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How to use Waze with Android Auto

A Waze map running on Android Auto in transit.
(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Waze is one of the most popular navigation apps across the globe, and it's easier (not to mention safer) to use when you have a bigger screen to look at in your vehicle. Setting it up to work on Android Auto is easy, and doesn't take many steps to get rolling.

Getting things started

Waze runs natively on Android Auto, but to get things started, you do need to download and install the app on your phone first. Set up or log in to your account and you're already halfway there.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Before you connect your phone to your car, make sure to set up your preferences beforehand. Waze restricts its functions within Android Auto to mainly focus on navigation, limiting access to search, voice commands, and reporting incidents you come across on the road.

You can also integrate Waze with certain audio apps, like Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music, and Tidal, among others. 

Saved locations on Waze running on Android Auto.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

You won't be able to share your location with anyone en route, or even change the voice for the turn-by-turn directions. When you want to save destinations or addresses among your Favorites, you would have to do so on the phone first. With Android Auto, Waze only shows you saved locations, so you can't add others, even when you've searched or requested one while in the car. 

Not only that, you also can't launch the app on your phone to adjust any settings while connected to Android Auto.

When you're ready to ride

After you've set all your preferences and adjustments on the phone app, you're ready to drive with Waze in Android Auto. You have a couple of options when you want to search for a destination. 

1. Use Google Assistant by tapping the microphone button onscreen, saying "Hey Google," or pressing the talk button on your steering wheel controls (if you have them).
2. Try the Search bar within Waze to type the location you want to go. Note this only works when you're in park, and not while the car is in drive.

Waze search screen on Android Auto.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Waze will then display all locations it thinks match what you were looking for. Bear in mind, especially when you're doing it by voice, that it may not fully understand what you meant to say. Try again, and you should be able to get the right address.

From there, Waze will choose a route. Again, it will do it based on the parameters and settings you already set. So, for example, if you want to avoid toll roads, freeways, or difficult intersections. 

It also matters if your car is gasoline or electric, as Waze will adjust routes so that gas and charging stations are available along the way. You can always change routes or cancel navigation by tapping the arrow facing up and selecting your choice. 

Showing a route in Waze on Android Auto.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

The orange icon in the lower right corner leads to the Reporting Tool. That's where you can tell other Wazers if there is a police presence on the road, tighter traffic, a crash, or some other hazard. Just tap the one that matches what you see on the road, and that's it. 

Waze reporting tool screen on Android Auto.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

That pretty much covers it. Waze on Android Auto may not have all the features readily available at your fingertips the way the phone app does, but once you have everything set up how you like it, it can be a valuable way to get around and save some time in the process. 

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Ted Kritsonis
Ted Kritsonis

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.