“Early adopters” of iPhone 4S report iOS 5 works well with Ford’s Sync

So far the new Apple iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S are working with the Ford Sync system.

“Early adopters” of iPhone 4S with Apple iOS 5 report the system works well with Ford’s Sync system.

Since June 2010 SyncMyRide forums have been lighting up with questions from users. So far the news is good. Some Apple iOS 3 users reported that their system didn’t work well with Sync systems. Many felt that Ford should “upgrade” their software to solve the issues, but as it turned out, it was Apple who could improve on their phone’s system.

Beta users of Apple iOS 5 and iPhone 4S models  have so far reported that everything works fine. However, there is a large contingent of users who are concerned that they still don’t have the ability to have text messages “read” and converted to voice by the Sync system. Also, a lot of users expect the Sync system to identify Bluetooth audio by artist name and by song title.

Many Sync users who have connected their iPhone or iPod via USB cord to the Sync system like how they can use the “Voice” button to call out commands (“Play Artist U2” or “Play Song Let It Be”). This functionality isn’t there at all or it comes and goes for some. So many users expected the iPhone OS 5 release to address this issue. I’m guessing that it will take more programming by Ford and Microsoft to fix this issue.

But you won’t hear me complain about the text-to-voice issue, or the Artist Name request issue. I think it’s amazing that this telematics system works so well across so many different cellphone companies and all of the models of phones and all of the firmware driving those phones.  I use Bluetooth to stream media, to access Pandora, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or my USB jump drive. Oh yeah, I make and receive phone calls as well. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to check text messages when I’m not driving.

Apple’s iOS 5, the latest update to its mobile operating system (as of mid-2011), has a number of excellent features, and it’s free. The problem with getting the new update is that it requires the installation of the latest software of iTunes on your host computer and then there’s the problem with all of those servers handling tens of thousands of download requests every second. I still haven’t downloaded the last OS. I thought I’d let the crowds go first. I thought I’d wait and see if there are any major issues to be aware of and try to avoid the “rush.”

One Apple iOS 5 user dowloaded the software onto his iPhone 4 in Oct. 2011. He has not reported any changes to the functionality of his Ford Sync system. Of course, his iPhone works differently and that requires some adjustments. Nowadays with the advancement of software, one of the biggest problems is someone’s “new software release” will mean someone else’s software or hardware incompatibility. So to have everything working fine is a good thing.

So the Ford Sync system is an ongoing “work in progress.” The advancement of in-vehicle technology is still pretty new and there’s always room for improvement.  With hundreds of new Ford Sync users coming online early day there’s bound to be some issues, concerns and questions. So more on this story as it develops. If you are a iPhone 4S user with the new Apple iOS 5 software and are having issues, it’s best to look on the Apple forums for “fixes.”  For more information visit support.ford.com to register for more information on the Sync system.

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28 thoughts on ““Early adopters” of iPhone 4S report iOS 5 works well with Ford’s Sync

  1. I just got the iPhone 4S, and it works just as well as my iPhone 3G did with SYNC, once it connects. There is always a struggle for the SYNC to locate the iPhone in order to play “Bluetooth audio”. Every time I get out of the car or turn the car off then turn it back on, they won’t connect to play spngs for awhile, and sometimes not at all, even though I am still able to make phone calls through SYNC. Any ideas on how to solve this issue?

    • Yes, every time you turn on the vehicle, the vehicle’s Bluetooth system tries to first locate the phone, then the phone has to locate the vehicle, then they start the process of interacting. Vehicle computer processors aren’t as fast as a desktop computer. Vehicle systems are slower than a laptop. But how do you connect to bluetooth audio. I would recommend turning on the car, waiting a minute or so, then pushing the Voice button, saying Bluetooth Audio. What the system is taking time to do is to “index” all of the songs. The more the songs, the longer it takes… So push the Voice button again in a minute or so, and say “Play” or “Play Artist (name)” or say “Shuffle” then the song will start playing. Use the play/pause button to interrupt the play. If you turn off the car while a song is play, your phone will pause the song at that point and once you return to the car, it will resume playing. If it’s still not working right, please reply back… let me know what kind of car you have and what kind of Sync system.

  2. You can’t be paying attention. There’re huge Bluetooth issues with iOS 5.



    I have to pair my new 4S to Sync (2010 Mustang) every time I start the car. Sync can’t find the phone even though it’s been previously paired. My 3GS with iOS 4 worked perfectly. I’m hoping that Ford has an update to Sync because Apple appears to have known about this issue for some time but didn’t bother addressing it … and may never.

    I can’t live with this.

    • Have you tried a clean pairing? To do this, push the Phone icon and it will pull up the phone menu, it changes to say Phone Redial. Use the right hand tuning knob to find the topic System Settings. Push the OK button. Use the tuning know to find Bluetooth Devices, Hit OK. Use the tuning knob to find Delete Device or hit Delete All Devices, Hit OK. Now, go to your phone, go to Settings, go to General, top Bluetooth (make sure it is on). If you see SYNC on a button, push the blue arrow, it will take you to another screen. Hit Forget this Device.
      Now go back to the Vehicle Menu in your vehicle. Use the tuning knob to find Add Device, Hit OK, and Hit OK again, then you will see a 6-digit PIN number, go to your phone and when you see it come up with SYNC on a button, push that, then it will ask for the 6-digit PIN. Enter it and accept the connection to your phone. Watch for any phone notices that ask for “Always Accept This Device?” Be sure to select Yes and keep the connection always on.
      This should help.

