Android 11 will broaden wireless Android Auto compatibility

Google quietly made it known that all Android 11 smartphones with 5GHz Wi-Fi will be compatible with wireless Android Auto.

This update comes from Google’s Android Auto support page. Under the wireless Android Dropdown in the “What you need” section, it reads “Any smartphone with Android 11.0 and 5GHz Wi-Fi. In the EU, smartphones must comply with additional regulatory requirements in order to use 5GHz Wi-Fi in the car.”

The only notable restriction is your phone must be able to connect to a 5GHz network. Fortunately, 5GHz compatibility is relatively common in today’s phones. If you have an older phone, though, you may run into an issue.

Compatibility with wireless Android Auto has been slow to spread since Google cut the cord. Among all Android 9 devices, only the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ or Note 8 worked with wireless Android Auto. Once Android 10 arrived, the wireless capability spread to all Google and Samsung smartphones. These compatibilities will remain unchanged.

Why’s the spread of wireless Android Auto a relatively big deal? With Android Auto now at least an option so many new cars, drivers are becoming more reliant on it for streaming music, navigation and other tasks. The problem is the USB cable can be a massive headache.

The first problem is USB cables clutter up your interior. Another issue is how often USB cables fail and stop transmitting data or do so intermittently.

With wireless Android Auto, there are no cables to get in the way or go bad, leading to a relatively seamless connection.

We expect Android 11 to arrive later this year. It’s currently in beta testing.