PSA: Spotify (and other apps) not working with Android Auto? Here’s a fix.

PSA: Spotify (and other apps) not working with Android Auto? Here’s a fix.

For those of who you are lucky enough to own a vehicle with Android Auto integration built-in, some of you may have come across a rather annoying issue when trying to get certain music applications such as Spotify to work. It just refuses to show up in the dashboard. Why does this happen, and what can be done about it? We have the answers.

Why does this happen?

You can blame the Android Auto application for that. Using the getInstallerPackageName() method, the Android Auto application checks to see the install source of an application before it allows it to be shown in the Android Auto dashboard. Unfortunately, this means if you side-load the Spotify application from outside the Google Play Store such as through XDA Labs or APKMirror, then the Android Auto integration will cease to work (although you can still listen to Spotify through bluetooth, but doing so defeats the whole purpose of Android Auto).


Left: Spotify installed from the Play Store.

Right: Spotify installed from XDA Labs.

Note: the installation details shown in the screenshots above were added in Android 7.0 Nougat.

What can be done about it?

Fortunately through the use of an ADB command, we can still side-load the Spotify app (or any other application) while telling the system to treat it as if it was installed from the Google Play Store.

ADB, which stands for the Android Debug Bridge, is a tool designed for developers to interface with their smartphones in order to debug the device. However, it has many useful features that we can also take advantage of. Here is how to set up and then use ADB:

  1. Download the ADB binary for your particular operating system from the links found in this article.
  2. Extract the zip file into a folder that you can quickly access.
  3. On your phone, go to Settings and tap on About Phone. Find the Build Number and tap on it 7 times to enable Developer Options.
  4. Now enter Developer Options and find USB Debugging. Enable it.
  5. Plug your phone into the computer and change it from “charge only” mode to “file transfer (MTP)” mode.
  6. On your computer, browse to the directory where you extracted the ADB binary.
  7. Download the latest Spotify APK file (or whatever other application hasn’t been working for you) from XDA Labs or wherever you choose, and save this file as “spotify.apk” (or another easy to remember name depending on the app) on your phone. Remember where you saved this APK file.
  8. Next, open up a command prompt on your computer in this directory. For Windows users, simply hold shift then right-click and you’ll see an “open command prompt here” as an option.
  9. Once you’re in the command prompt/terminal, enter the following command: adb devices
  10. You will see that the system is starting the ADB daemon. If this is your first time running ADB, you will see a prompt on your phone asking you to authorize a connection with the computer. Grant it.
  11. Now if you re-run the adb devices command, the terminal will print the serial number of your device. If so, then you’re ready to move on.
  12. Enter the following command: adb shell
  13. Finally, enter this last command to install the package: pm install -i "" -r /sdcard/path/to/spotify.apk

The -i command specifies the installation source, while the -r command specifies that the previous installation’s data should not be overwritten. The “path/to” part of the command should be replaced with the actual location of where you saved the spotify APK. For instance, if it’s located in the Download folder, then /sdcard/Download/spotify.apk would be what you would enter. Finally, simply replace “spotify.apk” with the name of the APK file you are trying to side-load if you’re having issues with another app.

Once you enter the command, it will return a “success” if it successfully installed the application. If you are running Android Nougat and above, then you can simply open the app’s settings page to see if it specified the installation source correctly. If not, then you can simply run this command to check the installation source:

pm list packages -i

Somewhere in the output you’ll find the “” package and the installation source package next to it. If it says ““, then you’re set.

Top: Spotify installed from the Play Store.

Bottom: Spotify installed from the system package manager.

Hopefully this fixes any issues you may have had getting Spotify, or another app, to be recognized by Android Auto. I’m not sure why Android Auto requires an application to be installed only from the Google Play Store, but this act has left a lot of users confused.

About author

Mishaal Rahman
Mishaal Rahman

I am the former Editor-in-chief of XDA. In addition to breaking news on the Android OS and mobile devices, I used to manage all editorial and reviews content on the Portal.

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