Android Auto Users Are Complaining About Google Maps and Other Apps Mysteriously Disappearing

Software updates can cause many unexpected issues. When those problems affect how you drive, it can become a serious problem. Following an update to Google’s latest Android software version, Android 12, Android Auto users find some of their apps have mysteriously disappeared.

What is Android Auto?

A screen displaying Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as options.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay option | Getty Images

Android Auto is a software application developed by Google based on Google’s Android operating system. The program integrates with your vehicle and offers several driver-assistance apps such as Google Maps, Google Assistant, Spotify, Waze, and more. Android Auto runs off an Android device, such as a tablet or smartphone, or through the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Android Auto has been in the market since 2015 and is part of the Open Automotive Alliance, a joint effort of 28 auto manufacturers and technology companies. Some of those manufacturers include makers such as Honda, Audi, General Motors, Hyundai, Ford, Jeep, and more.

Android Auto works best with users familiar with the Android operating system. Those who are iPhone users may feel more comfortable using Apple’s CarPlay.

Recent Update causes problems

Some users who update their Android Auto device to Android 12, whether a phone, tablet, or infotainment system, have reported the disappearance of some of their most-used apps. According to Auto Evolution, some users notice their navigation app Waze, and music streaming app YouTube music are no longer listed within the program. This issue does not affect all users who update to Android 12, but it has hit enough users to put it on Google’s radar. Google has said to have already started an investigation, but no ETA has been provided, and a fix could take a while.

Android 12, which like all Android software updates, is being rolled out to users over time rather than updating everyone at once, has been rolling out since October 2021. Some major manufacturers in the Android space, such as Samsung, are just now pushing the Android 12 update to many of its users. As more people update their Android devices to Android 12, there will likely be more reports of missing applications within Android Auto. With more data about the issue, Google may find the cause and push out a patch sooner rather than later.

Android Auto vs Apple CarPlay

Android Auto has one major competitor: Apple CarPlay. Much like in the smartphone market, Google and Apple go head-to-head to create the best application for their users. Both applications offer similar features,including navigation, music, voice assistance, phone integration, and podcast support. However, there are some significant things to keep in mind.

One key area that could help a driver decide on what application they want in a vehicle is the familiarity and integration with their smartphone of choice. If you are an iPhone user, it might make more sense to stick with CarPlay, the same deal for Android smartphone users and Android Auto.

Perhaps the most crucial use case for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is the navigation applications. While both provide navigation support, there is one fundamental difference between the two: Android Auto uses Google Maps, and Apple CarPlay uses Apple Maps. Depending on your preference, this can be a dealbreaker in which system you would be more comfortable using. Google Maps, which has been king in the navigation world for many years, is now starting to feel Apple on its heels with its ever-improving Apple Maps.

Regardless of which application you choose to use, you will be able to accomplish the same things, albeit in slightly different ways.

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