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Guide to Installing Custom apps AND working on adding Wireless Android Auto/Carplay functionalities to our Regals

buickbox

Member
34
13
8
Buick Ownership
2018 Regal Tour X Preferred
GM announced that they won't be adding wireless carplay/android support to previous years model, seems the only way you're getting it is getting a new car or an expensive HMI swap.
No Wireless Android Auto Or Apple CarPlay Factory Upgrade By GM | GM Authority

Since our white-needle car already comes with android and has an in-car wifi, I'm looking for way to dump the firmware from a 2021 xt4 right now, and hopefully I can find the necessary hack to make our carplay and android auto work wirelessly without purchasing any dongles.

Also, it appears that infotainment version >=22.10 blocked any development access. So for people looking for future mods/installing apps to your regal I would recommend NOT to update to 22.10.
 

buickbox

Member
34
13
8
Buick Ownership
2018 Regal Tour X Preferred
This post is reserved for guide on installing custom android apps, such as google maps, Angry birds, etc.
DISCLAMER:

* I'm not responsible for bricked devices, thermonuclear war, crashes, or you getting fired etc because the app/method failed to work.

* YOU are choosing to make these modifications, and if you point the finger at me for messing up your device, I will laugh at you. Please do some research before running commands.

* DO NOT PLAY GAMES/WATCH VIDEO WHILE VEHICLE IS IN MOVEMENT, it may lead to serious accident!

NOTE: This guide only works on newer android based IOT radio that appears on 2018.5+ regals.(white needle, usually with alexa support), older radio won't work.
It usually looks like this:

GM Info 3 Screen v3.jpg

To connect to the vehicle and install custom android apps,
You will need:
  • 1x USB A to C cable(if your computer supports usb type-c), or 1x USB A to A cable (if your computer doesn't have usb type-c port)
  • 1x Laptop running Windows, Linux or Mac.
  • Installation of Android SDK Platform Tools: SDK Platform Tools release notes | Android Developers
  • Some Knowledge of using a computer, Android, and some courage
Car side:
  1. Go to settings-> about
  2. Click on the version number several times until a message similar to "You have unlocked developer mode!" appears,
  3. Go back to settings-> developer menu
  4. Turn developer mode toggle to ON, on the top right side on the screen.
  5. Enable USB Debugging, and in the following screen click Yes or I agree.
  6. Disable Verify App installed over USB
Laptop Side:
1. Download Android SDK Platform Tools to your laptop.
2. Unzip that file, there should be a folder named "platform-tools"
3. Navigate to that folder, you will see many files, such as adb, open command line utility in the folder:
Screenshot 2021-01-14 020801.png

4. Connect Your Laptop To your vehicle with USB cable in the console, usually the rear one of the two USB ports in the center console works,

5. Check your connection using command below
Code:
adb devices
If there are devices listed, then your car is already connected and ready to deploy apps.
If there isn't anything showing up, try again.

6. Use adb to check device connection/install/remove apps, detailed steps below

On Windows:
You could navigate to the folder, click on the address bar, which is , type cmd.exe and press enter
Then You will get a command line window opened under that folder path.
1610619100094.png




Put the apps you want to install in this folder,
To download apps, you will need to go to reputable sites such as apkmirror.com
Since this radio is pretty old android device from 2018, you need to download the correct variant of the app on apkmirror.com

For example, VLC is a popular video player app you may want to install.
Here is a sample link on apkmirror.com
VLC for Android 3.3.3 APK Download by Videolabs - APKMirror
1610619473684.png

In download section, we want to make sure
  1. The architecture is or includes armeabi-v7a, and
  2. The minimum version should NOT be above Android 5.1.1 (Minimum Version 2.2+ is fine, but 6.0+ is not gonna work)
  3. The app you want to install don't rely on Google Play related services. (Say goodbye to netflix, Uber, etc)
  4. If newer apps doesn't work, try finding their older version, usually apps from 2018 era will work without any problems.
Or the app will not be able to install or won't run properly.

We can then use adb to install/backup/remove apps on the radio. Don't include "<",">" in your command,.
adb install <the_path_of_app_to_install.apk>


For example, you will enter
Code:
adb install googlemaps.apk
To uninstall, you have to know the package name of the app. It is usually contained in the apps file name with the format of com.xxx.xxxx

adb uninstall <packagename>


For example, you will enter something like
Code:
adb uninstall com.google.gmaps

On Mac/Linux:
Similar, TBD
 
Last edited:

mitchflorida

Active Member
427
120
43
South Florida
Buick Ownership
2016 Summit White Regal, Premium II, Moonroof, Driver Confidence Package
GM announced that they won't be adding wireless carplay/android support to previous years model, seems the only way you're getting it is getting a new car or an expensive HMI swap.
No Wireless Android Auto Or Apple CarPlay Factory Upgrade By GM | GM Authority

Since our white-needle car already comes with android and has an in-car wifi, I'm looking for way to dump the firmware from a 2021 xt4 right now, and hopefully I can find the necessary hack to make our carplay and android auto work wirelessly without purchasing any dongles.

Also, it appears that infotainment version >=22.10 blocked any development access. So for people looking for future mods/installing apps to your regal I would recommend NOT to update to 22.10.
I like plugging my smartphone into the USB, it keeps my phone battery nice and charged. And you can't beat hardwired for signal quality and speed.
 

buickbox

Member
34
13
8
Buick Ownership
2018 Regal Tour X Preferred
I like plugging my smartphone into the USB, it keeps my phone battery nice and charged. And you can't beat hardwired for signal quality and speed.
Yes, wired connection is more stable.
The only thing I don't like is the usb port which comes with the console doesn't support Fast charging, so I usually use a fast charger in my car when my phone is running low, because while using carplay/android auto it struggles to charge my samsung s20, it could only maintain its battery level.
______________________________
 

BradyB0225

Member
66
31
18
Buick Ownership
1992 Riviera
I just want Spotify and Audible to accurately remember my last stopping point. Audible is especially annoying for podcasts as it will sometimes start the first episode for that podcast channel.
 

Uniqez

Active member
488
233
43
Buick Ownership
2018 Opel Insignia Country Tourer with Buick steering wheel, HMI and floor mats
Yes, wired connection is more stable.
The only thing I don't like is the usb port which comes with the console doesn't support Fast charging, so I usually use a fast charger in my car when my phone is running low, because while using carplay/android auto it struggles to charge my samsung s20, it could only maintain its battery level.
There is something wrong with the cable perhaps. I'm using note 20 ultra- never had an issues with charging while using Android auto. It is usually starts maintaining the battery charge after it is fully charged.
 
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