You can finally launch Assistant Driving Mode from your home screen with a shortcut

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No more relying on voice commands or Bluetooth auto-launch

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It took longer than expected, but Google finally retired its legacy Android Auto for phone screens this year with Android 12. If you usually rely on your smartphone for navigation, media, and more in the car, you aren’t out of luck. Assistant Driving Mode is the company’s official replacement, but getting to it can be pretty annoying. A new shortcut makes it much easier for drivers to start heading to their destination.

Previously, the most reliable way to open Assistant Driving Mode required using a voice command to “start driving” whenever you wanted to swap to a car-friendly UI. Considering Android Auto had a dedicated icon in the app drawer, most users have seen this as a significant downgrade. Over the last few days, drivers using Assistant have spotted a prompt to add a shortcut to the home screen, bypassing the need for voice actions altogether (via 9to5Google).

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It’s a simple addition, but it fixes one of the biggest issues I spotted with Assistant Driving Mode when I tested its full UI out a few months ago. Although there are a handful of issues with the actual experience itself — namely, the lack of landscape support and the inability to use third-party mapping apps — this solution is a great first step to eventually solving these issues. In October, Google did add Bluetooth auto-launch to the list of methods for activating Driving Mode, but an actual shortcut is obviously a much better solution.

The shortcut prompt is available from the apps page in Assistant Driving Mode. If you accidentally clear it from your home screen, the prompt reappears unless manually dismissed, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally losing access.


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