Ford introduces new Sync 3 system for some 2016 models

In 2015 Ford will bring a new, redesigned easier-to-use Sync system, and phase out the MyFord Touch system now in use.

In 2015 Ford will bring a new, redesigned easier-to-use Sync system, and phase out the MyFord Touch system now in use.

By Vincent Hennigan
Ford Sync Specialist

Ford will introduce a new communications and entertainment system called Sync 3 on some 2016 models, and more will come on line in 2017.

Sync® 3 promises to reduce on-screen complexity, offer easier-to-use voice commands and changes to the control options for users. This new approach brings the Sync system in-line with typical smartphone commands and usage features.

Additionally, the new system will drop the Microsoft partnership and move to the Blackberry QNX system. A new Texas Instruments system-on-a-chip will bring noticeably improved response and processing times.

So the promise of Sync 3 is to offer faster performance, more conversational voice recognition, a more intuitive smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface to help Ford customers connect and control their smartphone on the road.

Initial photos and videos showing the new system reveals that the new system understands more conversational voice commands and allows functionality more like a tablet or smartphone.

Ford will also offer seamless integration of AppLink™ for a simple way to control smartphone apps.

Plus they will offer the addition of Siri EyesFree capability for iPhone users.

Also you’ll be able to get over-the-air software updates using Wi-Fi – which will allows easier updates.

Finally, it will offer enhanced 911 Assist® that provides subscription-free emergency calling in the event of a significant accident.

The Ford Sync system was first introduced eight years ago – the same year the iPhone was introduced.

Ford’s new SYNC® 3 system is a communications and entertainment system that is faster, more intuitive and easier to use with enhanced response to driver commands. SYNC 3’s more conversational voice recognition technology, a more smartphone-like touch screen and easy-to-read graphics will help millions of drivers connect with their lives and control their smartphone while on the road.

The next-generation system builds on the capability of SYNC technology already in more than 10 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road globally. With the earlier versions, some users just weren’t getting the most out of the system. Many claimed the system was impossible to use, but maybe the real issue is that some users were familiar with smartphone commands and those commands didn’t create the same results on the Sync system.

“Ford is delivering an easier way for customers to stay connected,” said Raj Nair, Ford chief technical officer and group vice president, Global Product Development. “SYNC 3 is another step forward in delivering connectivity features customers most want, and they tell us this kind of technology is an important part of their decision to buy our vehicles.”

Ford took a customer-centric approach in developing SYNC 3, drawing on 22,000 customer comments and suggestions, plus insights gleaned from research clinics, market surveys and tech industry benchmarking.

Since there are multiple Microsoft-based platforms that have been offered throughout the Ford system for many years, it is unclear if the older systems could be updated. Most likely, Ford customers will have to buy a new vehicle to get the newest infotainment system.

Ford is delivering MyFord and MyFord Touch Sync system currently. With the roll out of 2016 models (later in 2015), the new Sync 3 system will be available. Look for more stories in the next few months that will focus on this new system.

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29 thoughts on “Ford introduces new Sync 3 system for some 2016 models

  1. What models will the new sync 3 be available first. I want to buy a fusion but will wait for sync 3. I have a edge with my ford touch and I am not satisfied with it.

    • Ford hasn’t announced yet but my guess is, if it’s the 2016 model release, then the 2016 Fusion (probably in June 2015) would be one of the first ones. I’ll check into it and make a report the next few weeks.

      • Vincent,
        Never saw an update..will both the 2016 Fusion and 2016 Lincoln MKZ being built starting April 2015 have the new sync 3??

        • Ford Motor Company has not given any time estimates on the release of the Sync 3 system. They have committed to having half of their line-up installed with this new system by mid-2016. It is believed that since the Fusion (and its Lincoln counterpart, the MKZ) are some of Ford’s best-selling vehicles, then they would have the Sync 3 system. These are also some of the earliest 2016 models to be built.
          It is also believed that the F-150, the Explorer and the Escape would also be in the line-up for the conversion later this year.
          As an aside, the new Sync 3 system would be released, and installed, only in new vehicles. It is not meant to be “upgraded” from existing vehicles with other versions of the Sync system.
          To date, all Sync systems are built on Microsoft-based equipment. The new Sync 3 is based on the QNX system by Blackberry.

        • Vincent,

          The April 2016 Ford Fusion models definitely do not have Sync 3. Very disappointed. Headed to a dealership today to inquire if later 2016 models might have it, but i’m thinking it’s doubtful they would change tech within a car model year.

