When it came time to first plug my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone into the USB port in Cars.com’s 2014 Chevrolet Impala long-term test car, the dreaded “Device not supported” message showed up.
As a non-iPhone user, it’s a message I’m accustomed to seeing in the various new cars we test. For this reason I keep an iPhone in tow to get the full USB experience of voice commands and navigating a music library via in-car controls when my phone doesn’t play nice.
That may change in the future with the Open Automotive Alliance (which includes General Motors), bringing Android tech into cars with Android Auto, but for now I popped a few questions over to Chevrolet’s customer service to see if it was my phone or the car’s MyLink infotainment system needed updating.
The answer? Impala’s MyLink USB connectivity only supports Apple iOS devices.
It was a strange answer considering that various phone and car forums show some people have made the system work with their Android phones, plus I’ve had success in other Chevrolet cars. After digging a little deeper, Chevrolet spokesman Fred Ligouri says Android-tethered USB phone compatibility does exist for some devices.
According to Ligouri, the Chevrolet team already has implemented limited Android USB compatibility into MyLink systems and continues to make progress integrating more. And Bluetooth streaming audio can be a workaround where there isn’t Bluetooth connectivity.
“While there are some different communication protocols for Android devices affecting the tethered compatibility to MyLink,” says Ligouri. “there’s the ability to pair via Bluetooth for similar music streaming and phone functionality on most [Android] devices.”
We’d love to tell you which Android phones DO have USB compatibility with MyLink systems, but procuring a compatibility chart is proving difficult. Another editor’s Galaxy S5 encountered the same limitations as my S3.
The easiest way Android users who are car shopping can check USB functions is to bring a USB cable along on a test drive of a MyLink-equipped vehicle.
Those who come up empty-handed can check car and phone Bluetooth compatibility for a General Motors’ vehicle here.