On the other hand, on some aftermarket head units where receiving headlight information isn’t possible, users just relied on a quick switch on their phones to enable the dark mode. That is because the Android Auto UI also aligns with the theme activated on the mobile device, so if your smartphone uses dark mode, Android Auto should do the same thing too.
This behavior appears to have changed recently, as Android Auto now ignores the phone settings and seems to be independent of the mobile device. That should actually give users more control over the UI of the app, but on the other hand, a manual mode switch in Android Auto does not exist just yet and the toggle in the developer settings to force-enable the dark theme no longer works either.
As a result, users are just stuck with the default light mode, which, as many discovered the hard way, is quite a pain in the neck to use during the night.
A discussion thread on Google’s forums indicates the problem appeared in October and still persists today, and unfortunately, the Mountain View-based search giant is yet to provide any workaround. In fact, the issue hasn’t been acknowledged just yet, and for the time being, users are all alone in their attempt to find a workaround.
And this is another problem, as nothing seems to restore the original behavior on Android Auto. However, if you’re sure a recent update introduced the whole thing, the easiest way to deal with it is to downgrade to a previous version. You can find all APK installers for older Android Auto releases on this page.