TechTip: Stop WhatsApp from showing up when making calls through Android Auto (on Samsung devices)

This pet peeve took a while to figure out, and I couldn't find any answers or workarounds online or even through contacting WhatsApp support, so I am posting this here in case it helps someone. The annoyance is WhatsApp showing up when dialing numbers in your car via Android Auto. This adds an extra tap on the car screen, after having to read the display to see which entry to tap on (which can be distracting while driving, I don't know whose idea it was to implement this) in order to select the non-WhatsApp number after selecting the contact's name. WhatsApp support confirmed for me that there is no way to disable this, without getting rid of the app on your phone. I wanted to keep using WhatsApp but not have it show up on/route calls through Android Auto, so here is the workaround I found:

  1. Back-up your WhatsApp chats and files
  2. Uninstall WhatsApp on your phone
  3. Setup "Secure Folder" (this is a Samsung Specific capability, but on other devices you can likely use "Shelter" to create a "Work Profile" for the same functionality)
  4. Install WhatsApp in "Secure Folder" and restore it from backup
This will result in WhatsApp continuing to function on your phone, but no longer being accessible to Android Auto and thus showing up when trying to place phone calls from your car. You may need to fiddle with notification settings on the Secure Folder to get WhatsApp notifications to not be concealed when you receive messages. Hope this helps.

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