One of the great things about technology is that it’s constantly evolving: newer, faster phones are being introduced, and different apps are being launched to make navigating life easier. But with these benefits also come drawbacks, as sometimes tech features we’ve come to know and love are phased out. Android users might be disappointed to learn that a phone feature has been shut down with immediate effect. Read on to find out what you can no longer do on your Android, and what you might need to use instead.
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So far this year, Android users have faced various updates and changes thanks to Google, which owns and operates the operating system (OS) for these devices. The tech giant has removed the YouTube Go app from the Google Play Store and plans to shut it down completely in August. And bookworms were dismayed back in April when it was announced they could no longer buy digital books on the Android app Barnes & Noble NOOK. To double that, Google has also eliminated the ability to use a credit or debit card to purchase audiobook titles from Amazon’s Audible for the Google Play Android app.
And while it can be frustrating not being able to stream videos or buy new ebooks, Google has now decided to ditch one of Android’s more useful and convenient features.
With Android Auto, you can access all the features of your phone while driving safely. When you connect your smartphone to a dedicated port in your car, the system displays your Android apps on the center console screen. This lets you play music, get directions, or make a phone call using voice commands and keep your hands free. Unfortunately, this feature is limited to cars equipped with Android Auto, meaning your vehicle likely doesn’t have this feature if it was manufactured before 2015 – when the system was introduced.
Previously, Android users without a newer, compatible car could access this nifty feature right on their smartphone — but that option is gone. Now you are only 9to5Google reported that Android Auto can be used when connected to a car, meaning those with older vehicles are out of luck.
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According to 9to5Google, this shift has been a long time coming. Google originally announced plans to remove Android Auto from phones in 2019 and introduce temporary Android Auto to phone screens. And earlier this month, when users opened the app, they saw a message that read, “Android Auto for phone screens will stop working soon,” the outlet reported.
Android Auto for phone screens wasn’t available on any OS higher than Android 12, but if you had an earlier version, you could still use it. However, this week users received a new message in the app, informing them that “Android Auto is now only available for car screens”.
While Android users may feel cheated out of their ability to access Android Auto right on their phone, Google actually has a reason for this decision.
The tech giant is pushing for a move to Google Assistant Driving Mode, a new user interface (UI) announced back in 2019 and launched in 2021, 9to5Google reported. And while it won’t replace Android Auto for cars, those without compatible vehicles can run Google Assistant driving mode on their smartphone itself.
But 9to5Google compared the two UIs and found that the new UI has some downsides. For starters, before adding a shortcut to your home screen, the easiest way to start driving mode is by voice command. In comparison, Android Auto for phone screens was simply downloaded from the Google Play Store and opened from your home screen. The Google Assistant driving mode also doesn’t work in landscape mode (when you turn your phone horizontally), shows limited media options and, unlike its predecessor, is only available in certain countries.
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