Does Android Auto include YouTube?

Android Auto is a platform developed by Google that allows Android smartphone users to extend their device’s functions to a vehicle’s dashboard display. It was introduced in 2014 and allows users to access certain apps, make calls, send messages, listen to music and get directions through the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Some of Android Auto’s key features include Google Maps integration, Google Assistant voice commands, and support for popular media apps like Spotify and Pandora. However, one app that is notably missing from Android Auto’s default supported apps is YouTube.

This raises the question that this article will explore – does Android Auto have access to YouTube? We will look at whether YouTube is natively supported, discuss potential workarounds, and examine the pros and cons of accessing video streaming platforms while driving.


What is Android Auto?

Android Auto is an app developed by Google that allows you to mirror apps from your Android phone onto your car’s display. It was designed specifically for use inside vehicles to provide drivers with a simplified interface that focuses on core functions like navigation, music playback, and messaging while minimizing distractions (source).

When connected to a compatible car, Android Auto projects a version of your smartphone onto the vehicle’s touchscreen. This provides easy access to key apps and services without having to juggle multiple devices. Some of the main features and apps include (source):

  • Google Maps for navigation
  • Google Assistant for voice commands
  • Ability to make calls and send/receive messages
  • Media playback from apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, etc.

By optimizing the interface for driving environments, Android Auto aims to minimize distractions and allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road. It essentially brings the functionality of a smartphone to the car’s built-in display in a simplified format.

Android Auto’s Default Apps

Android Auto comes with a set of default apps for core functions like navigation, music, and messaging:

For navigation, Android Auto uses Google Maps as the default mapping and turn-by-turn directions app. Google Maps provides voice-guided navigation, real-time traffic information, lane guidance, and more. It’s integrated natively into Android Auto for a seamless navigation experience.

For music, the default options are Google Play Music and Spotify. Both allow you to access your music libraries, playlists, radio stations, and more. You can control playback and select songs just using your voice with Android Auto.

Android Auto also surfaces messaging and phone apps from your connected Android device. This gives you access to your contacts, recent calls, voicemail, and apps like Google Voice and WhatsApp. The interface is simplified for safety, allowing you to send and receive messages hands-free using your voice.

Is YouTube Supported by Android Auto?

The YouTube app is not part of the default app lineup included with Android Auto. Google has chosen not to enable YouTube as part of the Android Auto experience, likely due to safety concerns and distractions from streaming video while driving (1).

However, there are some workarounds that allow access to YouTube content through the Android Auto interface. Third party apps like CarStream have been developed to essentially mirror the YouTube app on a phone and display it through Android Auto (2). These types of apps are not officially supported by Google, but can provide YouTube access for determined Android Auto users.

Overall, while not directly built into Android Auto, it is possible to access YouTube with some additional apps and setup. But Google has avoided making YouTube a default part of the platform.




Workarounds to Access YouTube

Although Android Auto does not natively support YouTube, there are a couple workarounds you can use to access YouTube videos in your car:

One option is to use a video casting app like LocalCast. LocalCast allows you to search for and play YouTube videos directly from your phone, then cast the video stream to another device like your car’s infotainment system. This lets you bypass the restrictions of Android Auto and watch YouTube as you would normally on your phone.

Another workaround is to connect your phone directly to your car’s WiFi/hotspot. Most new cars have a built-in WiFi hotspot you can connect to. Once your phone is connected, you can open the YouTube app and watch videos as you normally would through your car’s display screen. The quality and reliability may vary depending on your car’s hotspot capabilities.

Pros of YouTube Access

One of the biggest pros of allowing YouTube access through Android Auto is providing entertainment for passengers. With long road trips or daily commutes, having access to YouTube videos can help keep passengers entertained and occupied. According to, YouTube access in the car “makes those long road trips easier for both the driver and the passengers.” Passengers can watch music videos, funny videos, movie trailers, and more to pass the time on the road.

In addition to entertainment, YouTube can also be used for educational or how-to videos. For example, passengers may want to lookup tutorials on how to do something or review educational content. Parents can play educational programs for kids in the backseat. There are many useful instructional and informational videos on YouTube that can make productive use of time spent in the car if access is available through Android Auto.

Cons of YouTube Access

One of the main cons of accessing YouTube from Android Auto is the potential for distracted driving. As the source points out, ADHD can already pose risks for drivers. Adding video streaming introduces further visual and mental distractions that take the driver’s eyes and attention off the road.

There are also data usage concerns with streaming YouTube videos in the car. Unless connected to WiFi, streaming videos can use up a significant portion of monthly data plans. While some may have unlimited data, the video quality may downgrade after exceeding certain thresholds.

Tips for Safe Usage

When accessing YouTube or any video streaming service in the car, it’s important to focus on safety. Here are some tips:

Only access YouTube as a passenger. The driver should always remain focused on the road. Passengers can access YouTube via Android Auto, but the driver should refrain from interacting with the screen.

If you want to access videos for a longer trip, consider downloading videos in advance instead of streaming. This puts less demand on network connectivity and allows passengers to pick content they actually want to watch ahead of time. Popular YouTube channels often have playlists designed for downloading entire sets of videos conveniently.

In general, limit video and screen time as much as possible to allow conversations and sightseeing. Pull over in a safe location first before extensively interacting with a mobile device or console system as either a driver or passenger.

The Future of Video in Cars

As in-car entertainment technology continues to advance, native YouTube integration may become more common.

According to AutoNation Ford Littleton, in-car entertainment systems are expected to gain popularity as technology improves and consumers demand more entertainment options in their vehicles. More automakers are recognizing the demand for streaming services such as YouTube and implementing them into their platforms.

Seeking to capitalize on this trend, some companies are developing solutions that enable Android Auto users to access YouTube by screen mirroring their smartphone display. There are promising signs that native YouTube support could become a reality as Google continues enhancing Android Auto.

However, safety must remain the priority. Strict guidelines will be needed to restrict functionality while the car is in motion. Voice commands and simplified controls can allow for safer access to streaming entertainment.


In review, Android Auto does not directly include YouTube in its app line-up for safety reasons. While Android Auto is designed to minimize distractions for drivers by heavily controlling which apps are permitted, there are workarounds for accessing YouTube videos through alternate media apps or by connecting wirelessly to a portable hotspot.

However, watching videos on the road does introduce significant risks. Ultimately, safety should be the top priority while operating a vehicle. While receiving driving directions and controlling music playback via Android Auto is reasonably safe, actively watching videos is not recommended by safety experts. If accessing YouTube or similar apps while driving, extreme caution is warranted.

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