How to fix Android Auto music stuttering issues

There are numerous reasons as to why Android Auto audio such as music of podcasts could stutter or lag in your vehicle. I went months having this issue. I tried dozens of suggestions I found online to no avail. Eventually I figured out the issue was a conflict between Android Auto and the Bluetooth connection with my car. The full fix is below along with a few other suggestions I found around the web. I’m not going to mention the “turn Bluetooth off and then back on” or “deleting and pairing Bluetooth devices again” suggestions as I’m assuming you’ve already tried basic troubleshooting.

In my case the music stuttering issue would present itself as soon as I connected my device. Spotify, YouTube Music, and other streaming apps would start playing but 10-20 seconds later the audio would stutter every 10-15 seconds. I could make the issue go away by unlocking my device. Sometimes I’d have to lock and unlock my phone multiple times for the issue to go away. The solution wasn’t obvious…

Disable ‘Media audio’ in Bluetooth settings

After more than a year of music stuttering issues, disabling the ‘Media audio’ option from my 2019 Mazda 3’s Bluetooth device settings finally resolved the issue. This didn’t make immediate sense to me as I thought music used the Bluetooth connection. As it turns out, the USB cable is actually used to play audio. The exact steps will vary by device but if you’re running stock Android 10, go into Bluetooth settings on your phone and disable the ‘Media audio’ option for your car’s Bluetooth device. I’ve also read some people have had the same success disabling ‘Contact sharing’.

Try another USB cable

Some USB cables cannot deliver the power needed for Android Auto to run properly. It appears Google may have some logic which simply stops Android from running over a low quality cable. Sometimes it will run, but the interface will freeze and music streaming will stutter or lag. This could also cause music to stutter while using navigation apps such as Google Maps or Waze. Typically the cable that came with your device should work just fine. Sometimes cables will work just fine but then suddenly stop working. I’ve had multiple cables stop working with my Pixel XL 2 yet work just fine with other devices. If you need a new cable, Amazon customer reviews are a great place to check whether a cable is sufficient.

Disable Battery Optimization for Bluetooth and Android Auto apps

I didn’t have any luck with this one but numerous Samsung and OnePlus users have reported disabling Battery Optimization for the Bluetooth and Android Auto apps resolved the issue. The steps to do this vary by device but you should fix the issue under App settings.

Don’t automatically join free WiFi networks

This one isn’t as obvious but I actually ran into a similar issue once. If you live in a city with free WiFi, your phone could be connecting to it while you’re driving and causing weak signal. Try disabling WiFi before connecting to your vehicle.

Clear your call log

If you have thousands of calls in your call log, try clearing it. It could be causing Android Auto to stutter or lag.

Clear app cache

Clearing the app cache for your music or podcast app as well as the Bluetooth app could resolve the issue. A few years ago I’d have to clear the Spotify app cache every few months otherwise my Bluetooth Audio Streaming would stutter. I’ve since upgraded to Android Auto so I’m not sure if this issue still persists.

When all else fails, factory reset

I hate this option. If you do a factory reset, don’t restore any device backups until you’ve tested your device in your car. The issue could be caused by a bad app on your device or corrupt application data.

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