Can I play my own music on Android Auto?

What is Android Auto?

Android Auto is a smartphone projection system developed by Google that displays a simplified, driver-friendly interface on a vehicle’s infotainment screen. It allows drivers to access key features and apps on an Android phone hands-free, through voice commands and minimal taps, to minimize distractions while driving.

The Android Auto app connects to a compatible vehicle’s infotainment system via USB cable or wireless connection. It mirrors select content and functions from the phone onto the car’s built-in display. The interface shows simplified versions of a user’s map, media, communications and supported apps. Key controls and information such as turn-by-turn directions, caller ID, music selection and notifications appear in easy-to-read cards that users can quickly tap through.

Android Auto aims to provide drivers with a safe and seamless connected driving experience. By projecting only driving-optimized apps and services to minimize interactions, it allows users to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

How Android Auto Works

Android Auto allows you to access apps and services from your Android phone on your car’s infotainment system screen. There are two main ways to connect your Android phone to your car’s infotainment system to use Android Auto:

Wireless connection: Some newer Android phones and cars can connect to each other wirelessly using Bluetooth and WiFi. This allows you to use Android Auto without any cables.

USB cable: Most Android Auto setups require connecting your Android phone to your car’s USB port with a USB cable. Once connected via USB, your phone will launch Android Auto and mirror supported apps to your car’s display.

In both connection methods, Android Auto displays a simplified version of certain apps from your phone onto your car’s infotainment screen. This allows you to safely access music, navigation, calls, messages and other apps while driving.

Playing Your Own Music

You can play your own music that is stored locally on your Android phone through Android Auto. One of the easiest ways is to use the default music apps that come with your phone, like Google Play Music or Samsung Music, which allow you to access songs stored on your device. Simply connect your phone via USB and select the app to start playing local tracks through your car’s stereo system.

You can also use third-party apps like Poweramp, GoneMad or JetAudio that have Android Auto integration and can play local music files 1. These apps give you more flexibility and features for playback compared to the default options. After installing, grant the app access to your storage and you’ll be able to browse and play your own music library over Android Auto.

Using Default Music Apps

Android Auto integrates with several popular streaming music apps, allowing you to access your personal playlists and libraries through your car’s infotainment system. Apps like Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora are supported in Android Auto by default.

When you connect your Android phone to your car, these music apps will automatically appear in Android Auto’s interface. You can then select playlists and stations from your personal libraries just as you would on your phone. For example, if you have a “Driving” playlist on Spotify, it will be available to play through Android Auto.

The advantage of using these default apps is that Android Auto is optimized to work seamlessly with them. You can easily search for artists, albums, songs, playlists, and podcasts using your voice or the car’s controls. Supported apps also include extra features like offline playback.

Adding your Own Media Files

One way to play your own music through Android Auto is by adding your own media files directly to your Android device’s local storage. You can transfer audio files such as MP3s, FLAC, WAV, and more from your computer to your Android device by connecting your phone via USB and transferring the files. Or you can download the files directly to your device. Here are a few options for adding your own music files:

You can connect your Android device to your computer via USB and use your computer’s file explorer to copy music files into your device’s Music folder. Make sure to allow file transfer and storage access on your Android device when connected via USB. This will enable your computer to access the Android file system and transfer files. See How to Copy Music to Your Android Phone for step-by-step instructions.

Another option is to download MP3s or other audio files directly to your Android device using a file manager app. Apps like Amaze File Manager let you browse and download files on the device itself. You can then use the file manager to copy the downloads into your Music folder.

Once you have added MP3s, FLACs, or other audio files to your device’s local storage, you can access them in your music apps. When using Android Auto, you can then select the locally stored music to play just like you would with a streaming music library.

Enabling Storage Access

You may need to enable storage permissions for your music app in Android Auto in order to play your own media files. This allows the app to access music stored locally on your phone’s storage. Here are the steps to enable storage permission:

Open the Settings app on your Android phone and go to Apps & Notifications > See all apps. Find your music app and select it. Tap Permissions and enable the Storage permission. This will allow the app to access media files stored on your device [1].

If Storage does not show under App Permissions, you may need to go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Special app access > Manage storage access. Enable storage access for your music app here. Some Android versions hide storage access under a different menu [2].

Granting storage permission allows your music app to find and play media files stored on your Android device through Android Auto. Just make sure to enable it before connecting your phone to your car.

Alternative Music Apps

While the default Android Auto music apps like Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora work well, there are some great third-party options too. Apps like Poweramp, Rocket Player, and others can also access local files stored on your phone and play music through Android Auto.

These apps give you advanced audio controls, custom equalizers, gapless playback, and support for niche formats not handled by the default music players. They essentially give you a more robust music management system tailored for audiophiles and power users.

To use a third-party music app with Android Auto, you simply need to install it on your phone and grant it permissions to access media files. The app should then appear automatically in your Android Auto menu once connected to your car. This allows you to access your full media library on the go.

Bluetooth Connections

Many modern cars support Bluetooth connections with your phone that allow you to continue playing music through your car’s speakers even when Android Auto is running. This works by connecting your phone to your car’s Bluetooth system separately from the Android Auto connection. Your phone will send the audio from your music apps over Bluetooth while still using the Android Auto connection for everything else.

So if your car stereo system supports Bluetooth audio streaming, you can play music stored locally on your device through services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music etc. without issue. The sound will come through your car speakers like normal Bluetooth audio. This provides a way to bypass Android Auto’s music restrictions and play your own media. Just make sure your car stereo and phone have Bluetooth paired and turned on.

Some users have reported interruptions or instability with Bluetooth music playback coinciding with notifications or other happenings within Android Auto. But overall it provides a simple way to get your own music playing in the car alongside Android Auto’s core infotainment features. Check if your car’s Bluetooth supports A2DP music streaming for the best experience (see source).

USB Drive Options

One way to play your own music files through Android Auto is by using a USB drive. You can load MP3 files or other music formats onto a USB flash drive or hard drive and connect it to your car’s USB input. As long as your car stereo supports media playback from USB, it will be able to access and play the music files on the drive.

This method allows you to play your music collection without needing to add the files to your phone’s storage. It also doesn’t require any special apps, since the car stereo itself can read and play music from the USB drive. Just make sure your music files are properly formatted and organized on the USB drive before connecting.

According to users on Reddit and car forums, this USB method works well for playing your own music through Android Auto, with the convenience of keeping the files separate from your phone. It also allows you to pack the drive with hundreds or thousands of songs, more than you may have space for on your phone.



While Android Auto allows you to play your personal music library, there are some limitations to be aware of. Due to restrictions put in place by music labels and streaming services, certain files may not play properly through Android Auto. Specifically, files with DRM protection can cause issues when trying to play them in your car.

Additionally, the playback controls in Android Auto are simplified compared to a regular music app. You may not have access to advanced features like playlists, queues, and ratings. The interface is designed to minimize driver distraction, so options are limited.

Finally, streaming quality can suffer over Android Auto. Due to bandwidth constraints and data usage concerns, music may stream at a lower quality than you’re used to. So if you rely on high-bitrate lossless audio, you may be disappointed with the sound quality over Android Auto. Consider downloading higher quality files to a USB drive if audio fidelity is important.

Overall, while Android Auto opens up options for in-car listening, it does come with some inherent compromises. Understanding the limitations can help set proper expectations when using your own music library on the go.

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