Now that the Android Auto team has completed the transition to its new, more fluid interface, it's time for bug fixes and refinements. The latest update appears to fit that role as it introduces a new notification setting and sets the framework for an interface that will finally give users the ability to customize which apps appear in the Android Auto launcher.
Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)
- New setting for media notifications
Media notifications become optional
There's a new toggle called "Show media notifications" in the settings page under Notifications. After a bit of testing and suggestions in the comments, it was confirmed that this setting controls whether or not you'll see notifications appear on the screen when a new song begins playing or some other type of audio app has something to share.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk. All screenshots and images are real unless otherwise stated, and images are only altered to remove personal information.
Launcher customization: App filtering
As the number of apps on a platform increases, so do our frustrations at the number of apps on the platform. Yes, you read that right. The same thing happened in the early days of Android Wear — too many apps were automatically installed to watches and they became burdensome as the novelty wore off.
Android Auto users have complained for quite a while about apps that either clutter up the old category selectors, like Telegram appearing in the list of music/audio apps, or any mostly unused apps appearing in the new launcher screen. It looks like something may finally be done to give users the control they want.
New resources reveal that an interface is in the works that will make it possible to selectively show or hide apps so only the ones you use will appear in the launcher. According to the current text, this will be described as choosing which apps show up in Android Auto. Notably, one line seems to suggest you will have to unplug and then reconnect your phone after making changes before they take effect.
<string name="settings_customize_app_launcher_description">Choose which apps show up in Android Auto</string>
<string name="settings_customize_app_launcher_change_toast">Reconnect to update screen</string>
Looking over the primary layouts for the selection screen shows that we'll get to choose apps from a vertical scrolling list with the app icon and name, plus a checkbox on the right side. Unfortunately, it's not clear if this will actually allow us to hide default and non-app entries in the list, like the Phone app or Google's News and Calendar shortcuts.
<LinearLayout android:orientation="horizontal" android:id="@id/content" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="@dimen/launcher_app_settings_row_height" android:paddingStart="@dimen/launcher_app_settings_row_padding" android:paddingEnd="@dimen/launcher_app_settings_row_padding"
<include android:gravity="start|center" android:id="@id/app_icon" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:layout_margin="@dimen/gearhead_baseline_grid_1x" android:contentDescription="@null" layout="@layout/app_icon" />
<TextView android:ellipsize="end" android:layout_gravity="start|center" android:id="@id/app_name" android:layout_width="0.0dip" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:singleLine="true" android:layout_weight="1.0" android:textAlignment="viewStart" style="@style/TextAppearance.CompanionSettings" />
<CheckBox android:layout_gravity="end|center" android:id="@id/enable_disable_app" android:layout_width="@dimen/launcher_app_settings_switch_width" android:layout_height="wrap_content" />
I'm very excited for this. See that screen below? Half of it needs to go. I don't want to scroll to get down to my podcast player, I don't want to even take a moment to remind myself that the Honda icon is entirely useless, and I'd rather not waste space with Calendar or News. Oh, and that row you can't really see, there's only one app there I would keep. Yup, six apps should just about cover it, and I think most drivers feel the same way.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.