You can now download the stable version of Android Auto 9.6 on your Android device. The previous Android Auto 9.5 version got some vague bug fixes. Specifically, there were some bugs with the entire UI freezing and crashing on 9.5, but we’re unsure if this version fixes that.
Some users who got the new Coolwalk redesign reported many touch response issues on Android Auto 9.4 and 9.5. Unfortunately, basic methods like restarting your phone, re-pairing the device, uninstallation, and reinstallation didn’t seem to help.
The only viable solution for this problem was downgrading to a previous version of Android Auto. More specifically, a version that didn’t have the Coolwalk UI. This is highly inconvenient since you’ll have to find external APKs for the process.
To focus on refinements and try to avoid experience-breaking bugs, Google has an extensive beta program for Android Auto. Google follows a general schedule of rolling out updates every seven or ten days. These updates typically have minor code changes internally to add some refinement but don’t bring insignificant features.
We’ll see beta versions every week or every ten days, and the versions will move to the public in about two weeks of beta testing. The updates happen in staged rollouts to further improve the stability of updates. Everyone receives the updates in phases; not everyone in every region gets the update on the same day.
Android Auto 9.6 is now officially out for everyone. However, if you don’t see it on your device yet, it could take up to a week for a complete rollout to people in all regions. In typical Google fashion, Android Auto 9.6 lacks an official changelog. There’s nothing new with this version in terms of features.
We’re not sure if there’s a major stability improvement. Since they list vague bug fixes, we can’t tell whether the touch response issues or playback bugs have been fixed with this version. If you’re not in a hurry, you won’t miss out on anything if you don’t update as soon as possible; and if your current version is working perfectly fine.
Updating to this latest version doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the Coolwalk or the Cast feature. Google controls the rollout of these features with a server-side switch. They don’t tie it to a particular version of Android Auto. Fortunately, dark mode is still independent of the UI.
If you’re wondering what Coolwalk is, it’s a new UI design for Android Auto. It borrows some design cues from Apple’s CarPlay. Coolwalk has a dock for multitasking and split-screen support. It also brings a media player and Google Maps redesign.
We also don’t have any information on the weather card in landscape orientation. You could see it in the status bar earlier. However, it’s missing in landscape mode with the new Coolwalk UI. It doesn’t look like the developers addressed this with Android Auto 9.6.
Prior versions allowed some users to choose the default startup app, like Spotify, instead of Google Maps. You could also pick a third-party app as your default navigation app. These two features haven’t made it to everyone yet, either.
While the public rollout of Coolwalk has gained a lot of pace in recent weeks, not everyone has it yet. There’s no ETA from Google, but we can assume it’ll eventually make it to everyone before Q3 2023 or, at most, by the end of the year.