Having the Google Assistant read out new messages while you’re driving is a great way to keep in touch with your contacts in a safe, distraction-free way while driving.
Unfortunately, it seems like the voice assistant hasn’t been behaving itself recently, with Android Auto users reporting how it is failing to read out incoming messages.
The issues appear to have begun in early February, with Android Auto users posting on Google’s help forums about the problem. When asking the Google Assistant to read out new WhatsApp messages, the system responds with: “You need to authorise personal responses for this car”.
This seems like a simple thing to do, but there’s actually no option in the Android Auto and Google Assistant settings menus to do this. One user said: “The setting does not exist anywhere in my Android Auto settings nor in my phone. Pretty frustrating.”
When something like this happens it’s hard to work out exactly what is at fault. It could be WhatsApp, it could be Google Assistant, or it might be the Android Auto system itself, which runs on the smartphone but is interacted with via the car’s dashboard display.
Clearing the cache of every app involved is a good place to start, and some users have claimed this provides a temporary fix. It is also worth trying to downgrade to an earlier version of the Google app, as suggested by AutoEvolution. Steppin back to version 14.3 could provide the answer, but again this isn’t a permanent fix.
For that, we’ll need to wait for either Google or WhatsApp parent Meta to come up with a solution. In the meantime, Google is asking for everyone suffering from the problem to provide information like their car make and model, phone type, Android OS version, Google app version and the country they are in. Google began collecting this data on 2 February, right after the issue first cropped up, so hopefully it’ll be working on a fix and rolling it out soon.