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, making their lives easier and safer, thanks to a range of easy-to-access apps. Apple CarPlay has been fitted as standard to many of our models since 2020. For some older vehicles, a retrofit of this technology is available. Contact your nearest Lexus Centre to find out more.

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.

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.

For more information on Apple CarPlay, please contact your nearest Lexus Centre.


    1. Hi,

      Sorry, that vehicle registration is not recognised by our system. If your NX is a facelift version, it will be able to have the retrofit. Please contact your centre for more information.


      1. Hi, can I have apple play retrofitted on my IS 250 Lexus – CT12HJA?
        Many thanks for your answer

        1. Hello Andreea,
          Thank you for contacting us.
          Unfortunately there is no retrofit available for the IS.

      1. Hello JohnHenry,
        Thank you for contacting us.
        Unfortunately your registration doesn’t appear to be working in our system. Would you please be able to provide your VIN?

  1. Can you confirm that Android auto is available for my Lexus ES300h L300PLH.
    Can you also confirm how much the upgrade would be and what it would cost for the USB port to be placed in the centre console as I don’t want cables in the cabin of the car.

    1. Hi Phil,

      Yes, your vehicle can have the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto retrofit. Pricing can vary based on your location, so please contact your nearest Lexus centre for a quote.


  2. Hi – having received the email about Apple CarPlay etc, I see that it is not compatible, and this cannot be retrofitted, to the vast majority of cars mentioned in the posts. I have a NX300h 2016 Premier and note that it is not compatible. With which cars IS it compatible with?

    1. Hi Malcom,

      Sorry the retrofit is not available on your vehicle.

      Apple CarPlay is now fitted as standard to UX, NX, RX, RX L, ES, RC F, LC and LS.

      All ES and UX can have the retrofit, as well as the facelift NX, which went on sale in 2018.


  3. Hi,
    Can my Lexus NX 300h 2016 model be updated with apple car play…. please let me know.

    1. Hi Jane,

      Yes, the UX can have the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto retrofit. Please contact your nearest centre for a quote.


  4. Can my Lexus IS300H Advance be retro fitted with Apple Car Play and if so what is the approximate cost please

  5. Can the CarPlay connect via wireless or Bluetooth. Recent install and very please just needs bringing into more access modes

  6. Very strange, article appeared in a newsletter just rec’d from the dealer. Yet it is more than a year old. Add to that there are a whole host of models that cannot be retro fitted, and it’s not even available in the LC500. The marketing department would do well not to publish this stuff.

    1. Hello Stanley,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are only available through a wired connection in our vehicles.

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