Skip to main content

Android Auto just got a bunch of big upgrades — including dark mode

Android Auto
(Image credit: Future)

Among a few other announcements today, Google unveiled some additions and changes coming to Android Auto. Chief among these is that you can now personalize the launcher, better attuning it to your individual preferences.

You can do this from the phone that you use to connect to Android Auto, and it's a long overdue feature. This update also includes a manual dark mode option. Furthermore, media apps will get new tabs to make browsing content even easier.

Messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Google's Messages, will now appear on the home screen to make accessing them even quicker. And to make navigating the UI easier, Google is adding a "back to top" option and an A-to-Z scrollbar. The company has also smoothed out the onboarding process for new Android Auto users. 

There are also new apps that include EV charging station locations, as well as new parking and navigation programs. These features will start rolling out globally soon, as long as you have a compatible car. We assume that also means aftermarket Android Auto head units.

But that's not all Google announced today, though it's certainly the highlight. The company also mentioned that the earthquake alert system is coming to several new countries that routinely have trouble with earthquakes. The Messages app will now let you star messages to come back to later, although the app still remains a fancy SMS intermediary. 

The Emoji Kitchen, which shows you emojis that you've used previously, is getting a contextual upgrade to help you find the best emoji for the situation. It will be available for all Gboard users later this summer. Google Assistant is getting new voice shortcuts to open apps.

Similarly, Google is improving the accessibility feature Voice Access with additional features. Users will have enhanced password input and gaze detection, the latter of which makes it so that Voice Access will work only if the person is looking directly at the phone. 

Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over five years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Jordan tends to lurk on social media, but you can best reach him on Twitter.