      • I was having the same issue with my new 4s iphone. I followed your advice and now it works perfectly:) Thank You!

    • I am having the exact same issue with my Mitsubishi, so it is not a Ford problem, it is an iPhone problem. Mine worked fine with iPhone 4, it will not re-connect with the 4S. Hoping that Apple releases a fix.

      • Rod, the thing I’m guessing is that Apple may not want to adopt too many protocols set by Microsoft. Who knows, maybe it could lead to Microsoft to reverse engineering of the iPhone. That’s something Apple doesn’t want to happen. I think the way the iPhone 4S’s Siri handle text-to-voice messages works well with the Sync system.

  3. As the original poster of the Apple community discussion thread linked to by Madcatw, I can confirm I have repeatedly tried every available option and the problems persist. I have muliple times run forget device and re-synced my phone, it DOES NOT resolve the issue. There is a fundamental problem with a change to the bluetooth protocol in iOS5 causing these issues for owners of various car makes all around the world, which Apple need to solve urgently.

  4. I have a similar problem with my iphone 4s not reconnecting to my 2009 ford fusion SYNC when I start the car. With my 3gs it would automatically reconnect and start playing the song where I turned off the car. Now I have to go to general settings and connect the Bluetooth manually each time I get in my car.

    Often it takes a number of times for it to connect and I have never been able to connect it using the SYNC system to initiate it by saying Bluetooth audio.

    I also updated my 3gs to IOS 5 prior to getting the 4s and I didn’t have trouble with it. So it seems to me it is the 4s and the new bluetooth system it has that is having the trouble on my end. I didn’t have enough time with both to definitively say that for certain though.

    • I have received multiple reports similar yo yours RaleighDawg. I know that Sync suggests plugging the iPhone into the dash via a USB to access music. I’m spoiled, I would prefer to wait a little bit and then use the Voice button to access Bluetooth Audio. Are you having trouble accessing only your iPhone’s music? Or is this a problem with Pandora, Stitcher and iHeartRadio as well? Let me know…

      • You may not want to plug in via USB. It seems to crash the sync on my 2011 explorer. Sync has reset/rebooted twice since I got the car in January but in the last week since I’ve had the iphone 4s it’s crashed at least 10 and probably more like 15 times. It frequently drops the bluetooth connection while I’m talking on the phone. It’s become almost unusable. Half the time it doesn’t even see the iphone when I start the car up and I have to manually set it up. I’ve got an appointment at the dealer next week. Hopefully they can straighten this out.

        • Your vehicle may be one of the 2011 Edges or Explorers that your dealer wants to evaluate your APIM (Accessory Protocol Interface Module). If you consider that your in-dash system is like a laptop computer with a processor and a hard drive you can start to see some of the issues. However, your laptop doesn’t control all of your phone calls, your access to the Cloud, control the radio (disk, USB, Mp3 input, am/fm, satellite access, seat heaters, ambient lighting, climate control and so on. All of those functions have to interface and work through a variety of different cell phone carriers and any one of dozens of phones working on even more firmware platforms. Opportunities for miscommunication abound, and the APIM is the traffic cop directing signals…. let me know how things work out at your dealer.

  5. I have also been having problems with Bluetooth connection between sync and my iphone 4s. I’ve done a clean pairing, I’ve done a master re-set on Synce and the Bluetooth connects my phone for about 5 seconds and then it disconnects. It’s very irritating. Is there a Sync update that addresses this out yet? It’s very dangerous – one of the reasons I bought my Lincoln was for the Bluetooth connection – the hands free calling is something I use all the time.

    • HRindels… it sounds like the issue is the Discoverability of your phone. You didn’t mention the phone you have, but Blackberrys and Droid-based phones not only need to be marked as “In discovery mode” at pairing, but usually, once you have input the 4-digit (not the six-digit PIN) into your Sync system, and you go to download the phone book, the phone will post a message saying that “a device wants to connect via Bluetooth, mark that Yes and check the box below that states “always allow this connection.” Refer to your instruction manual on shifting the 6-digit pin to a 4-digit pin. For some reason Balckberrys and Droids prefer to connect with the shorter number….

  6. By brand new 2012 Explorer at first played streaming music from my iPhone 4 (OS.5.0) but suddenly stopped recognizing the streaming feature. My dealer, Bob Moore Ford in Oklahoma City, disconnected the car battery and rebooted Sync. Once again the Bluetooth streaming worked perfectly….for a few few minutes. However, on the next restart the phone worked via Bluetooth but any attempt to activate the streaming feature resulted in a screen message that my device was supported. My dealer appears to be stumped and told me that the expected a software fix from Ford. Interestingly, streaming works perfectly with my phone in my 2011 Mustsang.

