Audi + Android Auto + RSAP

Audi MIB2 on the Audi A4 B9 Avant 2018 does integrate online entertainment functionality via integrated SIM and also supports Android Auto. Sadly there are several issues with Audi and Android Auto when using RSAP bluetooth profile for internet connectivity for Audio extended online services.

Not sure if technically challenging or if Audi is just trying to push their SIM data subscriptions.

Issue summary

Let me try to summarize my understanding of the situation and a rather extensive and complex topic:

  • Audi has an integrated SIM which provides basic online services (maps, connect online, etc.) for free. At least during the first the first three years after purchasing a new car.
  • To use integrated entertainment online services through MMI (i.e. webradio, Napster, Amazon) there are three options:
    • use the bluetooth RSAP profile (= the car hijacks the phone SIM card and uses the mobile phone as in-car phone)
    • buy an additional online data subscription from cubic telecom (which basically means enabling MMI online entertainment services with the already existing, integrated Audi SIM)
    • insert an addition SIM for data connectivity in the glove compartment
  • If you do not want to sign up with cubic or install an additional SIM there is only the RSAP option left:
    • your phone has to support the profile
    • as long as the car uses the phones SIM you do not have Internet on the phone
    • to regain Internet access on the phone you can use the car Wifi
  • This allows you to test the extended integrated MMI online services. My personal impression is that I really like web radio but had some issues with Napster and Amazon concerning content and usability:
    • the Napster music catalog does not seem to be very extensive (at least the music I am listening to)
    • I only have Amazon prime which means a very restricted catalog as well (and I just don’t like Amazon enough to go unlimited)
    • main reason being that the MMI usability for both is quite outdated (navigating through the ugly folder structure and also search being quite difficult – please don’t hate me… just my personal impression)
    • If more applications were natively integrated into MMI I think I would not even use Android Auto (e.g. Spotify, a decent podcast app, etc.)

Using Android Auto while also wanting to use the bluetooth RSAP profile causes one major problem:

  • As soon as Android Auto is connected through USB it disables the RSAP profile access on the phone as it naturally seems to need full SIM access itself.
  • At least Audi MMI switches back to original RSAP setting after Android Auto is disconnected
    • not tested to disconnect Android Auto during a drive as I normally active Android Auto directly before driving and leave it that way
    • when using Android Auto and on the next drive not using Android Auto everything was fine back to RSAP without any intervention

Possible solutions

I think the connectivity/setting issues would be solved if:

  • Audi MMI was able to use internet connectivity through Android Auto
    => sadly not very likely to be supported with this generation of Audi interface
  • Audi MMI was able to use internet connectivity through an external Wifi Hotspot
    => sadly not very likely to be supported with this generation of Audi interface
  • Android Auto was OK with just a wireless internet connection through Audi MMI hotspot and not reclaiming the SIM
    => Would work for me as I prefer all phone related services through Audi MMI and would only like online entertainment through Android Auto. Tried disabling all permissions in Android settings for Android Auto but Android Auto still ends RSAP profile – sadly also not very likely, or does anybody know how to achieve this?

Most likely I’ll stick to one of those two options:

  • Use RSAP when I don’t use Android Auto, and fall back to the in-car SIM for basic Internet features (i.e. Google Maps map data) when I use Android Auto. Luckily this works out-of-the-box without any manual intervention – the car prefers RSAP and switches to in-car SIM for data as soon as Android Auto is connected.
  • At the latest when the free in-car SIM has to be renewed I’ll most likely insert a duplicate SIM of my main smartphone SIM. Most providers offer this service for a small fee. Both SIMs react on incoming phone calls and share the same service contract. My provider supports up to 5 parallel SIMs. It should be like permanently inserting my phone SIM.

Please let me know if I am missing / misunderstanding / overlooking anything in the comments!

Additional miscellaneous findings

  • Was looking into Android Auto wireless. My guess is that Android Auto wireless will not work with this version of Audi MMI/MIB2. It seems that although the car and mobile both support Wifi the Audi head unit is not able to use an internet connection through a Wifi hotspot, which I think is the prerequisite.
  • There is no physical quick access button to open Android Auto with just one button press – or did I miss any? Neither the * key on the steering wheel, nor the 1-8 favorite buttons are programmable for Android Auto sadly.
  • There does not seem to be a way to fast forward any song in any music application (Spotify, Amazon, Deezer) in Android Auto… only skipping to the prev/next song works.
  • I really tried to give Deezer a try – really like them as a company and their music catalog. They sadly are missing the upcoming songs list view while playing music – which is really nice. So far only Spotify seems to support this view.

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