Google Maps just got a much-requested upgrade drivers will love

It's about time!

Google Maps
(Image credit: Google)

It looks like Google is about to fix one of the most frustrating aspects of how the Google Maps app works on Android Auto

Currently, the Google Maps interface switches between day and night mode based on the vehicle’s own ambient light sensor, or when the driver switches on the lights manually. This causes the Android Auto display to switch from day to night and back to day again when driving through brief darkness, such as under a bridge or underpass.

This has always felt somewhat unnecessary and can be distracting as the screen quickly flicks from one mode to the other, then back again a second later – it even happens with the best sat navs

Thankfully, it looks like Google will soon address this with a future update to Google Maps on Android Auto. With Android Auto version 6.4, which is due to arrive in the next few weeks, users are expected to gain manual control over day and night mode.

According to 9to5Google, Android Auto could be about to gain a user-controllable toggle for light and dark mode in the Developer Settings menu. This would allow for the option to pick between day or night mode, and have Google Maps stick to whichever you pick, regardless of ambient lighting or the status of your car headlights.

Discovered by looking at the code of Android Auto, further options let you have day/night mode match the car (as it does currently), or match whatever mode your smartphone is in, which usually depends on the time of day.

While this seems like an obvious feature to add to Google Maps on Android Auto (and hopefully within Apple CarPlay too), there is no guarantee that it will roll out to the general public. Discoveries like this are found by delving into the code of beta versions of future software updates. Often the code makes references to upcoming functions and even new hardware too, but sometimes those features are removed and never make it to the update given to the public.

Hopefully, we will see this new function arrive with Android Auto 6.4, which is due out in May.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.