Spotify has announced it is removing the Car View from its music streaming app. The company introduced the feature in 2019 to offer a less distracting interface that car drivers can switch on for easier control when at the wheel.
When your phone is connected to the car via Bluetooth, the feature pares down the interface to only large buttons for the basic actions like pausing, playing, going to the next or previous track, and liking a track. The menu button and album arts remain hidden.
While it is known that the feature is going away in the Android version of the app, it is not clear yet if the iOS version will suffer the same fate. However, many Spotify users are not pleased since there have been no words on a replacement or a reasonable explanation for the removal.
Some users have commented that they felt less safe using Spotify while driving with the feature gone. Others suggested Spotify was pulling the plug on the feature to sell its Car Thing device costing $80. The device functions as a display and control for Spotify and is only available to Premium subscribers, but they will have to join a waitlist.
Car View is still available in the iPhone app. In the Android version, Spotify has added a Car section, but it only contains a button that will lead users to where they will set up their Car Thing device. There is also a reminder for Spotify users always to pay full attention to the road and abide by all traffic regulations when driving.
The news about the feature loss first broke last month via a Spotify forum moderator who was asked by Spotify users noticing the absence. The moderator explained:
“We can confirm that we’re retiring the car view feature. This, however, doesn’t mean we don’t want to improve on how our users listen to Spotify while driving. On the contrary, we’re actively exploring a variety of new ways to deliver the best in-car listening experience. Think of retiring car-view as something that needs to happen in an effort to make way for new innovations coming down the track.
Please bear with us for the time being. While we work backstage on improving the experience, one alternative would be to listen hands-free via Google Assistant. This feature also works with Google Maps, so you can navigate while listening to Spotify. In order to do that, you can link your accounts and say, ‘Hey Google, play Spotify.’”
Another moderator confirmed that Spotify was removing features like in-car Now Playing View for Android, adding that new features were coming.
Spotify users on Android who require a workaround can default their Google Assistant to use Spotify to control their music (this works on iOS too). You can also use control Spotify through your Google Maps, although you will have to settle for smaller control buttons. Also, some car models let you control Spotify through Android Auto, which even lets you have a screen similar to Car View on your Android phone.
Even though the feature is still available on the iOS app, it is better to have a workaround as Spotify might remove it. In that case, you can control Spotify through Siri by including ‘Spotify’ at the end of your voice command, e.g., ‘play XXXX on Spotify.’ You can move to the next track simply by saying ‘next track.’ The interesting part is that Siri can remember your streaming platform of choice, meaning you do not have to always include ‘Spotify’ in your voice commands.
Spotify users have continued to ask when a replacement will be ready, but there has been no reply from any moderators. The lack of response suggests Spotify is not backing down nor offering a replacement for this feature. Still, there is nothing lots of backlashes cannot do as Spotify understands the importance of keeping its users happy.