BMW Android Auto Hacks You Should Know

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What
is BMW Android Auto?
First up, let’s take a quick look at Android Auto itself.

Available from most auto manufacturers, including BMW, Android Auto is an
OEM system that makes it easy to use plenty of popular Android apps through
your vehicle’s infotainment system.

Whether you want to check Google Maps on the iDrive screen or listen to
Spotify through your car audio speakers, Android Auto is the go-to solution.

Since Android 10, Android Auto has been baked into the operating system, so
you don’t need to do anything extra to get that connection going.

If you’ve got an older phone still on Android 9, though, you’re going to
need to download the Android Auto app to your phone first.

The Android Auto app serves a dual purpose. If your vehicle has Android
Auto, the app (or built in Android Auto functionality) is going to let you
connect the phone to your car’s infotainment system. Early in Android Auto’s
life, when fewer cars came factory-equipped with it, the app was also made to
be used right on the phone itself (mounted on the dashboard, for example),
but that use has faded away as Android Auto has become more ubiquitous.

How does Android Auto work?
Unlike the native iDrive system, Android Auto requires a connection to an
Android phone to operate. That’s because all the apps are running from your
phone, not from your vehicle’s built-in infotainment system.

Depending on your vehicle and Android Auto configuration, that connection
can be through a USB cable, or wireless pairing. The native BMW Android Auto
system is purely wireless, but some aftermarket BMW Android Auto upgrades
including Autosvs’s Android Auto Smartbox for BMW offer both wired and
wireless connectivity.

ANDROID AUTO VIDEO PLAYER HACK
So that’s what Android Auto is, but how do you get it doing exactly what
you want? Fortunately, there are a few easy BMW Android Auto hacks that let you
unlock extra functionality. Let’s see how you can play videos on Android
Auto.

YouTube on Android Auto BMW Android screen mirroring
The default configuration won’t let you play video on Android Auto for
safety reasons, Android Auto is limited to apps that are safe to use while
driving. We all get passengers sometimes, though, so being able to play
YouTube on Android Auto in your BMW would definitely come in handy.

Apps like CarStream purport to allow streaming YouTube content through
Android Auto, but in select BMWs, there’s a native solution available too:
BMW Android screen mirroring.

BMWs with NBTEVO ID5/6 iDrive systems can activate BMW Android screen
mirroring in an easy coding session. With it switched on, you’ll be able to
cast your phone’s screen straight onto the iDrive display.
Android Auto Netflix hack SmartView Apple TV for BMW
Android Auto Netflix hack

Netflix is a tougher nut to crack, so if you want to play video on Android
Auto from your Netflix account. you might not have a great time. Netflix’s
DRM technology even prevents mirroring Netflix in most cases. Even an Android
Auto Netflix hack probably won’t help.

Learn more about screen mirroring for BMW

So what other options do you have, as an Android Auto video player is out
of the question?

I get this might not go down too well in Android circles, but there’s one
solid option: Apple TV. Build it into your BMW, connect it to your iDrive
display, and you’re free to enjoy plenty of video content, including Netflix.

Autosvs’s SmartView HD Plus with Apple TV4 for BMW is a complete,
ready-to-go kit built around an Apple TV4. It includes all the accompanying
hardware required to integrate it with your vehicle, so you can even switch
between iDrive and Apple TV using your dashboard controls.

Apple TV lets you use all the popular video apps you use on your home TV,
including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and more. So whatever your passengers like
watching, you’ll have something ready for them.

BMW video hack BMW video in motion coding
BMW video hack

But there’s more to life than streaming, you know. What happened to the
good old days, when we used to have to keep all our videos and music as files
on our computers? Can’t you watch videos on Android Auto or iDrive that
you’ve saved beforehand?

Yes and no. Many BMWs do allow playing videos from a connected USB stick,
but that pesky safety issue is rearing its ugly head again. BMW blocks video
playback when your vehicle is moving, so all those movies you’ve got
downloaded are going to have to wait until you’re parked up.

That is unless you’ve unlocked video in motion for BMW iDrive, which only
takes a moment at home. Afterwards, all your iDrive video player options will
work not just when your vehicle is stationary, but also when driving.

OTHER BMW ANDROID AUTO HACKS
Even if you stick only to Android Auto, without taking advantage of any of
the other multimedia capabilities of your BMW, there’s still plenty you can
do to improve your experience.

Customize Android Auto home screen
One way to leave your mark on your Android Auto system is by customizing
the home screen. That’s something you’re probably already used to doing on
your Android phone, and while Android Auto doesn’t offer the same level of
customization possibilities, there are still a few ways to switch things up.

