Android Auto for phone screens app looks set to retire with Android 12

Android Auto Car Mount
Android Auto Car Mount (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is shutting down the Android Auto mobile app with the upcoming release of Android 12.
  • A deprecation message is now showing up for some Pixel owners on Android 12 beta.
  • Google Assistant Driving Mode will replace the dated mobile driving experience.

Google has apparently confirmed that it is shutting down the Android Auto for phone screens app with the upcoming release of Android 12, as per 9to5Google. The move will give way to the rollout of Google Assistant Driving Mode as the next built-in driving experience on mobile devices after development took longer than expected.

Android Auto Phone Screens App

Source: XDA Developers (Image credit: Source: XDA Developers)

After its initial launch in the U.S. in October of last year, the new mobile driving experience began expanding to more countries in April, including Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, India, and Singapore. The expansion obviously signaled the upcoming deprecation for the Android Auto for phone screens, as some users are now unable to use the app. At least some Pixel owners on Android 12 beta are greeted with the following banner message when trying to open the app, as spotted by XDA Developers:

Android Auto is now only available for car screens. On your phone, try Google Assistant driving mode instead.

Android Central has reached out for more details, but in a statement to 9to5Google, the search giant confirmed that those using the Android Auto mobile app would be transitioned to Assistant Driving Mode starting with Android 12. The transition doesn't come as a surprise, though. Google never updated the app since its launch two years ago, and Android Auto's design on mobile has remained unchanged.

Google introduced the app as a temporary solution in 2019 for those who lost access to Android Auto on their phones after upgrading to Android 10. The stopgap app served to keep the dated mobile driving experience accessible to users. At the same time, Google continued working on the next-generation Assistant Driving Mode; an all-new experience meant to help you navigate with Google Maps hands-free.

That said, Assistant Driving Mode is yet to become available in more countries other than the ones mentioned above. Therefore it's safe to assume that Android Auto on mobile remains accessible on some of the best Android phones in those regions for now at least.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.