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Android 11 will bring wireless Android Auto to every phone

It previously required certain Google and Samsung phones.

Published onAugust 20, 2020

Android Auto Redesign interacting with maps
  • Android 11 will expand wireless Android Auto support to all phones.
  • It previously required certain Google and Samsung phones.
  • Whether or not your car supports it is another matter.

Wireless Android Auto has been available for a while, but you’ve needed certain Google or Samsung phones to even consider leaving the USB cable behind. That’s all set to change when Android 11 arrives, however.

Google has quietly confirmed (via 9to5Google) that “any” smartphone using Android 11 will support wireless Android Auto. The only major obstacle is the need for 5GHz Wi-Fi support. That’s not normally an issue, although phones in the EU will need to meet extra regulatory requirements to use that frequency in the car. Japanese and Russian users also won’t have access.

With those limitations in mind, the move will make wireless Android Auto accessible to a much wider range of users. You’ll just need a phone capable of running Android 11 in the first place, regardless of its age or performance. A budget Android phone will do the trick as well as a flagship.

See also: The best Android Auto apps

The challenge now will be to find compatible cars. While the ranks are growing, with BMW adding support, there’s no guarantee that your vehicle or dash unit will support wireless Android Auto even if others from the same manufacturer do.  Google and individual car brands typically only list basic Android Auto capability, not wireless support.

It’s also worth considering power requirements. You won’t necessarily be charging your phone, after all, so you may want to be careful about using wireless Android Auto for extended periods unless your car also has wireless charging. While that’s increasingly common, you may end up plugging in (where wired Android Auto is supported) simply to be sure you have a healthy battery charge at the end of your trip.

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