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Android Auto tweak puts key info within reach

Google is finally giving drivers the option to further customise the Android Auto experience, so the most used widgets can sit closer to the driver’s side.

The latest beta roll out for Android Auto builds on the split-screen interface which arrived in January to match the look of Apple CarPlay. Now Google is going a step farther by adding the ability to switch the orientation of the widgets.

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Users can select the Settings cog on the car unit when connected to Android Auto and select the “Change layout” menu. From here, drivers will be able to choose between “Navigation closer to the driver” or “Media closer to the driver.”

According to 9to5Google, it’s also possible to alter this setting on your Android phone via the Android Auto settings.

As the site also points out, you’ll need to be a member of the Android Auto beta testing program in order to access this setting. However, it probably won’t be long before it rolls out to all users. After all, it is a pretty basic change.

Android Auto
Image credit: 9to5Google

The initial changes made by Google focused on navigation, audio and communication with all facets viewable within the new UI.

Maps, for example, is now closer to the driver’s side by default, while there’s a new media card showing album art and a progress bar. There’s also a quick launcher that makes it easy to launch compatible and recently used apps.

The new capabilities include shortcuts for one-touch replies to messages, smart calling suggestions, missed call reminders and the ability to quickly share the ETA while you’re on the road. Users will also be able to make WhatsApp calls with Android Auto on Samsung or Pixel phones.

Google also says the new experience is compatible with all of the major car manufacturers and compatible with various aspect ratios for the in-car display.

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