Android Auto Global UI

Global UI

Global UI elements are present throughout the Android Auto system and cannot be modified by app developers. A consistent interface creates more predictable experiences for drivers so they can better focus on the road.

Applications must use the global UI and not replicate existing Android Auto system functionality. For example, applications that require a drawer must use the Android Auto drawer and not build a custom launcher that navigates to many levels of hierarchy. Android Auto apps that break or interfere with the core system UI will be disabled or degraded.

Activity bar Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

The activity bar is located at the bottom of every screen. It provides a quick way to get to the Home screen and the 4 main types of activities: Navigation, Communication, Media/Audio, and Car.

Predictable activity switching

The activity bar allows drivers to quickly switch between activities, like maps/directions and music, without searching a large grid of apps. When the user has installed more than one app of a given activity type, the expansion arrow appears next to the activity icon.

Each app must declare which activity it belongs to. For example, a music app would declare the Media activity, and a map or direction app would declare the Navigation activity.

App picker Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

The app picker allows the driver to choose a specific app within an activity category. The expansion arrow appears when an activity category is selected and there is more than one app available. Tapping the activity icon again opens the app picker.

Apps must not present any other app launcher inside Android Auto.

Notifications Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Notifications provide succinct and timely information about relevant events from the system or specific apps. They are not intended as the primary communication channel to users. In Android Auto, notifications have been designed for glanceability by reducing the content to the most essential elements.

Notifications are global UI elements and may appear over any screen. After a short interval, they time out and appear as cards on the Home screen. Notifications can be dismissed by the user by tapping the Close icon. Dismissed notifications do not appear on the Home screen. Notifications can also be withdrawn or expired by applications.

Transactional notifications are the most useful in Android Auto. They provide content that a user must receive at a specific time to do one of the following:

  • Enable human-to-human interaction
    (for example, incoming phone calls or text messages)
  • Function better in daily life
    (for example, calendar event about to take place)
  • Control or resolve transient device states
    (for example, turn-by-turn navigation)

1. Image and icon: An image of the notification source, such as an avatar, is paired with the app icon.

2. Text: The notification text is provided by the application and should be short and clear.

3. Close button: The Close button dismisses the notification.

Voice commands Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Voice commands allow the driver to complete tasks such as requesting a song, sending a text, or finding a nearby coffee shop with voice input.

To invoke the voice commands, the driver taps the microphone icon at the top right corner of the screen. In some cars, the listening state can also be invoked with a steering wheel control.