Popular Swedish audio streaming and media platform – Spotify announces plans to retire its Car View feature, a feature that made its way to the app in the early parts of 2019. Spotify says embarking on this plan is a way to make the app less distracting and easier to control while driving. However for now it remains unclear if the feature would be disappearing on all platforms or just on Android. While some users remain unbothered about the removal, others are unhappy about this development especially because the removal comes with no reasonable replacement.
In October, confirmation of the change came on Spotify’s community forum, when a Spotify moderator responded to a post that asked why the feature was missing. The moderator responded with: “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.”
The moderator continued with “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.” A follow-up response from another Spotify moderator mentioned that the company was “also retiring certain features like [its] in-car Now Playing View for Android,” again in a bid to make way for new features.
According to reports, this announcement has gotten quite a number of Spotify users upset. Some of these users have taken to the comments section of the post, complaining that removing the Car View feature will make it harder for them to use Spotify safely while driving. Some have arrived at the conclusion of Spotify that the removal of the Car View feature was to open up a market for its $80 Car Thing device. Spotify launched the Car Thing for automobiles in a limited release earlier this year. The company made it available at first only by invitation to a select number of its paid Premium subscribers in the US. The $80 Car Thing device acts as a display and remote control for the music streaming service and is only available to Premium subscribers via a waitlist.
Currently, reports say the Car View is still functional on iPhone, but not on Android devices. The Android app’s settings screen has some sort of a Car section, with a button to set up the Car Thing and text that reads “always pay full attention to the road and abide with all traffic regulations.” Efforts to get Spotify to clarification its plans planned to retire Car View on all platforms or not have yielded much.
According to The Verge, if Spotify does remove Car View from its iOS app, you’ll still be able to control your music hands-free with Siri by adding “on Spotify” at the end of any voice command. (For example: “play Adele on Spotify.” Saying “next track” or “pause” will also work if music is currently playing from the service.) Siri can remember your preferred streaming service, so you may not always have to ask it to use Spotify, but in typical Siri fashion that features can be a little flaky. On an Android device, you can have Google Assistant default to using Spotify, and on both platforms, you can activate Spotify controls within Google Maps (though the buttons are significantly smaller than they are in Spotify’s Car View). Some cars will also let you control Spotify via Car Play or Android Auto. You can run the latter on your phone’s screen as well, which will give you a similar interface to Car View.
A thread that has over 108 comments by Spotify users asking when to expect a replacement for Car View, or what that replacement will look like is yet to be responded to by Spotify’s moderators. Users have expressed great disappointment on why Spotify couldn’t have kept the feature active while working on a replacement. Spotify seems determined to continue to toll this road given to the lack of replies people asking questions have gotten.