Why is my music not playing through Android Auto?

Android Auto is Google’s dedicated platform for connecting your Android phone to your car’s infotainment system, allowing you to access apps and services safely while driving. It integrates many popular music apps like Spotify and YouTube Music to play songs, playlists, podcasts, etc. directly through your car’s speakers. However, some users have reported problems with Android Auto not playing music from these apps even when a track seems to be selected and “playing.” This can be frustrating if you rely on Android Auto for music playback in your car. In this guide, we’ll explore potential solutions to fix the issue of Android Auto not playing music properly.

Connected Cars Compatibility

Android Auto works seamlessly with many different vehicle makes and models. According to Google’s list of Android Auto-compatible vehicles and stereos, the following are some of the makes and models that are compatible:

  • Acura – ILX, MDX, RDX, TLX
  • Audi – A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q5, Q7, TT
  • Buick – Encore, Envision, Lacrosse, Regal
  • Cadillac – ATS, CTS, CT6, Escalade, XT5, XTS
  • Chevrolet – Bolt EV, Camaro, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Impala, Malibu, Silverado, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe, Trax, Volt

And many more models from Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo. It’s best to check your specific vehicle to confirm compatibility.

Android Auto can connect both wirelessly and via USB cable on supported vehicles. Checking for wireless Android Auto compatibility is important if you want to connect your phone without wires.

Connection Methods

There are two main ways to connect your Android phone to your car’s infotainment system to use Android Auto – wired and wireless. With a wired connection, you physically plug your phone into your car’s USB port using a USB cable. This allows your phone to connect to the infotainment system and display the Android Auto interface on your car’s screen. The wired method is the most common and compatible with all Android Auto enabled cars and head units https://www.xda-developers.com/android-auto/.

The wireless method was introduced more recently and allows you to connect your Android phone to your car’s infotainment system over Wi-Fi, without needing a USB cable. For this to work, both your car’s head unit and your phone need to support wireless Android Auto. The phone connects to the head unit’s Wi-Fi signal directly to display Android Auto. Wireless Android Auto offers more convenience but has some limitations like potential interference, lower connectivity range, and higher power consumption https://support.google.com/androidauto/answer/6348019?hl=en.

Media App Compatibility

Android Auto has built-in support for popular media apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, and Pandora, allowing you to stream music directly through your car’s infotainment system. However, Android Auto also supports many other third-party media apps. Here are some of the top music and audio apps compatible with Android Auto:

Google Play Music – Google’s own music app seamlessly integrates with Android Auto. You can access your full Google Play Music library and use voice commands to play songs, albums, playlists and more 1.

Spotify – The popular streaming service Spotify offers hands-free control with Android Auto. You can ask for music by genre, mood, playlist and more. Spotify also enables you to browse and play podcasts 2.

Pocket Casts – One of the top podcast apps for Android, Pocket Casts lets you search, browse, and play your favorite podcasts through Android Auto. You can also queue episodes for sequential playback 3.

Audible – Amazon’s Audible audiobook app works seamlessly with Android Auto. Just ask it to play any book in your library and it will begin reading aloud. You can also browse titles and control playback using voice commands.

Pandora – The Pandora music streaming service has native Android Auto integration. You can thumbs up/down songs to tune stations and take advantage of voice controls.

Poweramp – This popular local music player app offers Android Auto support. You can access your entire music library stored locally on your phone.

These are just some of the many great media apps that work flawlessly with Android Auto, allowing you to enjoy your favorite audio content on the go.

App Permissions

One common reason for music not playing in Android Auto is related to the app permissions. Android Auto requires certain permissions to be enabled in order to function properly, including access to location and storage on your device [1]. These permissions allow Android Auto to utilize key features:

Location access is required for navigation, directing you to your destination and providing real-time traffic updates. Without location permission enabled, Android Auto cannot provide these navigation and routing capabilities [1].

Storage access is needed so Android Auto can index and play your locally stored music files and media. The app needs to access your music library on the device storage to play songs through your car stereo. Lacking storage permission will prevent Android Auto from finding and playing your downloaded music [1].

Therefore, it is essential to make sure these key permissions are enabled for Android Auto in your device app settings. You may need to manually grant location and storage access in the app permissions menu if you had previously disabled them. With the correct permissions allowed, Android Auto should be able to properly access your music library and navigation features.

