Here’s How a 2002 Toyota Land Cruiser Can Run Apple CarPlay on Its Factory Touchscreen

This vehicle is older than the iPhone, but you can still get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to show up on its 22-year-old touchscreen display without changing the interior's factory look.
A 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser with Apple CarPlay retrofitted.
NAViKS, Toyota

There’s something weirdly charming about squeezing new software into old hardware. And while you can technically put Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into any car with an aftermarket head unit, getting it to look native on an old factory screen is much classier. In the case of the 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, it’s also a functional boon. Now you can put smartphone apps on your old ‘Yota without deleting the factory touchscreen climate controls.

Getting smartphone apps to run on a Bush II-era Land Cruiser is, perhaps surprisingly, as simple as getting a dongle and plugging it into the back of the SUV’s head unit. I’m not sure drag and gesture inputs would behave particularly well on an old-style resistive touchscreen like this, but it works. The hardest part of the installation would be pulling the dashboard apart for access. Here’s a demo video of one such system in action:

I mean, it looks pretty low-res. But that fits the rest of the interior’s look better anyway, right?

These older Land Cruisers in particular benefit from this style of stock-screen retrofitting more than other vehicles because of how the vent and fan controls were run through the touchscreen. That makes a head unit swap a little more of a headache than it might be on another car. But being able to preserve the vehicle’s original dashboard design while having CarPlay is also really cool to me.

This came up on my radar earlier this week when it appeared on a Facebook Land Cruiser group and the off-road forum IH8MUD. At first, I thought the original poster there had invented a method of sneaking CarPlay onto the old system. But nope, it’s just a readily available adapter that not everybody knows about yet.

2001 Toyota Land Cruiser dashboard, as viewed from the driver's perspective.
I already miss the depth and elegance of this era so much. But even if you don’t care about period-correctness, swapping in a new head unit is annoying on these cars because as you can see, the climate controls aren’t really workable without the stock screen. Toyota

Still, props to Augie Badura for doing the research to find this thing and getting one installed to verify that it works. If you’re daily driving a 100 Series Land Cruiser and want to update it with modern phone connectivity, this looks to be a pretty nice option for you. And if you’re wondering how CarPlay and Android Auto might be ported to a later-model 200 Series Land Cruiser, it looks like they can be similarly updated as well.

There may be multiple companies offering these solutions, but if you’re shopping, check out NAViKS for 100 Series trucks and BeatSonic for a 200 Series kit. Seems like a good starting point at least. Taking apart the dashboard of a 200 Series looks more annoying, but at least this kind of work is cleaner than anything under the hood tends to be.

And for those of you who, like me, clicked on this post because you simply appreciate the idea of using Google Maps while preserving the factory look of an old truck’s dashboard, now you can share this in forum threads that pop up asking about dashboard phone mounts and ways to hack new head units into classic Crusiers.

My fellow millennials and I have a tough time with this, but cars from the early 2000s are now classics. Yeah, we’re officially old. But today’s old cars are easier to live with than the classics we grew up around. Put another way: Driving a 2004 car in the year 2024 is a lot less miserable than driving a 1984 car would have been 20 years ago. We can thank the big leaps in comfort and reliability around the turn of the millennium for that. All this to say: I understand why somebody would want CarPlay in a 100 Series Land Cruiser. But there’s also a lot of inherent coolness in keeping that cockpit period correct, and at this point, retaining the factory look is only going to help these vehicles age better.

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