Toyota Highlander supports Android Auto that lets you access your Android apps like YouTube Music, Google Maps, Waze and Spotify through the infotainment screen of your vehicle. You can also make phone calls, send messages or use navigation with voice commands using Google Assistant.
Install Android Auto on your smartphone
You must have an Android device with 5.0 Lollipop or newer version to use Android Auto on Toyota Highlander. Android 6.0 Marshmallow or higher version is recommended for optimal performance. If your device has Android 9 Pie or older operating system, you must first download Android Auto app from Google Play Store, otherwise the app is built-in.
If you want to use “Hey Google” service with Google Assistant in your Highlander, make sure the feature is enabled on your device. On your Android phone, open the Google app. At the bottom right, tap More. Then go to Settings > Voice > Voice Match and turn on Hey Google.
Enable Android Auto in Highlander
You must enable Android Auto in Highlander’s infotainment system settings before you can use it. This can be done by selecting Menu > Setup > General > Projection Settings, make sure that Android Auto is turned on.
Connect phone to Highlander’s USB port
- Connect your Android phone to your Toyota Highlander USB port using an original USB data cable.
- Accept Android Auto terms and conditions in your vehicle, if any appear.
- You may be prompted to give certain permissions to Android Auto app on your phone, like managing phone calls and SMS messages. Grant all required permissions.
- After a few seconds Android Auto will launch on your Highlander’s infotainment screen.
If you’re unsure which USB port supports Android Auto on your particular Highlander variant, then consult your vehicle’s owners manual – or you can try plugging in the cable, one by one, in all the USB ports in dashboard and center console.
Android Auto not working on Toyota Highlander
If Android Auto does not start on your Highlander when you plug in the USB cable and there is no Android Auto icon in the list of apps in the infotainment system, it can be due to a number of reasons:
- Android Auto is disabled in the infotainment system settings of your Highlander.
- Android Auto is not installed on your phone, make sure its installed and have necessary permissions.
- The USB data cable you’re using is defective or off-brand. Try a different cable, preferably original cable.
- The connected USB port on your Highlander does not support Android Auto. Try other USB ports.
- A software glitch is responsible for the Android Auto problem. Try resetting the Highlander’s infotainment system to its factory settings. Also, delete data and cache for Android Auto on your phone by going to Settings> Apps > Android Auto > Storage.
- You’ve an older model of Highlander that does not support Android Auto. Only 2020 and later model year Toyota Highlander vehicles are compatible with Android Auto.
If you still can’t connect Android Auto in your Highlander, then you should get your vehicle checked by an authorized Toyota dealer.
Using Google Assistant on Toyota Highlander
Google Assistant is an artificial intelligence–powered voice recognition feature by Google that helps you to concentrate on the road while driving your Highlander as you can control the functions of your Android device with voice commands.
The virtual assistant allows you to place phone calls, listen to and send text messages, play music, get directions and use other functions of your Android phone hands-free. You can even ask Google Assistant for current weather conditions, stock prices or upcoming events on your calendar.
To access Google Assistant, press and hold the talk button on the steering wheel of your Highlander until you hear an audible alert.
You can also access Google Assistant by pressing the mic button in the Android Auto app.
If “Hey Google” function is enabled in your Android device under Voice Match settings, you can also just simply say: “Hey Google”. After hearing the audible alert, you can begin asking for assistance.
For best results when using Google Assistant, speak clearly and reduce background noise by closing the windows. Also, direct the air vents on dashboard so that they are not pointing towards the vehicle’s microphone.
Which Highlander models support Android Auto?
2020 and later model year Toyota Highlander vehicles are compatible with Android Auto.
Using Waze navigation on Toyota Highlander with Android Auto
Waze is based on a combination of the Android Location Service and real-time information from the 100 million user database. It is one of the best apps in the world when it comes to including construction work and traffic in the route suggestions. Waze can also provide updated information on accidents and unexpected delays. The app is fully compatible with Android Auto. Just download Waze app from Google Play Store on your phone and press its icon in Android Auto app in your Highlander’s infotainment screen.
Using Google Maps on Toyota Highlander with Android Auto
There’s no list of the best Android car apps without including the top dog in sat-nav apps, Google Maps. Maps is an important part of the Android ecosystem and will likely be the app that you use the most when you’re driving your Highlander. For many people, choosing between Waze and Google Maps is a matter of personal preference. We think: Both are great. You do not need to download Google Maps app as its a built-in feature in Android devices.
Using Spotify on Highlander
You can use Spotify to stream music on your Highlander. Just install the Spotify app from Google Play Store and its icon will appear in the infotainment display when Android Auto is active.
You can use voice commands to play music hands-free on Spotify with Google Assistant. Just add “on Spotify” at the end so that Google Assistant knows which service you’re referring to (e.g. “Hey Google, play my ‘Your Mix of the Week’ playlist on Spotify”).
Google Assistant can play songs, artists, albums, playlists, podcasts, and more. You can also “like” music, ask what’s playing, and control playback (e.g. volume, skip song, play / pause).
Not all apps are compatible with Android Auto
If you think you can use all your Android apps in your Toyota Highlander with Android Auto, then you’re wrong. The selection of compatible applications is limited, and you have to live with restrictions, especially with messenger apps. SMS messages and WhatsApp can be controlled almost exclusively via Google Assistant. That means you cannot see your message history, but only have new messages read out to you or even dictate messages yourself.
The following apps can be used with Android Auto on your Highlander, among others: Phone, Whatsapp, Messages, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram, Calendar, News, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Audible, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Waze and TomTom GO.