Android Auto is now only available on infotainment systems.
Google's Android Auto service first launched in 2015 and has radically evolved since then in subsequent updates. Offered in most modern cars as standard tech, Android Auto mirrors your smartphone interface onto a compatible car infotainment system, allowing you to access common music, navigation, and voice assist applications.
Taking this a step further, some models like the Polestar 2 and the upcoming GMC Hummer EV feature infotainment systems powered by Google's new Android Automotive system. Since apps such as Google Play, Google Maps, and Google Assistant, are built-in, Android Automotive doesn't require a smartphone. But what if you don't have an infotainment system with Android Auto support?
You may not have realized, but Google also offers a separate "Android Auto For Phone Screens" application. Or at least it used to. According to 9to5 Google, the Android Auto for Phone Screens application is no longer supported on phones running on the latest Android 12 operating system. The application will still work on older Android operating systems, however.
Instead of projecting the interface onto your car's infotainment system, Android Auto for Phone Screens displays a more limited interface only on your phone. This requires phones to be mounted to the dashboard.
Replacing Android Auto For Phone Screens on Android 12-powered smartphones is the Google Assistant Driving Mode service, which launched in 2019. Whereas Android Auto for Phone Screens was a standalone app, the Google Assistant Driving Mode is integrated with Google Maps.
It works similarly to the old application with the added convenience of the voice-activated Google Assistant. When using the Google Maps navigation system, a Google Assistant bar is displayed at the bottom, which can be used to make phone calls, answer calls, send messages, read messages and play music. It's safer than the old system too, as using Google Assistant means you never have to take your hands off the wheel.