Update: The Android Auto redesign is now official, and here's our first look
Android Auto just got a brand new upgrade. But rather than offering any new software or design changes, as have been rumored, it’s going to be able to check your USB cable and make sure nothing is going wrong.
XDA’s Mishall Rahman tweeted screenshots of this new diagnostic tool in action. Since the USB connection is usually where Android Auto problems lie, this means you can figure out if the problem is with the USB cable or something else.
Bad USB cables are frequently behind Android Auto issues, so in the latest version of the Android Auto app (7.5.121104), Google's adding a USB Startup Diagnostics tool. https://t.co/biu7BNMeoe pic.twitter.com/lEJNTTWfU4March 16, 2022
Rahman notes that the tool is checking if Android is able to send data via USB - something that isn’t possible if you’re using a damaged cable or are connected to the wrong port in your car. Because not all in-car USB ports are created equally, and any extra ports you have aren’t likely to have a data connection.
Google itself recommends using the cable that came with your phone, or alternatively one that’s under three feet long and doesn’t have any “USB hubs or cable extensions”. Though that’s a bit rich coming from a company that ships its devices with USB-C to USB-C cables, while Android Auto connections typically happen with USB-A.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell if a cable is Android Auto friendly until you plug it in. Quality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and you do need a cable capable of transmitting data, rather than just power. That dirt-cheap cable you got on Amazon or eBay might not have what it takes, though you clearly don’t want to buy premium cable that costs twice as much as it should.
At least with the new Android Auto update you can check your cables, and find out whether they’re a problem or not.
Rahman claims that the tool is available in Android Auto 7.5.121104, though it’s not rolled out to everyone just yet. You can access the diagnostics by opening up Android Auto’s settings menu and hitting Connection help > USB startup diagnostics.