Android Pie update has left Android Auto in complete mess for some

Update (September 24):

Google has shared the progress they’ve made on the third issue discussed in this story. Here’s what an Android Auto team member said recently:

We are still actively investigating this issue. Recently, Pioneer has rolled out firmware updates for most of the affected head units. If you are encountering this issue on a Pioneer head unit, please check below for the firmware version that fixes this issue and upgrade by following instructions here. If you have other head units or the firmware update does not fix the issue, please stay tuned while we are exploring other fixes. Thank you for your patience


Original story follows:

Smartphone firmware updates – howsoever small or big – causing features to break or introducing bugs isn’t something new, but sometimes they create a major mess.

Case in point, the Android 9 Pie update, which has brought along multiple problems for users of Android Auto.

Black screen and restarts

To begin with, there’s an issue that causes Android Auto screen to go black randomly during the usage, and then the app restarts.

We highlighted this problem last month – see here.

This issue, users say, was also present in beta, and then made its way to the stable Android Pie build. Needless to say, it’s a major problem as it obstructs users from using Android Auto.

For its part, Google apparently tried fixing the problem in the stable Android Pie build, but failed. The company acknowledged this late last month, saying:

Thanks for the responses. We’re aware that the black screen and app restarting issue is still present for some even after Android Auto version 3.5. We don’t have more information to share at the moment, but we’re looking into it


There has been no update from the company since then.

In case you want to follow, this is the Google forum thread where the ‘black screen followed by app restart’ problem is being discussed.

Loud buzzing during calls (now fixed)

Moving on, the Pie update also introduced the problem of buzzing sound during calls over Bluetooth.

Basically, users of some specific head units (mostly Sony) reported a loud buzzing/humming noise while making/receiving phone calls.

This problem dragged on for around a month, but thankfully – as per latest reports – got fixed with the latest September security update.

We reported the development here.

Can’t connect to head unit

But there’s another problem currently plaguing Google’s in-car infotainment system post the Pie update. And it’s probably the biggest one.


Users of certain head units (mostly Pioneer) are complaining that after installing the Pie update on their phone, they can’t connect their phone to their Android Auto unit.

Yes, that’s true. Take a look at the number of reports in this Google forum thread. Majority of them describe the same connection problem.

Needless to say, the issue has made Android Auto completely useless for the affected users.

And what’s sad is that unlike other problems discussed so far, there has been no update from Google about the progress on this problem until now.

A member of Android Auto team ‘Don’ asked for a few details initially, but has been mum since then.

If you take a look at some of the recent comments posted on the forum thread, you’ll see some complainants are now even discussing slapping a class action lawsuit on Google over this matter.

Here’s hoping such extreme situation doesn’t arise, and Google fixes all Pie-related Android Auto issues at the earliest.

Rest assured, as always, we will let you know about all latest developments on these problems.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.