How to use Google Assistant driving mode in Google Maps to control your phone with your voice while on the road

using phone in car

Summary List Placement

As time goes on, more and more people are throwing away their old GPS devices, and just using smartphone apps like Google Maps to get directions. The downside here is that although apps like these can be useful, having to look at your phone while driving is still dangerous.

To help reduce the risk of distracted driving, Google’s introduced a new feature for Android phones in the US: Google Assistant driving mode.

Google Assistant driving mode gives Google Maps a simplified interface and voice commands, so you can control your phone without having to leave Google Maps, pick it up, or even look at it. If your car doesn’t support Android Auto, this is a great replacement.

Here’s how to enable, use, and customize Google Assistant driving mode.

How to enable Google Assistant driving mode in Google Maps

Before anything, you’ll need to make sure that your Android phone is up to date.


To update your Android, or check that you’ve got the latest version, start the Settings app and search for “Software Update.” Once you find it, tap it and see if there’s a new version waiting to be installed.

Also note that Google Assistant driving mode is only available in English, even if your Google Assistant is set to another language.

And of course, remember that although voice controls can make things easier, you should always prioritize watching the road over using your phone.

1. Start the Google app.

2. In the lower-right corner, tap “More,” and then tap “Settings.”

3. Tap “Google Assistant.”

4. Scroll down and tap “Getting around.”

How to use Assistant driving mode in Google Maps 1

5. Tap “Driving mode.”

6. Turn on “Driving Mode” by swiping the button to the right.

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Now it should start automatically when you start navigating. 

How to use the Google Assistant driving mode in Google Maps

Start Google Maps and begin navigating to a destination in the usual way, choosing “Car” as your mode of travel.

You should see a new toolbar at the bottom of the screen under the navigation controls. Here are what the icons mean:

  • Microphone. You can tap this to give Google a voice command, but if you’ve enabled OK Google, you can use your voice to activate this instead.
  • Music. Tap this to minimize Google Maps and switch to the phone’s selected music or audio app — in the photo below, it’s the Podcasts app.
  • Apps. Tap this to see a list of apps you can launch. If you start an app, you can return to Google Maps using the Maps icon at the center of the toolbar (where the Home button was). 

How to use Assistant driving mode in Google Maps 3

Voice commands you can use in Google Assistant driving mode

Driving mode gives you access to a handful of common tasks you can do entirely with your voice. Say “Hey Google” or tap the microphone icon, and then do any of these tasks:

  • Make a call: Say “Call [name of contact].”
  • Answer an incoming call: Say “Yes” when Google Assistant asks if you want to pick up an incoming call.
  • Send a text message: Say “Send a message to [contact].”
  • Listen to messages: Say “Read my messages.”
  • Play music: Say “Play [artist], [song], [album], or [genre].”

How to change your Google Assistant driving mode settings

To change how Google Assistant driving mode works, you can head back to the same screen you used to enable it.

If you’re already in driving mode, tap the apps icon at the bottom-right of the screen first, then open your Settings from there.

How to use Assistant driving mode in Google Maps 4

Once you’re done editing the settings, tap the Maps icon at the bottom-center of the screen to return to Google Maps.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

SEE ALSO: The best Google Assistant smart speakers you can buy

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