Google releases Android Auto 10.5: what you need to know before downloading the update

Google just released a new Android Auto update, allowing users to try out the next version before production starts.

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Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Google

It’s no surprise that many people rush to download new versions of Android Auto, hoping that the updates will bring substantial improvements and new features.

The disappointment is usually quite big, especially since Google doesn’t use these updates to provide new features. The focus is typically on fixing bugs and improving overall performance, with some new builds also witnessing the gradual rollout of experiments enabled for only a small group of users.

Android Auto 10.5 is now available and here’s what you need to know before downloading the new version.

Only available in the beta phase

Android Auto Coolwalk

Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

Android Auto 10.5 is currently in beta, so its purpose is to allow users to test the version before Google begins rolling out to production devices.

The Android Auto beta program was expanded last year, and since then Google has significantly accelerated its release pace in both the test and stable channels. The concept is very simple.

With the beta program, Google allows power users to test new builds of Android Auto before anyone else. These users should provide feedback and submit bug reports, giving Google more information on what to fix before it begins rolling out to everyone else. Eventually, Google will provide more stable Android Auto updates with a lower likelihood of bugs.

Everyone gains from this effort. Google receives further feedback, while users have the opportunity to participate in the development phase of Android Auto and try new features and improvements in advance.

Manual downloads are available to everyone

Android Auto Coolwalk

Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

Google provides a pre-release version of Android Auto as part of its beta program. You must be a registered tester to receive these builds.

On the other hand, Android Auto users can download these updates by sideloading the new build. Sideloading refers to manually installing an Android application on a mobile device using the standalone APK installer.

The process involves downloading the APK file and starting the installation manually. Users must grant the necessary permissions, allowing Android to install applications from third-party sources. By default, the operating system only allows applications published on the Google Play Store.

No changelog, but don’t expect anything big

Android Auto Coolwalk

Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

Android Auto 10.5 beta ships without a changelog, but if you’ve been part of the testing program for more than one update, you probably already know this isn’t a surprise.

Google uses a very frustrating approach of sharing changelogs only when major new Android Auto features are available. In this case, the company doesn’t just offer a changelog, but publishes a blog post detailing the improvements.

Android Auto 10.5 beta doesn’t appear to include any major changes. I installed the beta on my smartphone but I didn’t notice any new features. Google’s focus has most likely been on improving the app’s performance, and if new features become available, the company will likely enable them gradually.

You can use the comments box after the jump to let us know if you noticed anything new in this beta build of Android Auto.

Do not download this build if…

Android Auto Coolwalk

Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

Most people rush to download new builds of Android Auto without caring whether they are part of the beta program or shared in the stable channel.

However, you should not download this Android Auto 10.5 update if you do not know the purpose of a beta version. Google provides these builds to gather feedback on updates and test the reliability of a new version. Users are expected to share this feedback, so if you are unfamiliar with the process, you should wait for the stable release.

Android Auto beta builds have a higher likelihood of bugs. Since these are pre-release versions of Android Auto, they are not refined and crude – this is actually your role in the entire release process; you need to contribute reliability data, helping Google prepare an update for prime time. If you notice anything unusual, including bugs and other performance issues, you should report it to Google, giving the company more time to fix everything before a build hits stable users.

Bugs are common in beta builds, although any long-time Android Auto user will tell you that the same is true for stable versions too. Android Auto suffers from serious reliability issues, and bugs that break various features, including voice commands, are nothing unusual.

Finally, you shouldn’t download Android Auto 10.5 beta if you use the app as your daily driver. Android Auto may stop working on your device if something goes wrong and you encounter a critical bug. You need to be familiar with sideloading another build of Android Auto, then be able to roll back to the previous version that worked fine on your device.

If everything works correctly, Google should start rolling out Android Auto 10.5 to the stable channel in about a week. At that point the new version should already be considered stable enough to exit the beta phase.

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