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PSA: Some of the more popular Android phones don't yet work with Android Auto

Some of Android's more popular phones — as in some of 2014's biggest models as well as new entries in 2015 — are not playing nicely with Android Auto. On one hand we're not all that surprised. Android Auto is a relatively new feature, and being an early adopter often means putting up with a headache or two. But on the other hand if you're looking at upgrading your car's stereo to Android Auto, you're looking at an investment that's roughly on par with purchasing a new phone, so it's important to do your homework. Nobody wants to plunk down $700 or so only to find their phone doesn't work with their new car stereo.

We've been using Android Auto for a month now, and this is what we've seen so far.

We've used a number of phones with the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX head unit. Other folks in our forums have the higher-end models. Some phones have worked great. Some don't work at all.

In the good column we have the Nexus 6, HTC One M8 and M9, and the 2014 Moto X. That's not a complete list — it's just what I happen to have used.

More telling, however, is the list of phones that don't work. Google's got a couple of known issues that we've experienced as well.

  • The LG G3 — hardly a niche phone — is out. It just doesn't connect at all, and that makes sense when you see what it does when you plug it into a computer.
  • The Verizon Galaxy S5 also officially isn't supported, and other folks in our forums have reported issues with voice control on the GS5.
  • And when I can actually get the Galaxy S6 to talk to the 4100NEX, it thinks I'm in motion all the time and won't actually start up Android Auto.

(Update April 22: An update to Google Play Services has the Galaxy S6 working with Android Auto now!)

So that's three, and three big ones, in our opinion. But consider this a PSA, really, and not so much us sounding the alarm. Google's aware. Samsung is aware. And those of us behind the wheel are waiting on fixes.

But if you're going to invest in Android Auto, you're going to want to do your homework. So swing by our Android Auto forums and ask a question or three.