          • Please contact the Sync hotline at 800-792-3673 to inquire about the anticipated release date of Sync 3.

  2. FORD is really missing an opportunity to not only keep recently purchased vehicles up to date on software, but also passing up a financial opportunity to charge for updates, either as a charge on the purchase of a new vehicle, or a separate charge. I would be willing to pay a reasonable fee to keep my 2015 F150 software up to date.

    • I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re saying… You did just buy a vehicle that came equipped with a sophisticated on-board computer system that can interface with a dozen devices. If the device (phone, pad, mp3, etc. is compliant with the protocol) then there really isn’t much to update. Every customer should have a (free) account at support.ford.com you can go there to check availability of updates, download it, and get instructions on installing the upgrades. If this isn’t your “cup of tea” then you can always asked your Ford service department to check and add updates at oil changes or other service intervals. And, the equipment is covered under the “Bumper to Bumper” warranty so most issues can be checked or corrected by Ford Service personnel.
      I believe the F-150 is in it’s seventh year of having Sync… and I recall there’s only been about three or four upgrades (depending on if the system is just a basic Sync system, touch screen nav or MyFord Touch). The trucks have had one of the most stable usage with its Sync system.
      I would say that anyone who owns a smartphone (say, the iPhone) has to perform system upgrades at least six or eight times a year. Sometimes there are opportunities to purchase “upgrades” to iCloud or other programs. I think the phone company is raking in huge profits from phone users. Ford is trying to provide enhanced driver experience, and more safe usage of personal equipment in the vehicle — all at little or no additional cost to the consumer.

  3. I ordered a 2015 Edge in April but due to the delay of a part, I won’t get delivery until mid June. I just heard about this Sync update and am now wondering if I should wait until the 2016 Edge is available. My question is when will it be available? I’ve already been waiting a while. Not sure I want to wait until late autumn which is what I read in one article. I don’t know what to do? Keep my order and get my new car in a few weeks or wait until later this year. Ugh.

    • I wouldn’t put off delivery of your 2015. Yes it will have the latest version of Sync – because I’m not sure when the new Sync 3 versions will be rolling out and I’m sure it will be the 2016 models. Sometimes people don’t want to get the newest updates because it will be so new and unproven. I have a feeling that the new Blackberry platform will be awesome, but the current Sync system in the Edge is great! Contact your dealer to see what they would say about delaying delivery until next year’s model — they may have restrictions that prohibit a delay. So better check!

  4. I have a 2013 Ford Focus with MFT. I didn’t think it would be a big deal that the technology was getting terrible reviews at the time. Was I wrong. I have to mount my Android phone to windshield and use it for navigation. There is really nothing that the MFT provides of value over a base model basic function bluetooth/radio setup. At this stage I won’t even consider Sync 3 until the Android and Apple interfaces are included and properly implemented.

    • I’m sorry you are not enjoying your experience with Ford Sync technology.
      I’ve been using Sync products for more than 8 years and have not had the issues that you are having…
      There is probably more to your situation than I can address via a comment section.
      Yes, I believe the Sync 3 will have at least the iPhone interface.

  5. So how come my Ford Fusion 2015 model will not have the new updated Sync
    not cool…really not cool from a company with a great name like Ford

    • Have you ever purchased a new phone, a television or a laptop, and then found out within a month or so that a new version is available?
      The technology in any vehicle is constantly being updated.
      However, when a platform changes from Microsoft to Blackberry QNX, the software will not be “backward compatible.”
      Oh, and it won’t be until the release of the 2017 vehicles that most Fords will have the new Sync 3.
      I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but Ford is still a great company!

      • Thanks for replying.. but I am talking about they are acting like Apple company…like..Siri will only be available on IPhone 4S…cause of the equipment…But Hackers installed siri on previous old Phones as well… That is what I mean…after what I read from many threads, u can install or update the ford fusion 2015 with Sync 3…so why are they do this
        and I know that Ford is a great company…

        • I understand the SW will not be backwards-compatible, but will the HW be backwards compatible? i.e.) If I buy a 2015 Mustang, and decided I can’t live without Sync 3…..can I buy a radio made for Sync 3 and install it on my 2015? If so, is it safe to assume that the radio (made for a 2016 Mustang) will be ready to plug and play into my 2015?

