Does YouTube work in Android Auto?

What is Android Auto?

Android Auto is a mobile app developed by Google to extend the Android platform into vehicles. It allows users to access certain apps and functions of their smartphone through the vehicle’s infotainment display ( The Android Auto app connects a user’s Android phone to the vehicle’s infotainment system, either wirelessly or through a direct USB cable connection. This allows Android Auto to project apps and services from the phone to the vehicle’s center screen. The driver can control Android Auto through voice commands or controls built into the steering wheel or center console.

The main purpose of Android Auto is to provide a safe, optimized way to use key apps from an Android device while driving ( It has a simple interface focused on common tasks like navigation, media playback, and voice calls. Android Auto also integrates with the vehicle’s controls like steering wheel buttons, knobs, touchscreens etc. This allows drivers to access key phone functions without the distraction of handling the phone itself while driving.

YouTube app compatibility with Android Auto

The main YouTube app is not officially supported or compatible with Android Auto as per Google’s current guidelines. This is likely due to safety concerns around streaming or watching videos while driving [1]. However, the YouTube Music app does have compatibility and can be used to stream audio-only content in Android Auto.

Although the core YouTube app cannot run natively in Android Auto, Google has not completely prohibited video streaming capabilities. Some third-party video apps like CarStream offer integrated YouTube playback via Android Auto’s interface and head unit display [2]. But the official YouTube app remains restricted for the time being.

Why the main YouTube app doesn’t work

The main YouTube app does not work with Android Auto for a couple key reasons. Firstly, the main YouTube app allows full video playback, which is disabled in Android Auto for safety reasons. Since Android Auto is meant to be used while driving, Google restricts apps to only display simplified interfaces to minimize driver distraction (Source). Allowing YouTube’s full video playback capabilities could lead to dangerous driving situations if users are focused on watching videos on the road.

Additionally, the Android Auto platform focuses on essential apps for driving only. The approved apps are limited to music, navigation, messaging, calling and voice assistants. Entertainment apps with full video playback like YouTube do not align with Android Auto’s goal of minimizing distractions. While users may want to stream YouTube videos in the car, Google has chosen to prioritize driver safety by restricting video playback within Android Auto (Source).

Workarounds to access YouTube

While the main YouTube app is not directly available in Android Auto, there are some workarounds that allow limited YouTube access through your car’s infotainment system.

One option is to use the YouTube Music app, which comes pre-installed on Android Auto. This allows you to search for and play audio-only YouTube content like songs, playlists, and music videos. So if you just want to listen to YouTube music or podcasts in the car, this app has you covered.

Another simple workaround is to connect your phone to your car’s Bluetooth and control YouTube playback entirely from your phone screen. You can browse and select videos as normal on your phone, and the audio will play through your car speakers. This gives you full YouTube access, but does require handling your phone while driving.

Some third-party apps like CarStream also enable video playback on Android Auto systems. However, these require additional setup and technical knowledge.

Alternative video apps for Android Auto

Like YouTube, popular video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu do not have official apps that work with Android Auto. This is likely due to safety concerns and distractions from streaming video in the car. However, there are some third-party workarounds that allow access to video in Android Auto:

CarStream ( – This app allows you to stream YouTube and Twitch by mirroring video from your phone to your car’s display. It works by bypassing Android Auto’s restrictions. Reviews suggest CarStream works well for most users.

AAAD (Android Auto Apps Downloader – – Similar to CarStream, this app also lets you display and control video from supported apps on your Android Auto screen. The video plays on your phone while you view it on the dash.

While unofficial, these apps provide options for those wanting to access video streams in the car through Android Auto. However, they likely go against Google’s intent for limiting distractions. Proceed with caution when considering streaming video on the road.

Google’s Stance on Adding YouTube

Google has not announced any plans to add full YouTube support to Android Auto. Their focus remains on limiting distractions for drivers by restricting access to apps that could divert attention from the road.

According to a Google spokesperson interviewed in this article, “We take driving safety very seriously, and support messaging, navigation and select third-party audio apps while driving.” YouTube does not fall into one of those approved categories.

Google wants the Android Auto experience to be simple, streamlined, and promote safe driving habits. Adding YouTube could go against that philosophy by enabling more complex and distracting video streaming while operating a vehicle.

User demand for YouTube integration

There is significant demand from users for full YouTube integration and support in Android Auto. On Reddit forums like r/AndroidAuto, many users have requested the ability to directly access YouTube videos and features while using Android Auto.

Users want to be able to browse and select videos in the YouTube app, see video titles, descriptions, playlists and more while connected to Android Auto. There is interest in both watching videos for entertainment purposes and listening to YouTube videos like songs, podcasts and audiobooks while driving and charging their phone.

Currently, without official YouTube support, users need to resort to third party apps or workarounds which provide a subpar experience. Having full native integration would improve the user experience considerably.

Safety concerns around video streaming

One of the main hesitations around adding YouTube and other streaming video apps to Android Auto is the concern around increased driver distraction and crash risks. Studies have repeatedly shown that activities like texting or watching videos while driving significantly impair driver attention and increase the chances of accidents (Source: With streaming video there is a constant pull for the driver’s eyes and focus to drift towards the visually compelling moving images on the screen.

Some argue that passengers could safely watch streaming videos through Android Auto without endangering the driver. While there is some validity to this counterargument, the overall distraction, safety issues, and potential liability risks still pose barriers to full YouTube and similar streaming app integration. Google and automakers want to enable rich in-car entertainment while still prioritizing driver safety and accident reduction.

The future of in-car entertainment

In-car entertainment systems are rapidly evolving thanks to advancements in connected car technology. According to a blog by 3SS, major trends shaping the future of in-car entertainment include larger screens, augmented reality, and an emphasis on voice controls. This makes entertainment options not just larger and flashier, but also safer for drivers.

One key trend is auto manufacturers adding larger, higher resolution touchscreens to control infotainment. For example, the 3SS blog notes that Mercedes has unveiled a 56-inch screen spanning the width of the dashboard in its new EQS electric sedan. Giant screens create an immersive, cinematic experience for passengers.

Touchscreens can be distracting for drivers, so voice commands are improving to enable distraction-free use. As reported by Insider Intelligence, natural language processing allows more conversational voice interactions. Drivers can change songs, navigate, or adjust vehicle settings completely hands-free just by speaking.

Augmented reality and virtual reality bring interactive 3D experiences into the vehicle. For example, futuristic concept cars have windshields doubling as AR heads-up displays. The real potential for AR and VR remains to be seen, but the auto industry is actively exploring how to integrate it safely and practically.


To recap the main points, the official YouTube app is not supported on Android Auto because Google wants to promote safe driving by limiting video streaming in the car. While some third party apps enable YouTube access, this is against Google’s guidelines and may be blocked in future updates. The workaround options are not ideal and lack important features of the main YouTube app.

So to definitively answer the original question – no, YouTube does not directly work with Android Auto. Google has not announced plans to add native YouTube support anytime soon given the safety and distracted driving concerns around streaming video. Your best option is to access YouTube before or after driving when it is safe to watch videos. For audio-only in the car, YouTube Music does integrate with Android Auto.

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