Getting the most from iPhone and Ford Sync

Here are some tips to get more out of your iPhone and the Ford Sync system

Here are some tips to get more out of your iPhone and the Ford Sync system

Getting the most out of your Ford Sync system sometimes means learning more about your smartphone and here are some tips on using your iPhone with the Ford Sync system.

Are you having trouble accessing your iPhone music?

If you have upgraded to a newer Apple iOS, then one of the options is to “back up” and store your music on the Cloud. This uses a process referred to as iTunes Match. Essentially you see the song titles and information on your iPhone – but the music is actually “parked” in the Cloud. The problem is that the Ford Sync system no longer can access this music since it has become part of the Apple proprietary system. If you go to your iPhone’s Settings folder… scroll down to the iTunes & App Stores bar, then turn off the iTunes Match button.

This allows your Sync system to access music files. Turn the iTunes Match button back on to back up and store your music from time to time to keep your files current.

Has your streaming iPhone music stopped playing?

If you pushed the Voice button on the steering wheel to access music by saying “Bluetooth Audio” then you can stream music through your vehicle sound system. It streams music, but you don’t have enough bandwidth to give voice commands to “Play Artist Bruno Mars.”

If you plug your iPhone into the USB port, then you’ll have to push the Voice button and say “USB.” The Sync system will index the music on your iPhone (or USB jump drive) and after a few minutes, push the Voice button again and when the Sync system says “USB, state your command” then say “Play All.” The Sync system will begin playing your music. You can then push the Voice button and say “Play Artist Miranda Lambert” and it will find and play her music (if you have that in your collection).

So can I play music from Pandora?

If you have a Pandora account on your iPhone, then you can push the Voice button and say “Bluetooth Audio.” The system will reply “Bluetooth Audio” and then go to your iPhone and tap the Pandora icon (or other streaming music App) and then as that App starts to play, your music will mute and the streaming music will play.

Once again, if you plug your iPhone into USB, then you have to give your system a voice command of “USB” for the system to change the content it is accessing.

Can I get voice-to-text text messages read to me?

If you have an iPhone 4s or an iPhone 5, go to your phone and push the Home button (the large button on the lower center of your phone). Hold the Home button for a few seconds and you will hear a tome on your phone (and the Sync system). Say, “Read Text Messages.” Your iPhone’s Siri will look for messages and read them to you. If you want to send a message, push the Home button and say “Send Text Message.” Your Siri will ask who you want to send to and what you want to say. Just follow instructions.  In fact, you can push the Home button and ask Siri any question. When you are finished with Siri, just push and hold the phone icon on your steering wheel and “hang up” on the call.

So how can I get voice-activated GPS instructions through the Sync system?

Let’s say you want to use your iPhone 4s or iPhone 5 App, such as Google Maps, to get turn-by-turn instructions. Push the Voice button on the steering wheel and say “Bluetooth Audio.” Then go to your iPhone and activate your GPS App. It will “speak” the instructions over the Sync system. Push and hold the phone icon on the steering wheel to hang up the voice instructions.

On-going support for your iPhone and Sync …

Complete power down your iPhone at least once a week. Keep the iPhone off for at least a few minutes. Then power it back up.

Go to your phone’s main screen. Then push the Home button twice. The screen will slide up. You will see a group of App icons. Push and hold your finger on one of the Apps until a red circle with a white minus symbol appears. Then tap the red circle and the Apps will be turned off. Most people will find that every time they open an App that it stays on “in the background.” This uses more power and drains your battery more quickly. By turning off your iPhone Music App you won’t have the music starting to play automatically every time you start up your vehicle.

By the way, if you are playing Bluetooth or USB music then you can push one of the Audio buttons on your vehicle to change to AM/FM, CD, Aux or Sirius as a music source. Or, you can use the Media (or Source) buttons (if you have them on your vehicle) to access any of the Media available to your vehicle.



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18 thoughts on “Getting the most from iPhone and Ford Sync

  1. I have an iphone 5 and when it is connected to sync gps does not work. Very frustrating! if you un pair it gps works again. Been to the dealer 3 times in the 2 weeks I own my 2013 Explorer Sport

    • Can I ask a question… you say the iPhone 5 is paired to your Explorer. Do you have the MyFord Touch, or the MyFord system?
      If you have the MyFord Touch, do you have the latest version (with the A4 SD map card)?
      I think you’re saying that you are paired to the Sync system and you are going to your iPhone to get GPS instructions… I know that when I use my iPad to get driving directions the sensors in the iPad itself prevent me from using the iPad while driving. I think you may be having the same event. I believe this is a proprietary software issue from Apple. See your Apple store for more information on this.
      However, if you have the MyFord Touch (with SD card, or with the Sync Services option) you will be able to use voice commands to get turn-by-turn driving directions through your Sync system. With the MyFord system you would probably need a subscription to the Sync Services option. See for details on that option. And, when using the MyFord Touch Destination Mode, you will have access to your phone as well.
      The Sync hands-free system is a “bring your own device” system. It’s platform is designed to allow third parties to work through your device on the Sync system. As you know there are dozens of devices, with differing versions of operating system and thousands of Apps. Some of the Apps are “toxic” to systems such as Sync (in other words they were designed to provide something for the phone or device, but it may corrupt the data for third party sources).
      I may need to know more information to further assist you…

