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 can either apple play or Andriod Auto be Retrofitted as an upgrade to my Rx450h 2017? Please reply is urgently needed
    Tuoyo E O

    1. Hello E T Oyaide,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Sorry, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can’t be retrofitted to the RX.

    1. Hello Paul,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately there is no retrofit available for your vehicle.

  2. Hi I drive a RX 450 F H sport 2013 will my iPhone 6 connect with apple car play
    regards John

    1. Hello John,
      Thank you for your comment.
      The 2013 RX did not come with Apple CarPlay, and there is no retrofit available for this vehicle.
      We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

      1. Hi that is a disappointment because I need a map update and with google they are updating their maps all the time for free, so what is the price for your map updates
        regards John

    1. Hello Paul,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately Apple CarPlay cannot be retrofitted to your NX. Sorry about that.

  3. Hi I have just bought a 2019 (69) LC. But when I connect iPhone 12 via USB as you said but Apple Carplay does not show up.
    Do I need to update software or have I missed something?

    1. Hello Steve,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Whilst Apple CarPlay is now standard on new vehicles from factory, it was not so on earlier models.
      This means that your vehicle may not have come with Apple CarPlay.

      1. Hi, Thanks that’s obviously disappointing, but can I get it retrofitted? I understand it was standard from 2018 onwards and mine is late 2019.
        Thanks again Steve

        1. Hello Stephen,
          Thank you for your reply.
          Apple CarPlay only became standard on MY21 specification vehicles.
          Unfortunately there is no retrofit available. We apologise for the disappointment we know this will cause.

    1. Hello T Harris,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Please can you provide us with your UK registration? We can then take a look for you.

    1. Hello Frederick,
      Thank you for getting in touch with us.
      The Apple CarPlay retrofit is unfortunately not available for the GS.

    1. Hello C. Brown,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Please can you provide us with your registration? We can then look into this for you.

  4. FYI.
    You have a typo in your following statement.
    For more information on Apple CarPlay, please content your nearest Lexus Centre.

  5. Hi really looking forward to getting Apple carplay upgrade on my 2019 UX, can someone clarify if the Nav upgrade that delivers carplay also includes the latest UK/EU Maps ?

    1. Hello Cigano99,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Map updates are separate to the Apple CarPlay retrofit.
      However, the Apple CarPlay functionality means that maps can be used from your smartphone.

      1. Hi thanks for that information on the Maps update being separate, can you therfore tell me when i am using Apple carplay navigation apps, Waze, Google maps, will the next instruction be shown on the HUD as it currently is with Lexus Nav ?

        1. Hi Cigano99,
          Thank you for your reply and your patience whilst we’ve checked this out with our multimedia team.
          Unfortunately, that is not possible.
          Apple CarPlay navigations can only be displayed on the Multimedia Screen once a USB connection has been established to the multimedia system.

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