What you need to know
- Google is updating Android Auto with the ability to change wallpapers.
- The new update comes with a selection of 12 preinstalled wallpapers to choose from.
- Some users are reporting that the update now comes with access to Google Assistant routines, a feature that was lost years ago.
Android Auto users were surprised today when the system gained a fairly notable update containing a new feature and the return of an older one. From what appears to be a server-side update to the latest version of Android Auto, users on Reddit have been reporting the ability to change the system's wallpaper, which has not been available until now. The update also signals the return of Google Assistant routines, a feature that hasn't been officially supported since 2018.
As seen in the above screenshot, Android Auto gives users a selection of wallpapers to choose from that adds some much-needed flair to the system. As noted by Android Police, there are 12 images to choose from that can be found in Settings under General and Choose Wallpaper.
Google Assistant routines also seem to be making a return after the feature apparently lost support a couple of years ago. The below screenshot shows it in action after a new routine was created to start a Shark IQ vacuum. Routines can be set up as shortcuts on the launcher and can be added through the smartphone app. In the Android Auto menu's General settings, select Customize Launcher, which will allow you to add a shortcut, and from there you can add an Assistant action by following the prompt.
What prompted Google to bring back routines is unclear, although adding support for Samsung's SmartThings may have been a factor, as it allows users to set up their routines through that ecosystem. Nonetheless, adding these features can only make the system even more attractive for those of you learning how to use Android Auto, especially as Google prepares to outfit more cars with its OS thanks to its contract with Ford.
Android Auto is built into select car models but users can still gain many of its functionalities using some of the best car accessories for Google Assistant.