Notifications provide succinct and timely information about relevant events, such as phone calls or messages, along with actions the user can take in response.

Users can respond to notifications when they first arrive or access them later, in the Notification Center.


In Android Auto, notifications have been designed for glanceability by reducing the content to the most essential elements. Whether a notification appears as a heads-up notification (HUN) or as a card in the Notification Center, each notification contains:

  • An app icon identifying the app that sent the notification
  • Primary and secondary text relating to the notification
  • Up to 2 action buttons
  • Avatar imagery (if applicable)

Heads-up notification (HUN)

Heads-up notification card
1. App icon
2. Avatar
3. Secondary action
4. Dismiss

Notification Center card

Notification Center card
1. App icon
2. Avatar
3. Primary action
4. Secondary action

Where notifications appear

Users have two opportunities to interact with most notifications:

  • When they first appear, as heads-up notifications (HUNs)
  • Later, in the Notification Center

A notification arriving as a HUN can appear at any time, temporarily covering part of the current screen. Users can respond to the notification using its action buttons, or they can dismiss it by tapping the close button. Otherwise, the notification times out after a short interval and appears as a card in the Notification Center, except in the special cases noted below.

Side-by-side art of a message notification arriving as a HUN and then appearing in the Notification Center
Users who miss a chance to respond to a HUN (left) can interact with it later in the Notification Center (right)

Categories of notifications

Notifications displayed in Android Auto are restricted to those considered important enough to appear in a driving situation and potentially interrupt the driver.

These include the following categories of notifications:

  • Navigation instructions (HUN only; not saved to Notification Center)
  • Phone calls (HUN only; not saved to Notification Center)
  • Messages
  • Reminders (Notification Center only)
  • Media currently playing (HUN only; not saved to Notification Center)

Examples of notifications in these categories are shown below.

Navigation notifications appear only as HUNs, since they contain time-sensitive navigation instructions that will not be relevant later. App developers can customize the background color of navigation notifications to make them more noticeable, as shown in the example below.

Navigation notification informing the user of a right turn coming up in 200 feet
Navigation HUN

Call notifications

Call notifications appear only as HUNs. Buttons on the HUN allow the user to answer or decline the call.

Call HUN
Call HUN

Message notifications

Message notifications arrive as HUNs and then are sent to the Notification Center. Users who want to stop messages in a particular conversation from appearing as HUNs can mute the conversation, so the messages appear only in the Notification Center.

Users can play messages and reply to them using voice, with the help of the Assistant.

Message HUN
Message HUN
Message notification card
Message notification card

Reminder notifications

Users can view reminder notifications in the Notification Center. The only action offered on these notifications is dismissal.

Reminder notification card
Reminder notification card

Media notifications

Media notifications appear only as HUNs, since they pertain to the currently playing media selection and will be of little or no relevance later.

Media HUN
Media HUN

Notification Center

After appearing briefly as heads-up notifications (HUNs), most notifications are stored in the Notification Center. (The exceptions are Navigation and Media notifications, plus any notifications withdrawn or expired by the sending application). Users can access the Notification Center from the bell-shaped Notifications button on the nav bar.

The Notification Center displays notification cards in a vertically scrolling list. Cards are ordered by recency, with the most recently received or created notifications at the top.

The Notification Center provides access to stored notifications
The Notification Center provides access to stored notifications

To keep the list length in the Notification Center manageable and limit driver distraction, older notifications may be pushed from the Notification Center to make room for newer ones. All notifications from the Notification Center, even those that are removed, remain available on the phone.