Android Auto is getting great free Google Maps upgrade

It should make it easier than ever to use your in-car navigation system

Android Auto
(Image credit: Google)

If you've ever hooked your Android phone up to your car, you'll know about Android Auto. The system mirrors your phone apps on the in-car infotainment system, providing a familiar interface for users.

Now, it's getting a decent upgrade. Google Maps is the go-to navigation app for Android devices, and – by extension – Android Auto users. And it's getting a redesigned interface, which should make it even easier to use.

That's part of the latest updates to the Google Maps system. It brings a sidebar to the design of the panel, for easier navigation. Users will have access to zoom controls, as well as settings and a mute switch.

That's a really neat upgrade. When you're driving, it's crucial that any adjustments are as easy as possible. You don't want to have to faff around with diving through menus to find the right button, when you just want to get on with your journey. This should help out a lot, offering a selection of the most commonly used tools in a quick-access menu. 

There does appear to be one caveat, though. The sidebar will only appear when the app is set to full screen mode. You wont have the same layout when you use a split-screen view. That makes sense – when you're looking at a smaller canvas anyway, you'll want to see as much of the map as you can.

Users can expect to find the updated design on version 10 of Android Auto. You'll also need version 11.90 of Google Maps. However, a smattering of users online have spotted it in Android Auto version 9.9, too.

It's not the only upgrades to the system which are expected. We recently found out about a host of upgrades for EV users, thanks to some source code in the latest version. That allowed users to personalise the experience for their EV, tailoring some of the functionality to match up with their vehicle.

Unlike this update, that one was fairly speculative. The source code revealed the bones of the functionality, but it has yet to reach the front end as a user-facing feature.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.