Structure your media app 3) Customize playback controls

3) Customize playback controls

In addition to deciding how your app content is organized for navigating and browsing (tasks 1 and 2), you need to decide whether you want any custom controls for playing the content.

Car makers take care of implementing and styling the playback view and the minimized control bar. They also provide a basic set of playback controls, including Play/Pause, Next, Previous, and Overflow. If these controls are sufficient for your app, then you’re done.

However, if you want users to access additional playback actions beyond the ones that car makers provide, or if you want to replace the car makers’ Next and Previous controls with controls for your custom actions, you need to decide:

  • Which custom actions you want represented on the control bar
  • What the icons representing the relevant states of each action (such as available and disabled) will look like

Technical note:
Custom actions display in the order in which they are added to the PlaybackState. Their icons are specified as icon resources. For details, consult Add custom playback actions.

Keep in mind the guidelines below.

Playback control guidelines

Requirement level



App developers must:

  • Provide monochrome (black or white) vector icons for any custom actions they add, and change them dynamically to indicate state


App developers should:

  • If using text (including numbers) in an icon, utilize the maximum space in the bounding box to make the text as large and readable as possible


App developers may:

  • Provide monochrome (black or white) vector icons for up to 8 custom actions


  • Consistent app UI: App developers need to align the interfaces for custom actions in media apps with similar actions familiar to their users on other devices.
  • Glanceability: Text can appear smaller when paired with iconography, so text in icons should be maximized within the available space.