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Android Auto finally brings wallpaper support, adds a shortcut for Assistant actions

Car head unit with Android Auto screen housing wallpaper settings

Android Auto users can finally change the background wallpaper on their car screens, thanks to a recent update for the app that adds support for selecting pre-set backgrounds. The change was spotted by users on Reddit, and based on our testing, we can confirm that the support for background images is now live.

The feature has been a long time coming, with images showing up in the app’s APK last month, as spotted by XDA-Developers’ Mishaal Rahman. While versions as old as 5.8 began dropping hints via code strings, the feature seems to have been finally activated recently. It is not clear whether the rollout was initiated with version 6.0.615334 that was released late last month, or it is a server-side switch, as the option to choose wallpapers only recently became available.

As for the feature itself, the ‘Choose wallpaper’ option can be found in the Android Auto settings on the car screen. The app on the phone does not seem to house the feature along with the other customization settings for the launcher. Tapping on the ‘Choose wallpaper’ option then serves users with a set of wallpapers to choose from. The option does not currently let users upload or choose from their local library.

Android Auto app settings for customizing the launcher
Android Auto app settings for adding a shortcut to the launcher
Android Auto app settings for selecting Assistant actions for custom shortcut

Another nifty addition to Android Auto is the ability to add a shortcut to perform custom actions. The ‘Customize launcher’ section in the app settings on the phone now houses an “Add a shortcut to the launcher” option. This feature allows users to either map a custom shortcut to a contact for quickly calling them or set it to run an Assistant action. The app lets users type in a command – which can also be related to pre-set Assistant Routines such as to open the garage and turn on the ramp lights. The custom shortcut can be placed in the Android Auto launcher as desired.

The addition of these features will be a welcome one for users, bringing further parity with competing offerings like Apple Car Play – which has offered users the ability to set background images for a while now. Integration with Assistant Routines too will be nifty for Android users, providing yet another way to access connected devices through the car. Samsung recently announced support for its SmartThings ecosystem with Android Auto as well.

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