Someone Found the Most Painful Workaround for the Android Auto Issue Google Can't Fix

The fix does the job but is incredibly painful 15 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Google
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Here's the thing with Android Auto. The tiniest change in the app, sometimes produced by an update, can wreak havoc in your car, leading to all kinds of mysterious problems that not even Google can fix.
Unfortunately, this is a horrible experience for someone who eagerly awaits a new feature. Installing Android Auto updates has become a risky decision, as instead of getting improved functionality, users could end up struggling with unexpected problems.

This is what's happening now in the Android Auto user base following an April update.

Users started complaining of a mysterious bug that broke down message notifications when the mobile device was connected to the car to run Android Auto. The culprit is believed to be an April update, but users struggling with this error report various versions, starting with 11.8 and ending with 12.x.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Most likely, the issue was introduced by an older update that didn't get a fix in the latest update, so the likelihood of more users running into the same glitch is possibly high.

Android Auto's role is to make the time spent behind the wheel less distracting without disconnecting drivers from their mobile devices. They can still interact with the apps on their phones, messaging, and calls, but the experience is safer thanks to the integration of voice commands.

Sending new messages should be easy and straightforward, as Google Assistant is in charge of everything. Ask the assistant to send a message, pick the content, speak the text, and that's it.

The receiving part of the messaging experience is what's causing trouble now on Android Auto. Users claim they aren't getting a notification, so the only way to tell they received a new message is to look at the notification icon in the taskbar. When they receive a new message, the notification icon shows a label, but the lack of an alert is a major shortcoming.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
The notification popup that appears on the screen when a new message is received allows the driver to see who sent the text. It also includes a chime that lets them know they got a new message without looking at the screen. Everything is broken down, and they believe an update shipped in April is responsible for this experience.

Users have already tried most generic workarounds, and Google is currently investigating. But while everybody is waiting for the search giant to come up with an update that would eventually bring the Android Auto messaging experience back to normal, users on Google's forums discovered two workarounds. Both are painful and frustrating, but they are worth trying out if nothing else does the job.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
The first involves resetting the permissions for all apps on your phone. The user who discovered this solution explains that they first attempted to reset the permissions only for the Android Auto app, but they shortly decided to go all-in and start from scratch with all apps. You can imagine how frustrating it is to reconfigure all permissions for the apps installed on your device, especially if you have tens or even hundreds.

You'll have to reconfigure permissions for each app when you launch them, and the user explains that it took them several weeks to bring everything back to normal. The good news is that Android Auto now works correctly on their devices.

The second workaround only restores the message notifications partially, bringing back the popup banner without the chime. It means you'll see a visual notification when you get a new message but won't hear anything, and we all know that looking at the screen regularly could be dangerous.

The method requires users to launch the Messages app on their mobile devices, open each conversation, expand the details section, and enable popups from the notifications menu for every conversation. You'll have to do this for every single conversation on your mobile device, and the solution won't work if you receive a new message from someone not in your phonebook or who is only now starting a conversation.

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
The solution does the job temporarily but is far from being a permanent fix, especially because the chime is still missing. The permissions fix restores the full functionality, albeit it's particularly painful because you'll have to reset all app permissions on your phone.

Meanwhile, Google is still investigating, but as it typically happens in the Android Auto world, it's too early to tell when a fix could land. The company doesn't share more specifics on its investigation, and based on previous investigations for other Android Auto bugs, you could have to wait up to several months for a patch—if it eventually receives the go-ahead.

As always, you should keep Android Auto up-to-date because they could quietly include improvements to fix this error. The most recent stable build is Android Auto 12.2, but it doesn't resolve the message notifications glitch. A new build is expected to land in the beta channel this week or next week.
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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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