Android Auto currently doesn’t allow users to change the system’s wallpaper, and the only way to do so is to have root access. That’s not exactly the most accessible solution for most users, which is why we’re happy to report there will soon be a much easier way.
An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.
According to new strings in Android Auto version 5.8.604354, it looks like Google is preparing to introduce a small amount of customization. Users will seemingly have the option to choose from a handful of pre-made wallpapers, which it must be said all look fantastic. It’s unclear if Google plans to allow users to be able to set a custom background, like a picture from their phone, in the future.
Here are the strings hinting at this feature:
<string name="custom_wallpaper_selection_title">Wallpaper selection</string> <string name="settings_choose_wallpaper">Choose wallpaper</string> <string name="wallpaper_title_black">Black</string> <string name="wallpaper_title_blobs">Blobs</string> <string name="wallpaper_title_default">Mountains</string> <string name="wallpaper_title_droplets">Droplets</string> <string name="wallpaper_title_dusk">Dusk</string> <string name="wallpaper_title_warp">Warp</string> <string name="wallpaper_title_wave">Wave</string>
Many of the options are dark and moody, conveying an abstract aesthetic that goes well with Android Auto’s design. They don’t have the most creative names, but you get the idea. My personal favorite is “Blobs,” and I also really like “Dusk.”
While the backgrounds add a bit of color, you should still be able to see app icons, media controls, and more just fine, but now there will be an added layer of style. Apple recently added wallpapers to its CarPlay platform, allowing users to choose from a handful of pre-made options.
With evidence suggesting Google is preparing to add new wallpapers to Android Auto, hopefully, we’ll see an update with the option soon. For now, you can see the wallpapers yourself down below and decide which one you want to use once the feature is finally available.
The addition of wallpapers isn’t the only new feature seemingly coming to Android Auto. Earlier, we analyzed Android Auto version 5.7 and found that Google was preparing to add support for letting you add a shortcut to a Google Assistant command in Android Auto. In Android Auto version 5.8, we managed to get this feature working.
In Settings > Customize launcher, we surfaced a new “Add a shortcut to the launcher” option up top that lets you add a shortcut to call a contact or trigger an Assistant action. These shortcuts will appear in the head unit launcher alongside the other Android Auto-compatible apps. The feature adds convenience to Android Auto and makes the platform feel a little more like an extension of your smartphone, rather than a completely different system.
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