  • Verizon its likely that CDROM crap that it defaults to instead of MTP. Every time I plug a verizon android into a computer I have to switch back to MTP. It never remembers it.
  • Yep.
  • What does the LG G3 do if you disable the Verizon installer stuff? In the dialer type ##3328873, hit send, service code is 000000, and in the menu uncheck "tool launcher enable".
  • Hope this works for people affected.
  • Since no one seems to have tried this, I just tried it myself on a Pioneer AVH-4100NEX display at Best Buy. Completely stock Verizon LG G3 running 5.0.1 but with the Verizon installer crap turned off as described above, and it worked flawlessly.
  • Well, I've given this a shot on a VZW S5 (SG-900V, I think) with the AVH-4100NEX and I managed to get Android Auto to launch, but the app immediately displays an error message and causes the connection to close between the phone and HU. The error screen is completely red, with a large gray "(X)" error icon occupying the top half. Below, the title of the error is "Connot support Android Auto" and the message is simply "Your device cannot support Android Auto." The only option is "EXIT" at the bottom right, which kills the app. What might be happening is that Google has baked a check of the phone model identifier against their "unsupported devices" list into the app, unless there is still something actually wrong with the configuration of the device. This seems less likely as the error message would surely be more descriptive, in that case? Regardless, here's how I got AA to even launch: 1) Be on the rooted BOA8 build
    2) Edit the file "/efs/carrier/HiddenMenu" and replace its contents (which should simply be "OFF") with ON
    3) Might need to reboot here, not 100% sure
    4) Dial *#0808#, select "MTP+ADB", then OK
    5) Connect device to head unit via USB USB debugging may or may not need to be enabled. Mine is. I'm going to try spoofing the ro.product.* properties next and see what happens. I'll update if I get further.
  • SM-G900V, rather.
  • Do you need to be rooted to re-enable the hidden menus on the SM-G900V? All I want to do is kill that "CD installer" that no one uses.
  • Yes, editing anything in "/efs" requires privilege escalation. Step #2 above is what enables the hidden menus.
  • That really is quite disappointing. Google announce Android Auto at I/O last year along with releasing the L preview. The AA app was released along with the first aftermarket head units so they might use that as an excuse why it doesn't work but since HTC and Moto seem to be working fine I tend to believe LG and Samsung did something to break compatibility. Those are the types of things that push people toward iOS, things just work. Essentially all the work was done for them, AA is built into Lollipop, Google released an app for it, Google built all the api's so 3rd party apps can work with it, all they had to do was not screw it up. It seems like that was too much to expect.
  • Just a few bugs. These things are barely available for purchase yet at exorbitant prices. Nobody broke anything on purpose. Just calm down.
  • It would just be nice if Google would launch something that actually worked out the gate. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It does, with several phones. In two months likely all of them. This happens to damned near every company with almost every new product.
  • The thing is that it does work out of the gate. It works on multiple devices from multiple manufacturers. Samsung and LG must have done something to break it. I don't think it was intentional, I just don't think it was a priority for them to make sure it worked.
  • More than likely has something to do with Samsung or the carrier in this instance. Via Nexus 6: "Takin updates for granted."
  • Google doesn't give a shit about its users.. That's pretty obvious. Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Sorry, but Google does not make LG and Samsung phones.
  • And this is why I'm all about the iPhone. I love Android but often Android feels broke because App issues and compatibility issues. Granted this isn't Androids fault, its developers and manufacturers fault, but it contributes to the broken vibe. Android by itself is fine. The perception that iOS "just works" didn't come from nothing. It is a general consensus when it comes to the platform. Like when you go to a sketchy part of town, you think, "I'm about to get robbed" and you could be right but you're probably wrong. It's not always the case that iPhone is flawless. Anyway I'm a bit pissed off I can't use this with my S6 Edge right now. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Have fun choosing between 2 devices per year. It's easy to sit here and compare in-house devices to 3rd party ones. Of course iOS devices are going to be close to 100% compatible because it's controlled and locked down. On the other hand, Android got at least 6 phones that comes out a year from all the major players. Last time I checked they all don't love and talk to each other. If you are going to compare between iOS and Android then do it with Google's own devices, the Nexus line. According to the article, it seems to be working just fine. I'm sure that Samsung will fix this in due time if not then you have choices if AA really matters that much to you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • IPhone usually gets a feature a year or more after android. Exception is carplay and Android auto. I agree that iPhone works, but you have to wait until late 2014 just to get a 5" screen.. There are many things that iPhone users went without for years. While us android users enjoyed them. So it's give and take. Have them early and maybe have bugs. Or wait for ever but they work when you finally get that feature.
  • As an IT guy, hearing "it just works" about Apple products makes me giggle.
  • not only is it ignorant but it's arrogant as all hell.
  • I guess the alternative is to wait for Apple Auto?
