Android Auto is used by many to maintain access to media and messages while behind the wheel, but Google is increasing the requirements to access Android Auto going forward.
Since launch, the wired form of Android Auto has only required an Android phone running 6.0 Marshmallow or higher, along with a high-quality USB cable and a car or head unit compatible with the platform.
Now, that’s changing.
A quiet update from Google on the “Get Started with Android Auto” support page suggests that the platform now has higher requirements. Going forward, Android Auto will require a smartphone that is running Android 8.0 Oreo or higher.
We’re not entirely sure when Google made this change, but it’s worth mentioning that the official Android Auto website still lists 6.0 as the least accepted version, and from May 2022 in the web archive version of the support page Marshmallow is still listed. The first date associated with this change appears to be the end of June.
Android Auto Requirements (July 2022)
It’s not entirely clear why Google has raised the barrier to entry, but it’s still not a very high bar to pass.
As of May 2022, Android Marshmallow is being used on only 4% of active Android devices, where Oreo makes up about 11-12% of active devices. New versions from Android 9 through Android 12 make up most of the distribution today, with Android 11 on about 30% of active devices.
Ultimately, though, moving up the minimum required version will give Google more flexibility with new features. Perhaps the upcoming “Coolwalk” redesign has something to do with this change.
Meanwhile, the requirements for Android Auto Wireless remain unchanged. For that version of the platform, you’ll need Android 9.0 or higher on Google Pixel or Android 10.0 on Samsung smartphones, all Google Pixel and Samsung hardware, and Android 11.0 for any other manufacturer. Of course, you’ll also need a compatible head unit or an Android Auto wireless adapter.
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