How Apple CarPlay can make life in your Lexus easier – and safer

Apple CarPlay has been part of the smartphone revolution which has seen technology change all our lives over the last decade dramatically – and in almost every aspect, including travelling in our cars.

The infotainment systems in most modern cars have an option to sync your phone with the car, allowing owners to take advantage of the latest technologies to stay in touch, stay entertained or stay on the right road towards their destination.

2020 Lexus RX Apple CarPlay

This is true for Lexus owners, too, with Apple CarPlay fitted in current models, making their lives easier and safer, thanks to a range of easy-to-access apps. 

Setting up CarPlay in your Lexus is a straightforward process. First, on your phone, go to Settings>Siri & Search, then toggle Allow Siri When Locked on your iPhone to on. This means that you can control CarPlay using the voice control button on your steering wheel.

New Lexus RX

Next, plug your phone into a Lightning charging cable, then plug that into the USB data port in the centre console (some newer models can also connect to CarPlay wirelessly, so you can connect via Bluetooth).

You’ll now see a message telling you that Apple CarPlay is available for use and offers three options: Do Not Enable won’t connect you to CarPlay, but will allow you to charge your phone; Enable Once is useful for connecting a friend’s phone temporarily; and Always Enable, so your phone will always automatically connect to the car.

2020 Lexus NX Apple CarPlay

To use CarPlay, press Menu, and select Apple CarPlay. You’ll now see a screen that looks like your phone, so you can select the app you want to use. How apps appear on your screen is up to you, as you can customise their order (in iPhone, go to Settings>General>CarPlay>Your Car’s Name>Customise, then drag them up or down the list).

Now you’re connected, it’s time to take full advantage of the phone’s functions that can be used with CarPlay (some apps – social media, for example – don’t work in-car, because of the distraction).

2020 Lexus ES Apple CarPlay

Staying connected while on journeys is one of the easiest things to do. Press the voice control button and say: “Hey Siri, call…” whoever you wish to phone (provided they’re in your contacts list, of course) and you’re making a call without having to take your hands from the steering wheel or look away from the road. This is clearly safer than glancing from the display to the road as you scroll through your contacts.

The same is true for Messages. If you receive a text while you’re driving, Siri will ask if you want it to be read out. If you do, once it is finished, it will ask you if you wish to reply. To do so, just dictate your message (which Siri will read back to you) and ask for it to be sent. Again, very little distraction is involved.

2020 Lexus UX Apple CarPlay

You also won’t forget an appointment, as your phone’s calendar function is also available – and this also combines with Maps to navigate you to where you’re supposed to be.

There’s a world of music to enjoy, at your fingertips, either from your Music library or from streaming services as Spotify, which will give you access to tens of millions of tracks from almost any artist in the history of recorded music. Alternatively, if you want something more thought-provoking, you can listen to a podcast or audiobook (apps such as Audible are available on CarPlay).

Apple CarPlay has been designed to make your life easier while in your Lexus, giving you easy access to apps on your phone – and allowing you to do so safely and conveniently while driving. As such it’s a great example of smartphone and automotive technologies working in perfect harmony for the benefit of the owner.

85 comments

  1. Given we’re nearly at the end of October, has there been a release data set for Apple CarPlay on the 2019 UX?
    Thanks!

    1. Had the upgrade on my July 19 UX today. Took nearly 3 hiurs though so its a major upgrade. Lexus satnav updated at the same time

      1. Hello Reg,
        Thank you for getting in touch with us.
        We are so pleased to hear that you have been able to have this retrofit carried out, and we wish you many more happy miles in your UX.
        Thanks.

    1. Hello,
      Thank you for contacting us.
      We would recommend contacting the Lexus distributor in your region for further help with your enquiry.
      Thanks.

  2. My NX300h (REG RK68RGY) is due its annual service within the next month. The dealer told me that Apple Car Play would be available in October when I bought the car in July, I subsequently read that it would be November on this forum. Is it imminent and should I wait for a week or two? The Twickenham Lexus team advised me a couple of weeks ago that it was not yet here?

    1. Hello Norman,
      Thank you for contacting us.
      We are currently in the process of sending the Apple CarPlay retrofit update to our centres, and we would therefore recommend re-contacting Lexus Twickenham to see when they will be able to carry out the retrofit.
      Thanks.

        1. Hello Stuart-S,
          Thank you for contacting us.
          We do not currently have any information relating to an Apple CarPlay retrofit for the LC.
          Thanks.

          1. Does that mean it’s now not in progress? Previously you had said:

            “UX, ES and NX retrofits are scheduled for October, with RC, LC and LS to follow at a later date.”

            Bit ridiculous if it’s been cancelled for the most expensive, flagship car in your lineup…

          2. Hi Stuart-S,
            Thanks for your reply.
            We apologise for any confusion that was caused by the wording of our previous reply.
            What was meant is that we have no updates to share regarding the progress of the LC retrofit.
            Thanks.

  3. If what I see is true, that LS and LC are now yet again no longer planned to get a CarPlay update, then that really is a pathetic state of affairs from Lexus.

    You cannot simply ignore your £100k+ vehicle purchasers just because there aren’t many of us.

    A sad day for Lexus, you may as well cancel the LS and LC and go SUV only as that appears to be the ultimate plan with the death of the IS and GS.

    1. Hello Ryan,
      Thank you for contacting us.
      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available on the latest LS and LC from factory, but unfortunately, the retrofits for LS and LC are no longer being developed. We are very sorry for the disappointment we know this will cause.
      In Europe, LC, LS, RC F and ES will remain in our model range, whilst IS and GS will continue to be available in markets where vehicles of this type are still popular, like the US.
      Unfortunately, in Europe, this is not the case for saloon vehicles in general, even the big German brands.
      Thanks.

        1. Hello Stuart-s,
          Thank you for your comment.
          We apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused by the cease in development of the LC and LS retrofits.
          As previously mentioned, Apple CarPlay is now standard on the newest LS and LC models from factory, but we appreciate that this is not a viable option for everyone.
          Once again, we are sorry for the confusion and disappointment.
          Thanks.

  4. Would you mind consulting your database to see if my Lexus NX 300h DE18KUN is compatible for the Apple CarPlay upgrade. Kind regards

          1. Hi,

            As we said in our previous comment, system incompatibility prevents the retrofit. Unfortunately this cannot be changed. Sorry about that.

            Thanks

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