GOOGLE IS SNEAKILY CUTTING OFF SUPPORT FOR OLDER PHONES ON ANDROID AUTO BY FORCING AN UPDATE

Google is slowly reducing the number of devices that support Android Auto through a forced update. Android Auto has been around for years and is often seen as a must-have feature by car buyers who are into tech and wish to have the best and most seamless experience with their car’s infotainment system. Several users will reject an otherwise great car if the vehicle does not support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Earlier this year, Google had raised the basic requirements of a device compatible with Android Auto. Google quietly confirmed earlier this year that Android Auto would require the connected smartphone to run at least Android 8.0 (Oreo) or above. That’s up from the previous requirement of Android 6.0.

While that requirement for future updates is entirely sensible, Google appears to be taking things further.

Over the past few weeks, several Android Auto have taken to Reddit and shared that they have noticed that older versions of the Android Auto app are launching a pop-up saying that an update is required to continue using the app. This appears to be happening with Android Auto versions 7.0 through 7.7.

It seems reasonable to assume that this is a change being made mainly to prepare for several upcoming features and Android Auto’s “Coolwalk,” a significant redesign to Android Auto that’s supposed to be arriving at some point relatively soon.

The pop-up, users say, won’t go away unless users update the Android Auto app. It also blocks the platform from launching on car screens.

As a result, users with older Android phones on Android 6.0 and Android 7.0 cannot use Android Auto, as Android Auto 7.4 was the last version compatible with pre-Oreo releases.

Another side effect is that certain users are forced into a buggy release.

With the forced upgrade that appears to be taking place, users have no choice but to use newer app versions that seem to cause this problem.

Realistically, this won’t be a problem for most Android Auto users, as Android 7.0 and prior make up less than 15% of the total Android distribution as of May 2022. Still, many users had an older smartphone just used in their cars as a gateway to get into Google’s Android Auto, which will now have to get a new device.

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