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Android Auto wireless is here for a select few

If you have the right phone and the right dash unit, Android Auto wireless is here. If you're missing either piece, you're stuck on a cable.

Published onApril 13, 2018

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  • Android Auto wireless enables you to connect to your car dash unit without hooking up to a USB cable.
  • Unfortunately, Android Auto wireless only works with a small group of phones and a small group of dash units.
  • Google promises more phone support soon for Android Auto wireless, but you can’t software upgrade a dash unit to make it work.

If you have an Android Auto-capable system in your car, you know that in order for it to work you have to plug your phone in via a USB cable. While this isn’t the worst thing in the world, it certainly would be nice if you could choose to use the features without cable clutter.

Google has heard your prayers and is rolling out Android Auto wireless right now, via AndroidPolice. However, there is some bad news: as of now, it only works with Pixel and Nexus devices and only with specific head units. The chances are good that you won’t meet both criteria.

To get Android Auto wireless to work, you’ll need a head unit that is Wi-Fi certified. JVC and Kenwood have a few models, but many haven’t even hit the market yet. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi certified dash unit already, you’ll either need to upgrade or continue using that USB cable.

You also need to have a specific phone, specifically the Google Pixel or Pixel XL, the Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, the Nexus 5X, or the Nexus 6P. Google doesn’t say so, but you most likely have to be running the stock firmware as well, which means you custom ROM users out there will have to flash back to stock.

If you do have everything you need, then setup is pretty painless. You hook your phone up with a USB cable, go through the initial setup process, and then that’s it: next time you get in your car, your phone will pair wirelessly to your dash, and you’ll be ready to go.

Google promises that support for other phones is on the way. However, even if it supports every phone, you still will likely have to update your dash before using the Android Auto wireless feature.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who can get this to work, let us know in the comments what the experience is like!

NEXT: Android Auto: Everything you need to know

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