Easy Upgrade to Apple Car Play Available? - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Highlander 3rd Generation (2014-2019) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 3rd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #1 of 27 Old 05-23-2019, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Easy Upgrade to Apple Car Play Available?

I've read through quite a few threads of folks ripping their dashboards apart and installing aftermarket head units, which many look really nice. My question, for those of us not wanting to rip stuff apart, and having the 2018 limited platinum hybrid with the JBL sub, is there a software or firmware hack that anyone has successfully used to enable Apple Car Play in the OEM unit?

If not that, is there a plug and play option that retains 100% of the OEM capabilities but provides Apple Car Play and doesn't require dashboard modification?
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post #2 of 27 Old 05-23-2019, 03:26 PM
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I believe the answer to both of your questions is... No.

But someone correct me if I'm wrong as I'd love to know if there is a true plug/play option that keeps everything OEM.
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post #3 of 27 Old 05-23-2019, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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I knew I was dreaming, but thought I'd ask..... it was tough to return the 2019 RAV4 XLE to National Car rental after my business trip this week..... that Apple Car play is amazingly simple and works wonderfully. I find myself not even turning on the entertainment system in the Highlander.... navigation is a joke.... I'm almost 50 and just want my phone calls to be able to made easily and my use of Google Maps / Navigation to occur without a hitch..... those headlights on the RAV were wonderful and the XLE was half what I paid
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post #4 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 10:35 AM
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There are options...


Here's one...


https://www.audiodesignscg.com/mirro...factory-radio/


However these options are as expensive (or more), then just replacing the OEM radio with a better one from places like Crutchfield.
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post #5 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 10:50 AM
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Technically there are two options to keep the head unit.
In summary:

1) someone on here is offering some kind of upgrade that allows you to use carplay... does require adding some kind of module to the original head unit and is not cheap. Costs more than the top end latest android head unit i think.

2) mirroring add on which also requires pulling out the head unit briefly to install it (if you highlander doesn't already have it)
problem with mirroring is your phone will always be on and any interaction is still through the phone. Might as well just mount the phone on a vent clip and just look at it directly.

the android head unit will be able to run android auto natively and car play with a cheap little usb dongle add on.
So any way you spin it the most bang for the buck cost effective solution is the android head unit.
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post #6 of 27 Old 05-24-2019, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInNH View Post
There are options...


Here's one...


https://www.audiodesignscg.com/mirro...factory-radio/


However these options are as expensive (or more), then just replacing the OEM radio with a better one from places like Crutchfield.
I'm betting its this device from Beat Sonic. http://www.beatsonicusa.com/if02aep2.html

Has anyone installed this in the group that could comment?

Will bluetooth calls still come through your vehicle as before if you have the mirroring option running, I wonder, or do you have to switch off the mirroring and thus Google maps?

This is my wife's vehicle, so, if its too complicated, I will just need to abandon this idea.
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post #7 of 27 Old 05-27-2019, 08:46 AM
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I’m looking into this as well. I spoke to an advisor at Crutchfield who recommended a Pioneer unit, but when I googled the model number with other retailers, they claim it won’t fit in my 2019 Le Plus. Not sure what to think of it.
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post #8 of 27 Old 05-27-2019, 11:20 AM
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Better to buy a LE and replace the head unit, as that unit is more basic.

Last edited by Nzott; 05-28-2019 at 09:26 AM.
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post #9 of 27 Old 05-28-2019, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Iím looking into this as well. I spoke to an advisor at Crutchfield who recommended a Pioneer unit, but when I googled the model number with other retailers, they claim it wonít fit in my 2019 Le Plus. Not sure what to think of it.

I've installed several systems from Crutchfield. When my middle son was in High-school I probably installed 5-7 systems for his friends over the years. All from Crutchfield. I'd trust what Crutchfield says over any other vendor. Every system I installed came with a hardware and wiring kit. Each came with detailed instructions for that specific vehicle.
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post #10 of 27 Old 05-28-2019, 01:29 PM
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The iDatalink Maestro will interface with compatible 7" wireless Carplay head units from Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, etc. Use the link to select your vehicle and see feature compatibility. Will NOT work with Hybrid models due to Hybrid models using a different data system (confirmed by Maestro technical support).

This 10.2" screen unit (Android Car Stereo for Toyota Highlander 2014-2019) offers wireless CarPlay and AndroidPlay, but you loose your maintenance reminders. It's $550 USD. It's a base Android unit that can be extended to CarPlay, a Dashboard Camera, Backup Camera with an additional device module.

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post #11 of 27 Old 05-28-2019, 01:44 PM
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Iíve looked into most available options and in my opinion the only viable option is an aftermarket HU.
That said, itís probably not ideal either, as todayís ďinfotainmentĒ system are tightly integrated into the vehicle, so youíre likely to loose other features. Though Iím not sure what features it would effect as the HL is my wifeís daily driver (not mine), so Iím not intimately familiar with all the infotainment features.

I have an aftermarket HU in my truck (04í) and the steering wheel controls worked for about 2-3 months after install then stopped. Iím sure itís an easy fix (probably needs to be reprogrammed), but Iíve never messed with it because I figure if it happened ones itíll happen again, and I donít want to rip my dash apart every few months to deal with it.

If you search the forum youíll find a product out of Korea (I think), that looks very promising, but requires the system to be on a certain setting and installation of some kind of toggle switch to access the features (if I remember correctly); and I just canít see my wife doing that each time she wants to use the features. If it was my vehicle, Iíd consider it.
Also, it was expensive ($600+).





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post #12 of 27 Old 05-28-2019, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rseward View Post
Iíve looked into most available options and in my opinion the only viable option is an aftermarket HU.
That said, itís probably not ideal either, as todayís ďinfotainmentĒ system are tightly integrated into the vehicle, so youíre likely to loose other features. Though Iím not sure what features it would effect as the HL is my wifeís daily driver (not mine), so Iím not intimately familiar with all the infotainment features.

I have an aftermarket HU in my truck (04í) and the steering wheel controls worked for about 2-3 months after install then stopped. Iím sure itís an easy fix (probably needs to be reprogrammed), but Iíve never messed with it because I figure if it happened ones itíll happen again, and I donít want to rip my dash apart every few months to deal with it.

If you search the forum youíll find a product out of Korea (I think), that looks very promising, but requires the system to be on a certain setting and installation of some kind of toggle switch to access the features (if I remember correctly); and I just canít see my wife doing that each time she wants to use the features. If it was my vehicle, Iíd consider it.
Also, it was expensive ($600+).


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I can tell you from a few months of using the Dasaita 10" android head unit in the 2016 highlander the only function you really lose is the navigation prompts, and the music info in that little lcd window on the middle of the dash. There are two harness plugs that feed that data to the little screen computer i guess and they are the only two hardness plugs that don't have any matching connection on the new head unit. Everything else works just fine.

As a bonus the voice assistant button now acts like a mute button instead which is much more handy instead of scrolling the volume all the way down when i need a quick silent moment. Ok google works just with voice activation so no need for a physical button on the steering wheel.
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-01-2019, 11:55 AM
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I think it's coming..


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post #14 of 27 Old 06-01-2019, 12:22 PM
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I think it's coming..


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Don't think that's applicable to the 3rd Gen HL.

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post #15 of 27 Old 06-01-2019, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by KA4993 View Post
Don't think that's applicable to the 3rd Gen HL.
They can't handle the truth, which is that Toyota is putting a 5 yr old system in a 2019 vehicle, that costs up to 50K , that is quite cynical of them.
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