Spotify has confirmed that it’ll soon “retire” its Car View player interface on iOS and Android. The feature, first introduced in 2019, provided a simplified UI for controlling playback of your music while in the car. Spotify says the reason behind the retirement is to pave the way for further development of new features built specifically for the car.
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.
Once this news broke, many people expressed their feelings about it, with most people seeming to dread the departure of Car View. Others, including myself, couldn’t care less. I’ve never actually used Car View since I control my music through my car’s interface. I have a feeling there were enough people like me for Spotify to consider dropping the feature, hence today’s news.
If you’re hoping that Spotify has a replacement ready to go, I’ve got some bad news for you. The company followed up on its forms and said the only thing they have to replicate a “hands-free” experience is to use voice commands.
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’.
There is a second alternative, but it involves buying custom hardware. Spotify’s $80 Car Thing is essentially a hardware version of Car View, allowing you to connect your phone to it and be presented with a simplified view of playback controls for easier and safer interaction while on the road. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to buy even if you mind spending the money, as Spotify is still using an invite system to alert users when it’s their turn to buy one.
As you can imagine, neither voice commands nor the Car Thing are going to suit users who will miss Car View, an opinion expressed quite often in Spotify’s forums.
Whether Spotify delivers a timely replacement for Car View remains to be seen. For the time being, the company is hoping its users stick with them as they further the development of features they already have in the works. Hopefully, in a few weeks or months, we’ll finally start seeing the fruits of their labor. Otherwise, a lot of Spotify subscribers will remain unhappy and confused.