Spotify says it will retire Car View without immediate replacement

Spotify says it is discontinuing its Car View feature, which was introduced in early 2019 as a way to make the app less distracting and easier to operate while driving (through 9to5Google). It’s currently unclear whether the feature will disappear on all platforms or only for Android, and while some users won’t miss it, many others are unhappy that it is being removed without a reasonable replacement.

Confirmation of the change actually came back in October when a Spotify moderator commented to a post on the community forum asking why the feature was missing. The moderator wrote:

We can confirm that we are discontinuing the autoplay feature. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t want to improve the way our users listen to Spotify while driving. Rather, we are actively exploring several new ways to deliver the best in-car listening experience. Think of stopping auto-view as something that needs to be done in an effort to make way for new innovations to hit the track.

Please sympathize with us for now. While we’re working backstage to improve the experience, an alternative would be hands-free listening via Google Assistant. This feature also works with Google Maps so you can navigate while listening to Spotify. To do that, you can link your accounts and say ‘Hey Google, play Spotify’.

A follow-up comment from another moderator noted that Spotify “also includes certain features, such as [its] in-car Now Playing View for Android”, again to make way for new features.

if android police points out, this plan has upset many users – in the comment section for the post, people say that removing the Car View made it harder for them to use Spotify safely while driving. Some have also accused Spotify of removing Car View to sell its $80 Car Thing device, which acts as a display and remote for the music streaming service and is currently only available to Premium subscribers via a waitlist.

Some Spotify customers are very dissatisfied with the change.

At the moment Car View still works on my iPhone, but not on my Android device. The Android app’s settings screen does have a Car section, but it only contains a button to set up a Car Thing and text that reads “Always pay full attention to the road and obey all traffic rules.” Spotify did not immediately respond to request for clarification from The edge whether it planned to end Car View on all platforms.

Android Auto for Phone Screens can give you a rough approximation of Spotify’s Car View.

If Spotify removes Car View from iOS app, you still can control your music hands-free with Siri by adding “on Spotify” to the end of a voice command. (For example, “play Adele on Spotify.” Saying “next track” or “pause” also works if music from the service is currently playing.) Siri can remember your favorite streaming service, so you may not always have to ask it to use Spotify, but in typical Siri fashion, that feature can be a bit flaky.

On Android, you can the Google Assistant use Spotify by default, and on both platforms you can activate Spotify controls in Google Maps (although the buttons are significantly smaller than in Spotify’s Car View). With some cars you can also control Spotify via CarPlay or Android Auto. You can also run the latter on your phone’s screen, giving you a similar interface to Car View.

Spotify moderators have not responded in the wire (which has over 108 comments) with some estimate of when users can expect a replacement for Car View, or what that replacement will look like. It seems hard to believe Spotify couldn’t have kept the feature active while working on a replacement, but it seems determined to continue down this path given the lack of responses in the past month. We’ve asked Spotify if the user’s backlash affected its plans and will update this story if we hear anything.