Android Auto is slowly rolling out its big new “Coolwalk” redesign with a new home screen dashboard. It is already functionally better than before, but with a small tweak you can get even more space for widgets on Android Auto “Coolwalk”.
Android Auto’s new design changes based on your car’s display, depending on whether that display is a simple rectangle, super wide, or tall, the interface shows apps and widgets in a different layout or order. In some cases, the taskbar can even be moved from the bottom of the screen to the side.
Unfortunately, the options for customizing the layout of “Coolwalk” are limited from an official standpoint. You can adjust the orientation of the core widgets – music and navigation – to go one way or the other, but that’s about it. That’s a shame, because as good as the redesign is, it’s not perfect. The lower taskbar is quite large, which takes up a lot of screen real estate. And using the full functionality of the navigation app is locked to use it in full screen.
Related: Review: Android Auto’s dashboard redesign keeps everything important in mind
However, there is a way to tweak Android Auto “Coolwalk” and get more space for widgets.
The way you can do this on any car’s display is by changing the DPI of Android Auto. DPI refers to the density of the pixels on the screen. This number changes depending on your specific car, but in the case of my Subaru it’s about 150. By reducing the number, the software treats the screen as if it’s significantly larger than it is, and as a result, Android Auto changes the layout .
In my vehicle, changing the DPI to 110 results in Android Auto with Google Maps as a wide, fully featured app at the top of the screen with widgets below it. It shows the weather widget that is missing for most users of “Coolwalk” and also the Spotify widget on the right. Notably, that weather widget is replaced by recent messages you may receive.
Changing the DPI to 90 results in the same fully functional Google Maps widget but without the weather map. However, this does result in the taskbar being moved to the driver’s side of the interface, which I actually quite like.
I’ve been using “Coolwalk” since late 2022, and after just a few minutes of use with the custom DPI setting, I’m hooked. I’ve tried a few other DPI settings, but nothing else really resulted in a nice balance – your results may vary depending on your car, though. I’ll probably stick with the 110 setting for the foreseeable future, and I wish Google built this feature right into the platform.
But you can still do this yourself.
Change the DPI of Android Auto can be easy, but it depends on your settings. If you’re using Android Auto wired, you’ll need to use some hacky workarounds to get things going. One of the easier ways to do this in the past was to use Torque and the open-source OBD2 plugin, but the app hasn’t been updated since Coolwalk debuted.
Really, the easiest way to change the DPI on Android Auto right now is to use AAWireless, a dongle that acts as a wireless adapter for Android Auto. The AAWireless app has the ability to adjust the DPI baked right into the settings, which makes it really easy to tweak. Just open the app with the adapter plugged in and go to Settings > Change DPI. From there you can enter the DPI of your choice and click “save” to reboot the device with the new DPI setting.
Of course, to do this you’ll need an AAWireless device, which you can buy on Amazon, and you’ll need to make sure it’s updated. Some older firmware versions will leave the device in a boot loop if you try to change the DPI, so double check that you’re on the latest firmware version before getting started.
You can also do this on the Carsifi adapter if the “Magic Button” works better for your setup. However, I can’t personally vouch for how well that adapter plays with DPI, but I personally prefer AAWirless overall. You can’t do this on the Motorola MA1, as that device doesn’t have a companion app at all.
More about Android Auto:
FTC: We use auto affiliate links that generate revenue. More.
Watch 9to5Google on YouTube for more news: