Android Auto’s redesign may be ready — but there's a weird catch

Android Auto refreshed UI example
(Image credit: Google)

Google has been teasing us with the prospect of an Android Auto redesign for what seems like forever. The redesign leaked months before it was announced at Google I/O in May 2022, with a summer release window, but it only started rolling out a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the new update is still proving to be elusive.

The design revamp, codenamed “Coolwalk” was expected to be released as part of Android Auto 8.7, which has just started rolling out via Google Play. However, according to 9to5Google (opens in new tab), the Coolwalk redesign is missing for a lot of people.

The update reportedly only seems to feature behind the scenes bug fixes, rather than any particularly noteworthy upgrades. In fact 9to5Google surveyed (opens in new tab) its readers and found 90% of them didn’t have access to the Coolwalk redesign. A similar survey on the r/Android Auto subreddit (opens in new tab) also found that 2,200 of 2,600 voters didn’t have access to the upgrade.

The interesting thing about this is that Coolwalk is appearing for some people, even if they don’t have Android Auto version 8.7. An Acura RDX owner (opens in new tab) spotted the update go live over the recent Lunar New Year weekend, despite the fact their phone is running Android Auto 8.6. Some Reddit users (opens in new tab) have also noted that they have the Coolwalk update on a phone running variations of Android Auto 8.5.

In short, this whole rollout is incredibly confusing, and the Coolwalk redesign seems to be hitting people at random. You may be one of the lucky people that gets it soon, or you may have to wait for this seemingly-glacial-speed rollout to run its course. 

Unfortunately, the slow pace of the rollout is making that situation all the more frustrating. Even ignoring the leaks, which kicked off in September 2021, Google announced the upgrade almost nine months ago, with the promise that it would be released over the summer. 

We’d hoped that this month’s announcement that the Coolwalk upgrade was now available to the public would be the end of it. Instead large numbers of users, myself included, are having to wait for Google to make good on its promises. 

Hopefully the redesign will be more widespread by the time Google I/O 2023 kicks off in four months time. Until then, it looks like we're in a weird Android Auto limbo. 

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.