Firing up the new Assistant Driving Mode can be frustrating, but a new tweak might make it easier for some

With Android 12, Google is officially retiring its legacy Android Auto for phone screens app, finally transitioning to Assistant Driving Mode after a premature announcement in 2019. Its new car-friendly UI is off to a great start, but it definitely remains a work-in-progress. One of the most common complaints facing Assistant Driving Mode is its clunky launch method, but a new update goes a long way to fix it.

If you’re using your phone in a car, there’s a good chance it’s connected to your vehicle’s audio system wirelessly. With Assistant Driving Mode’s latest update, the app will auto-launch whenever it syncs with your car’s Bluetooth (via 9to5Google). It’s a significant improvement over its previous method, which required triggering Assistant and saying, “let’s drive.”

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It’s disabled by default, so if you’re using Driving Mode, you’ll want to make sure to dive into your settings to enable it. Google gives you two options here: launching while connected to Bluetooth or waiting until it detects motion and an audio device to start. Sticking with Bluetooth exclusively gives you the option to start Driving Mode automatically, while motion detection will always prompt you first with a notification. It’s a strange quirk, since the last thing you should be doing while operating a vehicle is interacting with your phone.

While an app drawer listing is probably all most people want, these new options are a welcome addition nonetheless. Getting Driving Mode to open has been a major complaint from users, second only to the lack of a landscape view. Unfortunately, that feature is still missing, but Google has shown its new car interface a lot of love over the last couple of months. We can keep hoping extra UI controls aren’t too far off in the distance.

We’re seeing these options in Google v12.39 on devices running both Android 11 and 12. You can grab it using the Play Store link below or download the latest APK from APK Mirror.

Developer: Google LLC

Price: Free