Update Software

One of the most common reasons Android Auto may stop working is because the various software components are out of date. There are three main pieces of software that need to be kept current: the media or music app on your phone, the Android operating system on your phone, and the infotainment system software in your car.

Check if there are any available updates for your music apps in the Google Play Store or app store on your phone – installing the latest version can sometimes resolve compatibility issues with Android Auto. It’s also important to keep your phone’s Android operating system up to date by installing the latest OS updates when available. Major Android releases like Android 10, 11, 12 etc often contain bug fixes and improvements for Android Auto.

Finally, check with your car manufacturer if there are any infotainment system software updates for your vehicle – these periodically add support and enhance connectivity with newer phones and apps. Keeping all three software components up to date greatly improves the chances of seamless Android Auto connectivity.

As cited on the Kia website [1], car manufacturers like Kia have offered free infotainment software updates to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support in older vehicles. So it’s worth looking into available updates for your car model and model year.

Clear App Cache/Data

One of the most common troubleshooting steps for media apps not playing audio through Android Auto is to clear the app cache and data. Here are the steps to clear cache/data for your media apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, etc.:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android device.
  2. Tap on Apps or Application Manager.
  3. Locate the media app that is having issues and tap on it.
  4. Tap on Storage.
  5. Tap on Clear Cache to clear the app cache.
  6. Tap on Clear Data to clear the app data.
  7. Confirm clearing cache and/or data when prompted.

Clearing the cache removes temporary data stored by the app, while clearing data resets the app back to default settings. After clearing cache/data, restart the media app and reconnect to Android Auto to see if media playback issues are resolved. Refer to this guide for more detailed steps with screenshots.

Disable Battery Optimization

Many Android devices have battery optimization enabled by default, which can restrict apps from running background processes and accessing system resources when the screen is off. This can interfere with music and media apps being able to continue playing audio over Android Auto when the phone screen turns off or locks.

To resolve playback issues, it is recommended to disable battery optimization for media apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, etc. This allows the apps to continue running properly in the background when connected to Android Auto. According to Convoy’s support article, disabling battery optimization is important for location tracking to work properly on Android devices.

The steps to disable battery optimization vary by device brand and Android version. On Samsung devices, go to Settings > Device care > Battery > Background usage limits and add media apps to the ‘No restrictions’ list. On other devices, go to Settings > Apps > Special app access > Battery optimization and select ‘Don’t optimize’ for media apps.

Disabling battery optimization allows apps to function normally in the background when using Android Auto, resolving music playback issues.

Restart Devices

One common troubleshooting step for getting Android Auto working again is to restart your Android phone and your car’s display system. Sometimes after software updates or connections issues, restarting can reset things and get Android Auto connecting properly again. Here’s how to restart the devices:

  • Restart your Android Phone – Hold down the power button and choose “Restart” when the menu pops up. Let the phone completely turn off and back on.
  • Restart your Car’s Display – Check your owner’s manual for how to restart the car’s display screen or head unit. Often there is a restart option in the settings. If not, you may need to turn the car ignition fully off and back on.

Restarting your phone and the car display essentially refreshes the connection between the devices. It clears out any software bugs, connectivity issues, or updates that may be temporarily preventing Android Auto from launching or displaying properly. Try restarting the phone and car display anytime Android Auto is having issues connecting or displaying your music library. It’s one of the simplest troubleshooting steps that commonly gets Android Auto working again properly (Source).

Factory Reset

As a last resort, resetting the Android device back to the factory settings may resolve the issues with Android Auto not playing music. This will erase all the data on the phone so it should only be done after trying all other troubleshooting steps.

According to ExpressVPN, a factory reset essentially reverts the device back to its initial state when you first purchased it. This wipes all personal data and resets all settings. Once complete, you’ll have to set up the device again as if it were brand new.

The main methods to factory reset an Android device are using the Settings app, Recovery Mode, or hardware buttons. To reset via Settings, go to General Management > Reset > Factory Data Reset. You’ll be prompted to enter credentials and confirm the reset. Recovery Mode is accessed by a key combo on boot, while hardware reset varies per device model. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Factory resetting is time consuming and you’ll lose all local data, so only do this if no other troubleshooting helps get Android Auto playing music again. But it can fully clear any problematic apps, settings or corrupted files causing conflicts with Auto.

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