How to Use Waze on Android Auto

The popular traffic app makes navigation easy

Rear end of a car with an Android Auto placard above its bumper.
Many cars come with Android Auto built-in.

Maurizio Pesce/Flickr

Android Auto is a mobile app you can use in your car for navigation, music, and hands-free texting and calling, and now it works with Waze for navigation and traffic information, as an alternative to Google Maps. Waze is a popular app owned by Google that features real-time crowd-sourced data about traffic jams, police presence, road closures, disabled vehicles, and other road hazards and inconveniences. While Google Maps incorporates some of Waze's features, it's not quite as robust.

For safety purposes, not all of Waze's features are available while you're driving, but you can still use voice commands to navigate. Here's how to use Waze for Android Auto.

How to Set up Waze on Android Auto

Waze on Android Auto is a limited version of the app, in which you can use voice commands to navigate while driving, but not to send traffic and incident reports. You also can't adjust settings, add or edit Favorites, share your location or route, or use any of the social features.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the most up to date versions of the Android Auto and Waze apps, then check your Waze settings to ensure they're to your liking, including routing preferences and navigation voice.

  1. Launch Android Auto on your smartphone.

  2. Tap the Navigation icon at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Choose Waze.

    Android Auto app showing list of compatible navigation apps: Google Maps or Waze.
    You can now choose between Google Maps and Waze for navigation in Android Auto.

    You can tap the Navigation icon at any time to switch to a different GPS app.

  4.  Alternatively, you can launch the Waze app on your smartphone.

  5. In either case, from the main Waze screen, tap Search, then tap Settings.

  6. Change the navigation voice under Voice & sound.

  7. Adjust your route preferences (avoid tolls, freeways, etc.) under Navigation.

Consider also inputting your home and work address to simplify voice commands, especially if you drive to work:

  1. Repeat the first four steps above, then tap Search.

  2. You'll see a "Where to" search box; underneath that are Home and Work, as well as recent destinations.

    Waze app showing recent destinations and home and work options.
    Input your home and work address once, and never have to type or say it again.
  3. Tap Set once and go, then type in the address or tap the microphone symbol and speak it.

  4. Now, you can simply say "take me home" or "take me to work" rather than stating the entire address every time.

How to Use Waze While Driving

Whether you're using your smartphone screen or a touchscreen console in your car, Waze for Android Auto works the same. You'll receive visual and audio alerts about what's ahead on the road, such as traffic, construction, or an accident; use voice commands to start and end navigation, answer and make calls, and more.

To use Waze with Android Auto:

  1. Connect your smartphone to your vehicle using a USB cable. Android Auto will automatically launch.

  2. Tap Navigation at the bottom of the screen, then tap Waze.

    You may have to double-tap Navigation to display the navigation apps.

  3. Say "OK Google" and tell Android Auto where you'd like to go. For example:

    • "Take me home."
    • "Navigate to Union Square, New York City."
    • "Directions to the Waffle House."
    • "Navigate to work."
    • "Drive to 188 Main St, Burlington, Vermont."
  4. Enjoy your drive!

If you're using a touchscreen console and prefer to type:

  • Put your car in Park first. Then, tap the search field at the top of the screen, and enter your destination. For example:
    • Union Square, New York City.
    • Waffle House.
    • 188 Main St, Burlington, VT
  • To report traffic incidents, tap Reports, choose the type (traffic, police, crash, closure, etc.), then tap Submit.