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. Hi Raj,
    Is the update available globally? My NX300h XA69ANW is now in Singapore. Will the retrofit be available here for a Lexus purchased in the UK?
    Best,
    W

    1. Hello William,
      Thank you for contacting us.
      We are only able to comment on the availability of the retrofit in the UK, so we would recommend contacting the Lexus distributor in Singapore for further help with this.
      Thanks.

  2. Extremely disappointing to read here that Lexus UK have scrapped this update for the LC 500, their “flagship” model.

    Other geographies have provided the update to LC 500 customers, so this was obviously decided because of the lower number of LC 500 in the UK, instead of a technical limitation.

    Not the best way to keep customers buying the flagship models, when they’re prioritised below the less expensive models for updates like this!

    1. Hello Luke,
      Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry for the disappointment caused by the lack of an LC retrofit.
      We acknowledge that this is not possible for everyone, but Apple CarPlay is now available as standard on the newest LC model from factory.
      Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience caused.
      Thanks.

  3. Does my NX300h F Sport takumi pack registered on 01.07.2019 have apple car play? If not can it be fitted? Thanks

  4. I see that all the above questions relate to Apple Car Play with no mention of the Android equivalent, Android Auto, so is there any chance of being able to retrofit AA into a 2018 RX450h?

    1. Hi John,

      Retrofit of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is only available on some NX models, ES and UX. We have no information about the RX model. Sorry about that.

      Thanks

    1. Hi Charise,

      You’ll need to provide your vehicle registration to Lexus in your region for an answer.

      Thanks

    1. Hi Stig,

      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto retrofit is only available for some NX models, UX and ES. We have no information on RX.

      Thanks

  5. So why don’t Lexus just publish a list on what vehicle and year models an update is available on?
    Saves us asking 1 by 1. So much for ‘customer first’ approach.
    I have an 2019 ES 300h sport – is the update available?

    1. Hello Mark,
      Thank you for contacting us.
      As we are Lexus UK, we can only advise on the applicability of the retrofit in the UK.
      We would recommend contacting Lexus in your region for further assistance.
      Thanks.

  6. Can’t believe @Lexus UK let me purchase an ES as a company car advising me that Apple Car Play will be updated and available during 2020… Now at a first service (due to Covid) want to charge me for the update… What happened to ‘customer first’ approach?
    Selling a car on ‘yes’ it will come – you have the correct in vehicle hardware. Now wanting me to pay…

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