Current versions of Android Auto support custom backgrounds, a quick and
easy way to customize how your car’s system looks.

Just check the Settings app on Android Auto, where you’ll be able to select
from a range of wallpaper options.

Mute notification sound on Android Auto
While you’re in the Settings app, you’ll find a few other ways to configure
your system, particularly your notification settings. Because not everybody
actually wants to be distracted by incoming messages from their better half
when they’re trying to enjoy the road ūüėČ

You can either choose not to show message notifications at all, so Android
Auto will stays focused on your navigation directions. Or if you want to see
messages, but mute the notification sound, you can do that.

Set up Google Assistant shortcuts
On the subject of silencing Android Auto.

Google Assistant is definitely one of the standout features of Android
Auto, voice commands making it easy to interact with your vehicle while
driving. But you don’t have to say anything to leverage the power of Google’s
virtual assistant.

Learn more about Google Assistant for BMW Android Auto

With Google Assistant shortcuts, you can add icons to your home screen that
perform specific actions. Got a Google Assistant-enabled garage door opener?
Just make a shortcut to the open garage command and add it to your home
screen, to unlock your garage at the tap of an icon.

You can also create shortcuts for other parts of your smart home system, or
commands to call particular contacts, or even to run a whole Assistant
routine.

Set up default Android Auto music app
One problem with relying on Google Assistant can be making sure it’s using
the right apps. Ask it to play a song, and it can easily try to play it in an
app you don’t use, instead of your favorite streaming app. And with so many
Android Auto music apps, setting which one you want to use matters.

As long as you’re using a popular app with Google Assistant support (like
Spotify or YouTube Music), you can adjust your Google Assistant settings to
include your default music service. You can do that in the Google Assistant
settings on your phone.

Remember, Android Auto is working off your phone, so adjusting your Google
Assistant settings on your device has the effect of changing them when using
Google Assistant with Android Auto, too.

Android Auto update
One of those things is to make sure you’re always using the latest Android
Auto version. The good news? You don’t have to do anything!

As it runs from your phone, you won’t have to make any effort to update
Android Auto. As your other apps and Android itself updates, you’ll see
changes creeping into Android Auto, too.

That’s one area where Android Auto is head and shoulders above the native
iDrive system, which can be much more of a hassle to upgrade to latest
features if it’s possible at all.

With older Android versions that don’t have Android Auto baked in, you’ll
need to download and install the Android Auto app. You’ll find it on the Play
Store in countries where Android Auto is available, or you can download and
install the APK of the current or previous app version online.

HOW TO GET ANDROID AUTO ON BMW?
So that’s all well and good if you’ve already got Android Auto in your BMW.
But what if it didn’t come from the factory with Android Auto enabled? Is
there any way to activate Android Auto in your BMW?

Depending on your iDrive system, yes. Many of the latest BMWs have all the
hardware required to run wireless Android Auto, and only need a software
activation to start using it.

Autosvs can activate BMW-original Android Auto in a remote coding session,
so you don’t even have to leave home to start using your favorite Android
apps in your BMW. As we unlock your iDrive’s built-in Android functionality,
everything is perfectly integrated with the rest of your infotainment system.

The only caveat is that your phone has to support wireless Android Auto,
and the list of phones that do isn’t as extensive as it would be using a
wired connection. If you’re using the latest version of Android, wireless
Android Auto support is baked in.

But moving back to Android 10 and 9, support can depend on your phone. For
Android 10, you’ll need a Samsung or Google device, with other brands not
supported. With Android 9, only a handful of Samsung Galaxy devices support
it.

What’s more, your phone needs to support 5Ghz WiFi, but that probably won’t
be a problem with a modern device.

How to install Android Auto on BMW?
Owners of older vehicles can still take advantage on Android Auto retrofit
that rivals the factory integration. It only takes a hardware installation.

Autosvs’s Android Auto Smartbox retrofit for BMW is a module that is
connected to your BMW’s iDrive system and factory dashboard display. It
offers both Android Auto and BMW Android screen mirroring wrapped up in one
package perfect not only for checking navigation directions, but also making
up for the missing Android Auto video players. And if you’ve got family or
friend’s with iPhones, it comes with Apple CarPlay support, too.

It also supports both wireless and wired connections, so even old Android
devices that don’t support wireless Android Auto will work fine.

Android Auto Smartbox is available for almost all BMWs from the previous
few generations produced after 2008 that don’t have native support for
Android Auto. So now there’s no reason for anybody to miss out on some great
BMW Android Auto hacks.

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