don’t even know if a fix is at least in the works. New updates go live regularly, so we’ll keep you up-to-date if you notice any improvement on this front.
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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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