With the arrival of Google Assistant driving mode, it seemed clear that Google had planned to end Android Auto for phone screens, something it had already suspected since 2019. The date of this announced death now expires, when Google confirmed that Android Auto for phones would not be compatible with Android 12 or higher.
Android Auto for phones is a small app that enables “casting” on the phone itself, rather than on the car’s screen. The good news is that in principle it will continue to work in previous versions of Android. But with Android 12, it will be replaced by the driving mode of the Google Assistant found in Google Maps.
Sometime two years ago, Google decided it wasn’t worth continuing to support Android Auto for two types of screens that are different from the car’s infotainment system and the mobile screen. Instead, Android Auto will be optimized for the car and a driving mode with similar functions will be created on the mobile phone.
Driving mode for the Google Assistant, which is available on Google Maps, took much longer than expected to activate globally. Now that the launch is so widespread, Google has already decided to replace Android Auto for phones with the aforementioned driving mode.
The good news is that in principle it should still work on older versions of Android, at least for now. Obviously, the days of Android Auto on the phone are numbered, so you’d better get used to the idea that you’ll have to use Driving mode instead.