In case you are not aware, Android Auto for phone screens – not the version of Android Auto that displays in your car’s display – is going away soon in favor of Google Assistant driving mode. While Google Maps is still what your phone will use for navigation, Assistant driving mode makes it easier to interact with other apps while driving by using voice. This minimizes handling the phone screen while driving and hopefully keep you safe on the road. If you are unfamiliar with Google Assistant’s driving mode, here are some steps on how you can set it up and use it:
Tweak the Assistant Driving Mode settings
On your Android device, open your Google app and navigate to your settings. From your settings, scroll down and select Google Assistant. Once in Google Assistant settings, select Transportation and then Driving Mode. In Driving mode, select your preferences on whether you want its UI to launch in either of these scenarios: When you start navigation in Maps, when your phone connects to your car’s Bluetooth, or when driving is detected. Additionally, you can adjust the option to notify you when new calls or messages come in.
I just want the steps!
- Open the Google app and navigate to your Settings
- Scroll down and select Google Assistant
- Select Transportation and then Driving Mode
- Select your preferences on when you want the driving UI to launch
- Adjust the option to notify you when new calls or messages come in
Launching Assistant Driving Mode manually
If you do not want Assistant Driving Mode to launch automatically when your phone connects to your car’s Bluetooth or when it detects that you are driving, then you always have the option to launch it manually. One way to do it is to open Google Maps and start navigation, which launches the assistant in the background and adds an app launcher to the bottom right for easy access to calls, messages, media, and other apps.
Alternatively, you can create a shortcut directly on your home screen to access Assistant Driving Mode. To do that, open Google Maps, and in navigation mode, tap on the app launcher on the bottom right. In the app launcher, you will see an option on the bottom to “Add driving mode to Home Screen.” Tap on that option and proceed to add the shortcut.
This version of driving mode provides a slightly different look than when you start off with Google Maps, but offers similar shortcuts to access calls, messages, and your music and podcast library. It also includes a shortcut to cancel driving mode and a “Where to?” search field to start navigation. You can interact with this search field via voice or by choosing to search directly in Maps. In either case, you will always end up in Google Maps navigation to help you reach your destination.
I just want the steps!
Alternatively, you can:
- Open Google Maps and start navigation
- Access the driving mode shortcuts via voice or the app launcher on the bottom right
- Create Assistant Driving Mode shortcut in Home screen
- Launch Driving Mode and input your destination