Android Auto keeps your eyes on the road, all while mirroring the most essential parts of your phone. From maps to music and everything in between, Google's car-friendly interface has come a long way since its earliest days. Today, Android Auto is getting a whole slew of changes to help make your summer road trip even better.

By far, the best improvement included in today's update is a manual toggle for dark mode. To say this has been a long-requested feature would be putting it lightly — people have been demanding this for years. Keeping your eyes from being blinded when your car has yet to auto-switch to a dimmer brightness is a great addition, especially since some cars don't support that feature at all.

Meanwhile, Google is finally cementing some server-side changes many of us have received over the past several months. Google has really stepped up how sending and receiving messages works on Android Auto, adding new shortcuts for all of your communication apps on Android and including a permanent "New" icon for starting a new conversation. These changes should work with any messaging client, though Google specifically highlights both WhatsApp and its own service.

A few other changes to Auto help create a more personalized experience for your car. Google has added the ability to personalize your launcher screen from your phone, introduced new tabs in media apps — much like the update to YouTube Music we saw last week — and implemented a new A to Z button in the scroll bar to make it quick and straightforward to scroll or jump between lists. And if you're new to Auto, a new setup process should make it easier to get it up and running on your car's dashboard.

Google has been putting a lot of energy into making its driver-friendly service much more fleshed out. Third-party apps, for instance, have made it much easier to find parking spots and EV charging locations, and GPS apps like TomTom's AmiGo have finally launched over the last couple of months. These features should be available on any phone running Android 6.0 or above, so the next time you head out to run errands, keep an eye out for some big changes to Android Auto.

Android Auto
Android Auto
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free