How to add app shortcuts to the Android Auto launch screen

Android Auto home screen with app grid.
(Image credit: Android Central)

Android Auto helps keep your eyes on the road while driving by bringing your apps to a screen that's easy to navigate, while hiding or disabling the apps you don't need to deal with. Whether you have Android Auto already in your car, or you're accessing it from an aftermarket head unit, your phone is what's truly running it. 

Ideally, you've mounted it on one of the best car phone holders to truly keep things hands-free. But if you're making the same Google Assistant commands over and over, you can add a shortcut to your Android Auto launcher so all the essentials are upfront and easily available. Now that the app is integrated into your phone's Android settings, that's where we'll start. 

How to add app shortcuts to the launch screen

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap Connected devices.

3. Tap Connection preferences.

4. Tap Android Auto.

Setting up shortcuts for Android Auto screenshots.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

5. Tap Customize launcher.

6. Tap Add a shortcut to the launcher.

7. From here, you can choose to add a shortcut to quickly call a contact, or one to launch an Assistant-powered action. For this example, we'll choose the latter, since the former is fairly self-explanatory.

Screenshots showing setup for shortcuts in Android Auto.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

8. Under Assistant Command, type out a phrase you'd typically dictate to Google Assistant, eg. "Turn on living room lights."

9. Under Launcher Icon Label, give a short name that will appear under the shortcut on the launcher.

10. Tap Create Shortcut.

Once created, look for your new shortcut at the bottom of the list of apps within your Android Auto launcher screen on your phone. While there, rearrange where you want it to go by dragging the sorting icon (the vertically stacked lines) to the left of a given shortcut. You can repeat this process multiple times and position the shortcuts how you want, with the most important ones at the top of the list.

Products used in this guide

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Ted Kritsonis
Contributor, Audio Reviewer

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.