How to use Waze instead of Google Maps with Android Auto

How to use Waze instead of Google Maps with Android Auto
Although Android-exclusive apps are many fewer than as iOS exclusives, such apps exist. One of these is developed by Google itself and doesn't really have an iOS alternative - Android Auto. The autonomous standalone dashboard app aims to tackle the biggest distraction we can possibly face in our vehicles - smartphones. What Android Auto does, if you're not familiar, is present you with a super-simplified interface that only allows you to navigate, play music/podcasts, or make phone calls with as few taps and interactions as possible. The best part about the standalone app is that it doesn't necessarily require you to have a compatible car infotainment unit -- just run it on your phone, connect to your audio system via Bluetooth or an audio jack, and you're pretty much good to go. 

We've already rounded up some of the very best Android apps that are compatible with Android Auto, but truth be told, more than 80% of all are music players, podcast streamers, or dedicated radio apps. 

You can get any maps or navigation app running within Android Auto as long as it's Google Maps... or can't you? It really is weird and off that you can't use Google's other navigation app -- Waze -- with Android Auto given that it's especially tailored to help combat traffic congestion and avoid road obstructions like roadworks, traffic jams, and... cops.

The problem


Even though you have both Google Maps and Waze both installed on your Android device, you find it impossible to choose a default navigation app and are forced to stick with Google Maps.

The solution 


There's actually a way for long-time Waze fans to use the app with Android Auto. You need to sign up for the beta or simply sideload the beta version of Waze. As per our tests, versions varying from v.4.36.0.x-beta (March 2018 release) to v.4.40.0.x-beta (current release) all work flawlessly with Android Auto. Once you install the corresponding version of Waze and fire up Android Auto, tapping twice the navigation button on the bar will let you choose between Google Maps and Waze. 

You can manually download older beta versions of Waze on APKMirror, a trusted source. Check them out here.

Waze running within Android Auto
Waze running within Android Auto

Waze running within Android Auto



How to use Waze instead of Google Maps with Android Auto
Pro-tip: Apps' auto-updating feature will almost certainly overwrite your older Waze version with a new one, and you don't want that since it will break the compatibility. Thus, it's advisable to disable auto-updates for Waze. 

To do so, open the app's page in the Play Store, tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner and disable the "Enable auto update" tickbox. That will do.

Having tried a slew of different Android Auto versions over the course of a few weeks, we haven't experienced any incompatibility with Waze, which most certainly means that it doesn't matter what Android Auto app version you use -- as long you have Waze v.4.36-v.40, you're good to go.

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