          • There a ton of unanswered questions here… I don’t know if the radio head unit on the 2015 will accept the size and format of the 2016 (and I’m not sure if it would have to be the 2017 model to really get Sync 3).
            Essentially this is a major hardware change. The main chips are changing, I believe the system is going to dual-core… and processing speeds are different… I just don’t think it will be possible to install a Sync 3 into any older Ford.
            I know this sounds weird, but consider doing a 24-month lease on your Mustang… then you can “upgrade” to Sync 3 and a new Mustang a whole lot easier.

    • No. The Sync 3 system is currently slated to appear on some 2016 Escape and Fiesta models. I would guess it won’t be available on the F-150 until 2017 – but be sure to check with your Ford dealer as the new 2016 models come onto the market around Labor Day.

  6. Hello Vincent,

    I am wondering if the new Ford Sync three is going to be in the 2016 Lincoln MKS. Not in the new Lincoln Continental ,but in the next model year MKS.

    Thank you.

    • From the reports I’ve heard, the initial run of the 2016 Lincoln MKS will continue to have the MyLincoln Touch equipment. Please check with your Lincoln dealer, they can inform you of how to special order just what you want with the new Sync 3 system!

  7. Hello Vincent,
    I ordered my Mustang GT on 9. October 2015. Delivery to Germany will be March 2016, but I think later. So the car is not built yet and due to the dealers order confirmation, it is surely a 2016 model.
    Did you know, if the Sync 3 system will be available also in the European models, or is it surely built in, because it is a Mustang 2016 models?

    • You have a question that should be directed at the Ford Motor Company – European – Germany customer service.
      You may find customer service at this website:
      http://www.ford.de/
      The Sync 3 system is only on two vehicles that I know of in the US for 2016 models… almost all of the lineup should have it for 2017 models.

  8. Just saw a commercial today (3/25/16) advertising Sync 3 on the 2016 Ford Fusion.
    From all I have heard Sync 3 will not be on the Fusions until the 2017 models and the current Sync and MyTouch is NOT upgradable to Sync 3
    What gives?

    • Sync 3 is not available on all 2016 models, check with your dealer to make sure that the vehicle you’re wanting will come with Sync 3. And, in 2017 more models (but probably not all, will have the Sync 3 option) so once again, check with your dealer before locking in a deal.

  9. New 2016 Ford Flex with Snyc3. You cannot adjust voice control on navigation nor on the text message read out. Barely can hear the text message or navigation directions. Sound is up full blast on the phone. Need help

    • Navigation and other info should come out from volume controlled by the steering wheel or dash controls… Sound from making/receiving phone calls would be based on your phone’s volume output. I’d take a moment to show this to your Ford Service department to see if something’s not working correctly.

  10. I have a 2016 f150 Lariat with sync 3. Sometimes when I get in my truck the audio and voice command buttons on the screen dont work. Its like the audio is turned off. When I push the audio button on the screen nothing happens. So I have to make my drive in silence. this seems to happen about 10% of the time. Ive tried master reset and the reboot and that does not fix the problem. Only thing that fixes it is turning the truck off for an extended period of time. There is no rhyme or reason why this happens its just random.
    Please help

    • Matt, thanks for your question. I will have to write a more extensive article about this topic – not because there is need for alarm, it’s just “complicated.” Basically there are several different areas with your system that need to be reviewed.
      I would recommend visiting your Ford Service department to let them do some checks on your system. It could be caused by something as simple as a faulty cable or bad connection (in behind the central dash), and it a fairly simple test. Or it could be a software fault, or a need to review your Front Display Interface Module (FDIM) or the Accessory Protocol Interface Module (APIM), all of which need to be checked by a technician with the proper diagnostic equipment and software. Schedule an appointment for a review and let them know the problems you’ve been having. A technician will try to “duplicate” the problem so they can identify a solution.
      You’ve noticed something that is true. It is the “ignition cycle” that triggers the Sync 3 system to boot up (and lack of a defined signal may mean the Sync system doesn’t know to boot up). Sometimes the bootup sequence gets interrupted by turning on the vehicle and then immediately shifting to Reverse. The interface with the rear view camera can interrupt the Sync bootup. Once again, diagnostics can define the cause of the problem and lead to a solution. I know it sounds like an inconvenience, but if you start up your vehicle and notice the issue occurring, then put the vehicle in Park and turn off the vehicle. Pause for a few seconds. Open the driver door for a few seconds and then close the door. After a few more seconds, restart the vehicle… let things start up for a few seconds before putting the vehicle into gear.
      As I mentioned, I’ll work up a more extensive article on this top very soon.

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