  • Agree with your whole statement Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • I know new tech always has hiccups but I have to say I am surprised at this. Surely it would make sense that any device running lollipop would be compatible. I love Android and I would never go back to Apple but this does give credence to the over exaggerated stories that Android is a fragmented OS. Posted via Android Central App
  • It is, but it should not matter. Google Play Services was designed to bridge these different versions of Android together; so no matter which version you are at, the Google services experience is more or less the same. So I'm hoping as time goes by, Google will come up with another ingenious method to transmute these weaknesses to stengths.
  • I have a LG g3 and a pioneer head unit, avh x4500bt. It doesn't have Android auto but since the upgrade to lollipop Bluetooth music streaming doesn't work properly. Songs play for about 45 seconds then skip dramatically. I wanted to upgrade to a new unit with Android auto but with issues in hearing that doesn't sound like an option. My wife has an iPhone 6 and it works great with my radio. Posted via Android Central App
  • What is it with you people? There are a few bugs. They will be quickly worked out. Yeesh.
  • So, it would not piss you off if you spent 1000 to 1400 dollars for the phone and Android Auto and either does not work or has bugs? Better man than me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well I don't spend 1400 dollars without making sure it works first. That would be your first idiot mistake.
  • I wouldn't either. My point is, you expect it to work no matter what you buy or what the cost is. It's easy to just sit there and tell people to relax. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't expect brand new tech that involves interacting with other devices to work day 1. No I don't. I expect bugs. They will be fixed before the average person even hears about Android Auto. Relax.
  • And yet, nine months later Android Auto STILL doesn't work with my Droid Turbo. Glass half full though I guess?
  • Please make a post about OEMs not supporting Camera2 API! that makes awesome apps like Manual Camera and the upcoming Cortex Camera from working properly (Cortex Camera is simply the best app ever made for low light photography. It makes photos look absolutely stunning, with 0 noise and plenty of detail, and so far it has only been available for iPhone, but the developer is working on an Android version. The problem is that without the Camera2 API it won't work at its full potential! ) neither the HTC One M9, nor the S6 or Sony's Lollipop update support it! It's ridiculous!
  • Same goes for the LG G3. This would really unleashed the power of the camera. Posted via Android Central App
  • Is compatibility a matter of time. So that after a year or so, most recent devices WILL work with it? Secondly - do the real benefits justify the cost - yet? I suppose it depends how seriously Google are taking this project. Do Google really care; even about Android itself? Awesome AC.
  • I feel badly for both people that have Android Auto. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well Audi are running with Android Auto and I buy Audis so I'll be annoyed if my phone doesn't work with it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Get back to us in a year..
  • Well I'm glad im a HTC/Nexus fan cause this would ultimately urk me but they have it patched real quick. :)
  • M9 working like a champ. And LOVING it. Only thing I hope Google updates will be the ability to see in a list style all music I have local on my SD card, instead of just voice control Posted via the Android Central App
  • 3.5 mm audio cable plugged into the aux jack still working like a champ!
  • I switched to Apple and iOS back in February after YEARS of being an Android guy and shit like this is EXACTLY WHY. I bought a Nexus 9 and MONTHS after it came out, most of the video apps that I relied on still weren't compatible. Things aren't all rosy on the Apple side either though, watching Apple fans lose their minds for the hideous Apple Watch is sickening. I really hope that Android Wear gets iOS compatibility soon so I can use my Moto 360 again.
  • I'm still trying to figure out if my phone is compatible with Android Auto. I go to the Android Auto check site. Nothing. Go to Android auto site. Nothing. They show me stupid videos. Go to pioneer. They say Note 3 but not the Note 4? Really? Is that the official list? Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's why I buy ford trucks... No need for Android auto with Microsoft Sync.. Works great and sends text, too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have the 4100NEX with my Sony Xperia Z2 (running 5.0.2) and android auto works perfectly! I love it!
  • What a surprise the most bloatware infested phones won't work. I don't know why people mess with that crap. Posted via my Nexus 6
  • What about oneplus one? Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • Give it time people LoL Google+ All Day Everyday
  • Wow, so slimport divices are hit and miss, mhl devices seem like they might work, and the moto x 2014 which doesn't have slimport AFAIK does work. I thought android auto was originally advertised as a slimport only option?
  • Nexus 4 and 5 are MHL, M8 is Slimport, all 3 apparently work. I just mention those because I've had or have those 3 phones. MHL and Slimport doesn't seem to effect whether or not Android Auto works.
  • ... M8 is MHL, nexus 4&5 are slimport. You obviously have no idea either... And again moto x 2014 doesn't have either...
  • Yes, you are correct, I had them backwards. My point still stands though, I don't think that matters especially now that the S6 is compatible after just an update to Play Services.
  • Phil have you updated the radio to the latest version before making this article. Cause my S6, and HTC M9 work perfectly with Android Auto Posted via the Android Central App
  • Meanwhile, Apple released iOS 8.3 which enables wifi CarPlay. Wonder if the Android version of this would alleviate this issue?
  • I wanted to check in to see if Samsung has fixed issues with Android Auto? I am currently a GSM note user an thinking about investing a Pioneer head unit.