How To Get Access To The Android Auto Beta Program

Commercial-grade software development is a never-ending process. There are always new features to implement, new tweaks to test out, and new bugs to squash. This is why developers are always releasing new updates to their products and services in an effort to stay on top of the necessary fixes and requested changes. 

Previously, software updates were exclusively the territory of personal computer programs, but thanks to advancements in technology, everything is getting constantly updated — from your phone to your car.

Speaking of phone and car, one of the systems that's constantly being tweaked and updated is Android Auto: the framework through which you connect your Android smartphone to a car's infotainment system for cleaner usage of apps and services. As both smartphone apps and car services are always advancing, so too must Android Auto. If you're interested in being a small part of that development process, you may be interested in the beta program.

How to join the Android Auto beta

If you're interested in joining the Android Auto beta program, you can do so by opting into the app's tester program. Opting in is a free, openly-allowed service — it doesn't cost anything, and you don't need to meet any particular requirements beyond having a Google account in good standing.

  1. Log into the same Google account you use on your Android device on a web browser.

  2. Visit the Android Auto beta page.

  3. Click the "Become a tester" button to opt into the program.

  4. On your Android device, open the Google Play Store.

  5. Visit the Android Auto app page.

  6. Tap the "Update" button to update to the beta build.

While you're opted into the beta tester program, you'll automatically receive beta build updates to the Android Auto app as they become available.

There are a few considerations you should keep in mind here. Firstly, there may not be any vacancies in the beta program when you want to opt in, and you'll be informed as such when you visit the beta page. If there aren't any vacancies, you'll just have to check back another time. 

Secondly, there won't always be beta builds available. If there aren't any beta builds in the pipeline, your Android Auto app will just update to the latest stable build instead. Finally, if you ever want to opt out of the program, just visit the opt out site and click "Leave the program."

What's different about the beta build?

If you manage to opt into the beta build of Android Auto and update your app, you'll immediately see the new updates the next time you open the app. As for what you'll actually see, though, that can vary extensively. The beta build is meant to serve as a live-fire test of new tweaks and changes rolling out from the developers. 

Maybe the only difference is a small change to a button's functionality, or maybe the entire UI will change — you won't really know until you get it. Due to this fluctuating nature, the beta build can occasionally be a bit unstable and unreliable. You may not want to opt in if you're going to be using Android Auto for something important.

As a beta tester, it's part of your job to send feedback to the developers about the latest updates. If you notice anything that isn't working properly, you can immediately send a report.

  1. While your Android smartphone is still connected to your car, swipe down from the top of the screen to open your notifications menu.

  2. An Android Auto feedback notification should appear in the menu.

  3. Tap OK on this notification to open the feedback screen.

  4. Select "Android Auto" from the list.

  5. Fill in the form with your information and the details of your feedback.

  6. Tap submit.

Assuming you've noticed this quirk while using Android Auto, make sure you only do this while the car is completely stopped and parked.