How to use wireless connectivity with Android Auto

Android Auto is an easy-to-use application that allows you to safely use most of your phone’s functions, such as the music and navigation apps, while driving. In most cases, you need to connect your phone to your car using a USB cable to take advantage of all the options it has to offer.

However, with some phones and cars, you can use wireless connectivity with Android Auto to connect more conveniently. Let’s find out if you can try this feature, and how to use wireless tethering with Android Auto if so.

How to use wireless connection with Android Auto - Android

What is wireless connectivity with Android Auto?

If you’re not familiar with this functionality, take a look at our Android Auto overview for everything you need to know. The guide will teach you how the app works and how to set it up using the normal wired method.

Wireless connectivity with Android Auto is the same as the Android Auto product — the only difference is how it connects. It’s obviously less difficult to connect wirelessly, as you don’t have to fiddle with the cable. However, since Android Auto can consume a fair amount of battery when you turn on the navigation options and play music during a long trip, it’s often a good idea to plug it in to keep your phone charged anyway.

Thus, if you have the option of using wireless connectivity with Android Auto, you may prefer to use it for short trips, while still connecting via USB for longer trips.

What do you need to connect to Android Auto Wireless?

Unfortunately, Android Auto wireless is not available on all phones and vehicles. Android Auto cannot be used via Bluetooth alone, since Bluetooth cannot transfer enough data to handle this feature. As a result, the wireless option with Android Auto is only available in cars with built-in Wi-Fi — or retrofitted entertainment units that support the feature.

Check out our Android Auto compatibility page for eligible vehicles and entertainment units. This list does not refer to every vehicle that supports wireless display with Android Auto, so you may need to check with the manufacturer to be sure. Generally speaking, wireless connectivity with Android Auto will only work in car models from around 2020 onwards, as it is a recent feature.

You will also need an Android phone that works wirelessly with Android Auto. At the time of writing, the following phones support the feature:

  • All phones running Android 11 or later.
  • Any Google or Samsung phone running Android 10.
  • Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ or Note 8 with Android 9 Pie.

Your device must also support 5GHz Wi-Fi, which almost every modern phone should support.

How to use Android Auto Wireless

Using wireless connectivity with Android Auto is simple. After making sure your phone and car are compatible, make sure your phone’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and geolocation services are turned on. You can easily check this using the toggles in the quick settings panel, which can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen twice.

To connect, make sure you park your car, then start it up. Connect your phone to your car’s USB port using the cable, which is required for the initial connection. If prompted, you will need to download or update the Android Auto app to your phone.

Next, browse through the setup instructions to give Android Auto the necessary permissions, as discussed in the Overview article that was linked earlier.

How to use wireless connection with Android Auto - Android

Once that’s all done, you’ll be ready to use Android Auto with your car. Tap the Android Auto icon on your car’s screen to turn it on—it might be hidden inside a menu called Apps, Phone Connection, or something like that.

You are now free to use Android Auto wirelessly. You can unplug the USB cable and Android Auto will continue to work, and you won’t need to connect it in the future. Exit Android Auto by clicking the vehicle manufacturer’s entry in the Android Auto apps list, or by pressing the Home button on the main unit, if applicable.

If you have a problem, and you are sure that both your phone and your car support wireless connectivity with Android Auto, follow the troubleshooting steps to fix Android Auto.

Connecting Android Auto, made easy

That’s all you need to wirelessly access Android Auto in your car. Unfortunately, as of now, this feature is limited to select phones and vehicles. But over time, we hope to see more cars support the functionality.

For now, you can still enjoy Android Auto using the cable. There are plenty of apps that help you get the most out of your experience. Then you should check out the best Android Auto apps for messaging, music, and more.

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