Android apps for cars should avoid driver distraction above all else. You can minimize distractions by following best practices, such as using voice commands and a very simple visual design.
Great car experiences are predictive and predictable. Your app should show timely information to the driver only when it's relevant, and use simple, predictable patterns for common tasks. For more information, refer to the following design guidelines:
Testing your app
You must test your app for the criteria listed on this page before submitting your app to Google Play for review. Test each of the three ways a driver can access your app:
- Access on Android Automotive OS
- Access on an Android Auto compatible car display
Use the Android Auto Desktop Head Unit (DHU) to validate each checklist item. For more information, see Test your app for Android Auto compatible car displays.
- Access on a phone screen
Use a phone to validate each checklist item. For more information, see Test your app for phone screens.
Core app quality
In addition to the Auto-specific criteria listed below, Auto apps should meet all relevant core app quality criteria for the Android platform, as detailed in core app quality. Test your app against those criteria to ensure that it meets Android standards for navigation and design. Then test your app against all Auto-specific criteria, remembering that, when running on a device connected to Android Auto, your app must meet the requirements listed on this page.
Visual design and user interaction
These criteria ensure that your app follows critical design and interaction patterns to offer a consistent, intuitive, and enjoyable user experience on Android Auto. Many elements, such as the navigation drawer, card backgrounds, fonts and icon colors, are set and rendered by the system. Your app-specific design elements must meet the following criteria when running on a device connected to Android Auto.
The app does not display animated elements on the Auto screen such as animated graphics, video, or progress bars.
The app does not display text-based advertising other than the advertiser's name or the product name.
App elements do not display any images on the Auto screen. Exceptions include: apps may display a single static image for content context in the background of the consumption screen, such as album art or the advertiser's corporate logo. Apps may also display icons in the content navigation drawer.
The app does not include games or other features outside the app types intended for Auto. (Learn How)
While the app is interacting with the car screen, the app does not activate the phone screen to present any form of visual information (notifications, toasts, video, images, advertising, or similar). Similarly, while the app is running Android Auto UI on the phone screen, the app does not present any visual information on the phone screen that is unrelated to Android Auto.
The app does not display automatically scrolling text.
The app supports day mode, which renders dark text and controls on a light background. (Learn How)
The app supports night mode, which renders light text and controls on a dark background. (Learn How)
The app provides white icon sets that the system colorizes to provide automatic contrast compensation. (Learn How)
The app provides colors that the system can optimize for easy in-vehicle readability. (Learn How)
The app must support voice commands in audio apps. (Learn How)
App-specific buttons respond to user actions with no more than a two-second delay.
These criteria ensure that your app is configured correctly and provides the expected functional behavior when running on a device connected to Android Auto.
The app launches in no more than 10 seconds.
The app loads content in no more than 10 seconds.
Auto app functionality works as expected or described in the app's Google Play Store listing.
When the app is relaunched from the home screen, the app restores the app state as closely as possible to the previous state.
Interactive elements that are intentionally grayed-out must be non-functional.
Media apps do not autoplay on the startup of Android Auto or without user initiated action to select the app or app media. (Learn How)
The app does not present advertisements through notifications.
The app displays notifications only when relevant to the driver's needs.
The app receives incoming messages. (Learn How)
Messages are properly grouped and displayed in the correct order. (Learn How)
The user can reply to a message. (Learn How)
The app uses short-form messaging app design patterns. Traditional long-form messaging apps, such as apps for email, are not permitted.
The app implements a peer-to-peer messaging service and not notification services such as those for weather, stocks, and sport scores.
Frequently asked questions
After submitting my app, how will I find out if my app does not meet all the requirements for Android Auto?
If your app does not meet the usability requirements described on this page, the Play Store team will contact you through the email address specified in the Google Play Console account associated with the app.
Note: For information about how to publish your Auto app in Google Play, see Distributing to Android Auto.
My app targets more than just Android Auto. If my app does not meet the Auto requirements, will my new or updated app still appear on Google Play for other devices?
No. When Google begins the approval process, your Auto app will undergo a driver safety review, and will not be available for distribution until the app is approved. Because this is the same APK as for other devices, your Play Store updates for those devices will not be available until the Auto app approval process is complete.
Important: Due to this restriction, you should not use your production APK for Auto support prototyping.