  2. Hi I´m from Germany
    My ride is a brand new 2014 gt500 with the electronic package
    Do i have a Chance to mirror my iPhone Screen in my car Display or do you have any other idea for german Navigation ?
    Best regards

    • Congrats on the new auto!
      The Ford system isn’t set up to mirror an iPhone screen onto the MyFord Touch screen, but I do realize that the iPad mini turned on edge is about the same size at the MyFord Touch display. It would be cool to clip your mini into the dash and have it serve as the display.
      If you’ve got the electronics package, then do you have the MyFord Touch with the SD card based nav system? I believe your voice module in the MyFord Touch should recognize your voice input in German. Check out the Scout app for your iPhone.

  3. How do I get turn by turn directions for an iPhone to show up as a phone call this way I can listen to the radio and when need to turn directions will come through as a phone call. Sometimes I can get this to work other times I can’t please help

    • I’m not sure this will work for you… the iPhone has sensors that know when the phone is “moving.” When it’s moving it sometimes ceases supplying information that may prove distracting. I believe you could “turn off” Bluetooth on your phone and have the iPhone (through Siri) giving you turn-by-turn directions. But I don’t think you could get the Siri voice to come in “as a phone call.” It would make more sense to subscribe to the Ford Sync Services for turn-by-turn voice activate directions. See the website for more information on Sync Services.

      • I have the same situation and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and for the life of me, I can’t figure out when or why. When it gives turn by turn through the radio speakers, it is a fabulous and would like to make it do it all the time. Any help or suggestions would be great.

        • What model or iPhone, what operating system do you use? Which App do you use to get turn-by-turn directions?

  4. I have similar issues. Sometimes the iPhone iHeart radio will play thru as Media and other times it won’t. Sometimes iPhone Maps will give me turn by turn directions thru the stereo speakers and other times it won’t. It’s synced via BlueTooth and plugged into USB for charging purposes.

    Car: 2013 Ford Focus SE
    Phone: iPhone 5s IOS 7.1.2

    • You see, you can push the Voice button and say “Bluetooth Audio.” Then you can tap the iHeart Radio (or Pandora, or other streaming App), to start music. But if you later plug the phone into the Sync system USB port, now Sync recognizes the phone not as Bluetooth, but now it sees it as a USB device. This will change how the App and the phone will work with the Sync system….

  5. when I have my iPhone 5c plugged into the USB port I cant play pandora. it will stream for a second then stop and I have to keep pressing play but then it stops again. how can i fix this?

    • I don’t know what year or model you have… but up until 2015 all USB ports in the dash, or console, produced just enough to power an iPhone, but not enough to charge it and run Apps. I would suspect you could have this power challenge… And, have you checked your settings to see if certain Apps are shut down if the iPhone senses it is moving?

  6. Just SYNC my iPhone 6 Plus to MyFordTouch for 2015 Ford Explorer. Now Siri has taken over my voice commands all together. So when I want to use voice commands for my Ford Navigation is pulls up the Google Map on my iPhone instead and I cannot use the Ford’s Navigation System unless I stop the car and manually enter the address. How do I stop this instrusion?

    • So how are you accessing Siri? Don’t you push the Phone icon on your steering wheel to initiate the Sync system, then ask for “Hone”, then “Call Bob Smith on cell.”
      Also, if you used the steering wheel controls, pushed the Phone icon and said “Navigation.” It gets you into the Sync nav system.
      Please refer to this video for more voice commands…

      From what you’re describing.. it sounds like you are using your phone commands, and when you push the “home” button a little longer, it summons up Siri, which you would hear over your Sync system if you were in the vehicle…

    • That’s an excellent question… however, Ford didn’t build the vehicle displays to mirror a phone’s image. There is a whole lot of liability and trademark issues involved on this topic. The only thing you could really do is get a dashboard mount for your device – bout you would want a larger screen so you could “see” the screen safely – and doing this while driving could qualify as a distraction in most states….

  7. We just purchased a 2017 Ford Explorer and paired my iPhone 6 with it. Calls come through great through the sync system, but all our sounds on my phone are muted. This includes incoming text messages, navigation, alerts, etc. How do I make sync recognize these and notify me of them while driving? Navigation apps such as mapquest are not real useful while driving if you have to stare at the phone!!

    • The new Sync 3 system (which you have) is an App-based system… see for more details and to register your vehicle. There you will find a multitude of information and videos on using the system. The Sync system was never designed to pull sounds, interactive apps and the internet through its system. This would easily distract the driver and could help cause accidents… I’m not sure if you knew this, and your Ford salesperson or customer service rep should have explained the system better… The Sync 3 does allow Apple CarPlay and with that app you should be able to ask Siri to read emails, get direction info and so on… I would recommend visiting the Ford Owner’s site for more details…

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