Some Android Auto updates appear to modify wireless network support

Recent Android Auto updates appear to have changed how wireless functionality, specifically with Wi-Fi networks, functions for certain users during the past week or so. Here is what appears to be happening.

A thread on Googles support forums draws attention to the fact that at least a few Android Auto users have recently discovered that the Wi-Fi icon has vanished. Android Auto used to display the same connectivity icons as your phone, including any active cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

Although their phone may still be connected to a network in some situations, users on the thread claim that the Wi-Fi symbol has vanished from Android Auto.

As was the case for several of the people who reported this change, the main use case for seeing a Wi-Fi network when using Android Auto would be while your phone is linked to a hotspot, whether that be created from another smartphone, a mobile hotspot device, or even your automobile itself.

Beyond this alleged glitch, however, which only prevents the Wi-Fi symbol from appearing, at least a few users are claiming actual functioning changes.

One article on Reddit offers us a clear picture of someone using an Android Auto wireless adapter in conjunction with a mobile hotspot. They may see the adaptor and the hotspot competing for the phone’s connectivity in that situation. Android Auto is inoperable when the hotspot is connected. The hotspot is replaced with mobile data if Android Auto is connected. Due to the distinction between the 2.4GHz network used for the majority of hotspots and the 2.4GHz network used for Android Auto, another user on Google’s forums reports experiencing identical behavior. Both of these users appear to have experienced this after recent updates, especially Android Auto 7.8 in the case reported on Reddit.

It’s not obvious if the most recent Android Auto updates are particularly associated with these Wi-Fi modifications, but Google has not yet commented on the issue. Notably, it’s also likely that this has to do with the wireless connectivity problems that some people are experiencing as a result of recent updates.

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