I’ve always been a fan of Google’s Android Auto and, actually, I’ve found it more useful than Apple’s CarPlay, if only because of a good assistant in voice. Apple, though, announced yesterday at WWDC a change for CarPlay that is long overdue for Android Auto — custom wallpapers.
Apple has also made a move to CarPlay, in addition to the release of iOS 14. The interface has not changed but wallpapers can now be set by users. In the grand scheme of things, that’s minor, but it’s the first time one of those platforms has allowed such a basic feature.
Despite users essentially begging for it, Google’s Android Auto has lacked this option since the start. This was a bit more understandable in earlier versions of the platform given the available dynamic backgrounds, but that is not the case in the latest version. Android Auto has now got a pretty bland, dark wallpaper in the background, following a redesign last year. It’s fine but by no means exciting, and certainly not as colorful or fun as previous versions.
There have been ways to get wallpapers on Android Auto for a while now, but that required installing a modification called “Substratum,” which isn’t as simple as downloading a quick app and isn’t working on Android 10.
Now that Apple has been delivering wallpapers in CarPlay, Android Auto’s adopting the same is well past time. The interface of Android Auto, I would imagine, would make custom wallpapers look even better, too.
Adding wallpapers may allow users to better fit the display of their car to the rest of the interior, or simply get the personal touch of a family picture. Also adding a certain color to the screen makes it look a lot more welcoming. Some may argue that adding additional flair to the home screen could become a security issue, but I would argue that users are not likely to spend more time looking at their screen just because it’s no longer blank.