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Android Auto goes truly hands-free with OK Google support

Activate your phone and car stereo with your voice

Andriod Auto screen on a Kenwood receiver

If you drive a vehicle with an Android Auto™ compatible stereo, you're probably already aware of how the stereo's able to replicate useful apps from your Android smartphone. This lets you stay connected without taking your hands off the wheel — well, mostly. There's still the small matter of pressing a button on the receiver (or the steering wheel in some factory systems) to activate the Android Auto voice commands and engage the compatible apps. The apps include Google Maps™, Google Play Music™, and your phone's calling and texting functions.

[Shop for car stereos with Android Auto support]

Support for OK Google™

That one action of pressing the button to activate voice commands might not seem like that big of a deal, but it's still great to have options, especially when it comes to safer driving practices. OK Google support means that now you can activate Android Auto's voice commands just by saying "Okay Google" and then telling Android Auto what you want it to do. For example: "Okay Google, play hair metal playlist," should pull up a playlist on your phone, and "Okay Google, nearby pizza" will activate a Google Maps search for pizza restaurants in your vicinity. All of this without your hands leaving the wheel, even for a second.

Get tasks done without touching the stereo

OK Google does a lot of other stuff beyond the basic functionality of Android Auto, so if you're driving and suddenly need to set a reminder or dictate a note to yourself, you can do so without pulling over. And you’ll be able to see the results on your receiver's screen, or have the results read out loud to you. OK Google can find out if a business is open, let you know if your flight's on time, translate words or short phrases, and even convert currency for you. And of course it'll do a Google search for you and speak the answer aloud to you.

Driving hands-free shouldn't mean sense-free

As phone integration platforms such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay® become more ubiquitous, it's important to remember that there's nothing more important than the task at hand when it comes to driving. No amount of safety features can take the place of common sense behind the wheel, so we encourage all drivers to exercise caution and awareness when integrating their devices with their vehicles. 

Please share your thoughts below.

  • Eugene R Freedman from Roanoke

    Posted on 5/15/2020

    Hope you all are well! I purchased a Pioneer AVH 4200 NEX from Crutchfield several years ago and it has been a truly excellent unit. Until January of 2020, Android Auto and OK Google worked flawlessly with that unit. I know the problem is not with my head unit but I just thought perhaps you may have run into a problem with other Crutchfield customers that I am having with Android Auto. Google Assistant works fine on my phone when it is not attached by cable to my head unit but when it is attached to my head unit, Google Assistant does not respond. It's as if it doesn't exist. This is a pervasive problem with Android Auto and I have combed the internet looking for solutions that work. I have tried all the "fixes" in all the forums but they do not work. Just thought I would check with you all and see if you have run into this situation and if you found a "fix" for this issue. Not a catastrophe, just a minor irritant. Thanks for any help or advice. Gene Freedman

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 5/18/2020

    Gene, since you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting that problem. Check out our tech support page for details.
  • Tucker from Asheville

    Posted on 6/14/2019

    If I download android auto must I have Google on, on the phone, in the background constantly for it to make calls to contacts? And, will the hands-free on the steering wheel button still work or must I say "okay google?" And finally can I take it off of the car if I don't like it or does that require a sledgehammer. :-) Thanks.

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 6/17/2019

    Tucker, your steering wheel controls will remain unchanged. Android Auto works like any other app on your phone. If you decide you don't like it, just uninstall the app the way you would any other app (usually a drag-and-drop into trash scenario). As long as you're engaging Android Auto for functionality, it will be working. If you want to go the extra step to close the app on your phone when you're not connected to your receiver, that's always possible. If you have any questions, give our Advisors a call and they can walk you through the details of Android Auto.