Here's Why Android Auto Went All In On Dark Mode

Android Auto Dark Mode AM AH 2

Google introduced its first major overhaul to the design of Android Auto this week – ahead of Google I/O, actually. It was a major shift. Going from a mostly all-white interface to an all-dark interface. So why did the Android Auto team make this huge shift?

According to the Android Auto team, who was demoing the different Android In Cars products at Google I/O this week, the team decided to go all-in with dark mode because  of the interior or your car. Most interiors are all black or at least darker colors. This meant that the all-white display of Android Auto really clashed with the interior of your vehicle. Not to mention, it can be very bright when trying to drive and use navigation.

Google used the built-in infotainment in most vehicles as a prime example here. Most car makers already use darker colors when they are building their infotainment system. So Google sought to follow along. And seeing as Google is really embracing Dark Mode in virtually every other app and product on Android, it only made sense to do the same in Android Auto.


Dark Mode wasn’t the only real design change with Android Auto. It also got some redesigned notifications, that are a bit translucent now. You also get media controls in the bottom bar, as well as shortcuts to things like Maps and such. Making it easier to navigate the different apps and control your media, which is pretty nice to have. And, there is now an app drawer with Android Auto. Showing you all of the apps that are installed on your phone, that have support for Android Auto.

Android Auto has had a dark mode in the past, or rather a “night” mode. This is where it turned everything dark when the car’s headlights are on, or when it thinks the sun has gone down. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a mode that you could toggle to be on all the time, or even toggle to be on at all. Now, you do get dark mode all the time, which is a really nice addition for Android Auto.


While it’s nice the Android Auto wants its software to fit in nicely with your vehicle’s interior, it’s even better that this now makes it easier to see at night than it did in the past. Google has continued to make changes to Android Auto that really make the experience better. And while they haven’t all been changes that we can all get behind, they are making the experience better and keeping drivers from getting distracted behind the wheel. And that is what matters the most.

This update to Android Auto is going to be rolling out over the next few months. So it’s not yet available, but it will be available in the coming months. Like usual, this is going to depend on the head unit you have, as Pioneer, JVC-Kenwood and others are going to need to push out these updates for their head units. As well as car makers following suite.