Google’s Android Auto app can tell you if your USB cable is faulty


Android Auto’s latest update adds a diagnostics feature that checks to see if your cable or USB port isn’t working as expected, as reported by the old XDA Developers chief editor Mishaal Rahman on Twitter. If your phone is not connecting to your car, the diagnostic tool can help you determine if the USB connection is causing the problem.

In the images presented by Rahman, the tool, apparently called “USB Boot Diagnostics”, will check if a USB cable is connecting and verify the quality of the cable. On a support page, Google recommends connecting to your car with the cable that came with your phone or a cable less than three feet long and not “using USB hubs or cable extensions” .

However, having the right cable can be easier said than done. USB cables can vary widely in quality, which means it can be difficult to know which ones have the right specs to support Android Auto. And you might not be able to assume that the cable that came with your phone will work with Android Auto, since most newer phones come with USB-C cables, but few cars have USB-C ports. Hopefully this diagnostic tool makes it easier to tell if you need to get a different cable.

Rahman says the tool is available in Android Auto 7.5.121104 — if you don’t have that version yet, you might want to check if an update is available. In a Twitter DM, Rahman noted that if you have the feature, you can find it in Android Auto’s settings > Connection Help > USB Boot Diagnostics. It should be noted that Google will sometimes slowly roll out features. Therefore, if you do not see the diagnostic tool, you may have to wait for it to become available.

Updated March 16 at 6:27 p.m. ET: Added context on the version that seems to have the feature.

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Deana N. Guinn