    • Carl: Specifically, Ford doesn’t make the distinction, but your phone does. Apple, with its push towards saving and storing items via the Cloud, is creating some interesting opportunities for sharing… or not. There is a programming language for streaming music and I believe when it comes to purchased content from iTunes that sometimes the tagging within the Apple system can be different, this allows distinction between items you recorded on your own through iTunes versus those things that you bought through iTunes. And, podcasts can contain video as well as audio files…
      I recommend a clean “pairing.” Delete the Sync from your phone, delete the phone from your Sync. Make sure you have the most recent Apple iOS 5 updates, once installed, power down the phone, reboot it. Then go back to your vehicle and pair the phone to the Sync system…
      Carl did that and responded, “A message to let you know that my iPhone and my Explorer continue to play nicely together. I hope my experience helps others solve similar problems. And thank you very much for your interest and expertise in helping me. You are a valuable Ford team member. “

  7. I have a Iphone 4s and the phone will disconnect about 1 to 2 minutes after getting connected on my 2010 f150 with sync nav. This is not all of the time but most of the time. I will go to the phone system and reconnect the phone and 99% of the time the phone will continue to stay connected until I leave the vehicle.I have update both softwears on the phone and truck. Any suggestions, other than a clean pairing or deleting all of the other devises. My wifes works fine in her 2011 escape with her 4s.

    • You’ve done well getting the most recent upgrades for the F-150. I believe the newest Sync software should be Version 3.2.2 Are your iPhone’s Wi-Fi settings on? Do you have any restrictions that “turn off” the bluetooth after a couple of minutes?
      Here’s one more thing to try… open the hood of your truck, remove the black battery cable setup off of the post for about a minute, then place it back on and tighten it back up. Start your truck. Your Nav screen might show a “system rebooting” screen for a minute or so. Once it was reset, turn off the vehicle and open the door of the truck. Then restart the truck. Then, if you’d like, power down your iPhone 4s. Restart it. If you remove the old Sync (go to the Settings, then to General and then touch the arrow on the right side of the Sync button, then you can tough “Forget this Device.” Go to the truck’s Phone section in the NAV unit and delete the Phone from the list. Then, re “pair” the phone to Sync. I know this seems like a lot but it should help. DO you have your cellphone service with AT&T, Verison, etc?

  8. I have a 2011 Ford Explorer and an Iphone 4S. I have been having problems with bluetooth syncing with the Iphone. I finally got them to sync (at least it looks that way) but the sound doesn’t come through the speakers. Any ideas?

    • Desiree, The release from Ford of the new operating system for Edge, Explorer and Focus should fix this problem… should be available within the next two months. Watch for details or ask your Ford dealer for more info…

  9. I just purchased a Verizon iPhone 4S, and I’m unable to pair with SYNC in my 2011 Lincoln MKZ. I’ve verified that the phone is using the latest version of iOS5 and that there are no uninstalled updates to SYNC. I’ve deleted my previous phone from SYNC (a Blackberry 9650 that had no issues at all with SYNC), and in each of my attempts to pair, after entering the PIN into my phone I receive a “pairing unsuccessful” message that suggests I verify that my phone’s bluetooth is on (it is) and in range to pair (it is). The techie at Verizon got the same results when I went to Verizon for help. I’d like to have access to all the neat features of streaming music, but what I need to have is the ability to make phone calls from my car. Any suggestions?

    • Completely power down your phone. Go to the Settings, General, and delete SYNC. Delete the phone from your MKZ. Re “pair” the phone again. If there are still problems, consider doing a hard reboot. This process calls for turning off the vehicle, pulling the black battery cable clamp from the battery for more than a minute, then replacing and retightening the clamp. Then restart the car. Give the system about five minutes of run time and then turn it off again. Open the doors to ensure that the vehicle completely powers down. Then restart the vehicle again. This process resets the electrical system. You will have to put your radio back to the Source you had it on before and you may have to reset your clock.
      Also, look for a letter from Ford, along with the USB drive, in a few months with the new software system update. The new update redesigns the existing software format and ensures more dependability and functionality. Finally, if all else doesn’t correct the issues then please see your Ford or Lincoln dealer.

  10. My sync screen keeps saying REdial randomly. How do I prevent the redial from taking place when I’m not requesting a redial? Thanks!

    • What you are seeing is the Phone Menu screen. This most commonly appears when a phone call has not been “hung up” effectively. When you’re completing a call, press and hold the “Phone” icon for about four to five seconds (the screen will display Call Ended) and then let go of the button. The entertainment system will return to its previous function (playing the radio or whatever). Whenever you see “Phone Redial” on your LED screen, press and hold the Phone icon for four or five seconds and it will go away. Sometimes, if you are on a phone call and the signal drops, then the Phone Redial will appear and then you can press the OK button and it will redial the last number dialed.

  11. On my Ford 2010 Escape my iPhone works great except for. it allays starts playing music once it is connected to Bluetooth. I have to hit pause every time or it will just play and drain the battery even if i’m listing to the radio. any thoughts on how to fix that.

    • It seems that the most recent version of iOS 5.0.1 allows you to just go to your Music folder and go to “Now Playing” and push the pause there.

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