It looks like Google has introduced a serious bug with a software update rolled out for Android Auto in early July, and there is currently no fix.
Android users have reported how the Android Auto system goes completely black a few seconds after their handset connects wirelessly to the vehicle.
Such issues sometimes occur when using a faulty USB cable, but it’s unusual to see such severe problems with wireless Android Auto, which uses a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Users first reported the problem on Google’s support forums on 3 July, but it wasn’t until 15 July that a representative from Google’s Android Auto team responded. They said: “Our team would like to investigate this issue,” and explained how users can better explain what’s going on.
Since then, a number of users have reported the same problem on a range of cars, with one saying their Chevrolet dealership confirmed it’s an issue with Android Auto and not the vehicle itself. One even said how their dealership removed the dashboard display and replaced it before discovering the problem was being caused by Android.
With Android Auto not working on affected phones, drivers no longer have access to Google Maps, music-streaming applications, and all of the other services provided by the system.
The problem appears to have spread since the roll-out of the latest 7.8 version of Android Auto. Some users have found that using a wired USB connection fixes the issue, while others worked out that rolling back to a previous version of Android Auto restores wireless functionality. You can do this by opening the Settings app then going to Apps -> Android Auto -> Uninstall Updates.
We hope Google rolls out a fix soon, but until then this issue highlights how apps like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay need to be bulletproof if they are to effectively run the infotainment systems of our cars.