How do I get my iPhone 5 to stream music on Ford Sync?

MyFord Touch USB screen

New features on iTunes version 11 and iPhone 5 can cause a conflict on streaming Bluetooth music and Apps on the Ford Sync system.

By Vincent Hennigan,
Ford Sync Specialist

The innovations of the iTunes version 11 coupled with the new iPhone 5 are causing some “issues” with streaming music on a Ford Sync system. Here is a tip  to get your tunes rocking and rolling again.

Some Sync users just love pushing the “Voice” button on their steering wheel and calling out “Bluetooth Audio.” The Sync system will go to your paired iPhone and first seek and start playing the music stored in your “Music” App. In most Ford vehicles, if you go to your iPhone (or even your other brand of smart phone) you can tap your Pandora (or Stitcher, or iHeartRadio, or TuneIn Radio Apps) and the sounds from your Music App file will stop and the “live” streaming” music from your Apps will start playing.

However, some iPhone users are not able to get any music to play… here is one area you need to check. Some iPhone and iTunes users are really into music – so much so that they will use iTunes Match. This service stores your entire music library in iCloud, including music from CDs, and lets you enjoy it on your iOS devices. There is a subscription involved and it’s a great way to have portable music. However, it can cause issues with Sync. Once again, Apple has introduced some proprietary code into the works that hinders Sync’s access to the music files. When upgrading to the new iPhone 5, many Apple users want to “back up” their music files, and using iMatch is a good way to do it.

The suggestion if you are using iTunes Match is to turn it off on your iPhone when you are driving. This will allow Sync to access your music files a whole lot easier.   One of my readers had no trouble streaming music on his iPhone 4 and then upgraded to iPhone 5. His son’s iPhone 5 worked without problem, it just seemed his iPhone 5 wasn’t working. After a trip to his Apple store, his Apple Genius noted that he had selected to subscribe to iMatch.

If you have subscribed to iMatch, and you are having trouble streaming Bluetooth music or Apps, then go to your iPhone’s Settings folder. Scroll down to the Music button and give it a tap. At about mid-page you will see a toggle switch to turn iTunes Match On or Off. Toggle it to Off. Then when you get in your vehicle and start it up, the Sync system can “access” the music. Apparently this subscription precludes Sync from “finding” your music since it was moved to the iCould. When you’re out the vehicle and you need to revisit your music stash, then toggle the Settings back to iMatch.

And, when you plug in your iPhone to USB for a charge, remember to push the Voice button and say “USB” so the Sync system knows to changes the Music Source to USB.

And, I still recommend that if you have a lot of music on iTunes, then transfer your music file onto a clean USB 2 flash drive. Remove any of those non-music files – they will not be able to be “read” by the Sync system, or Sync will reject the USB because those files will compete with the Sync operating system. Transfer only mp3 or mp4a music files to the USB drive. If your CDs were recorded through iTunes, then the Artist’s Name, Song Title and other information should be tagged on the files as well. Using your music on the USB source allows you to use Voice commands to find, access and play music files by Artist Name, Genre or Song Title.

As always, remember to power down your iPhone at least once a week. Reboot it after a few minutes and let it refresh before getting in your vehicle and starting up. Happy trails with good tunes for all!


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6 thoughts on “How do I get my iPhone 5 to stream music on Ford Sync?

  1. I did as you said and turned off iMatch. When I went back to look at the music app, all of my music was gone. That tell a me that the music is on the cloud, not really in my phone. So how do I get the music into my phone?

  2. I have found that disabling the music option to show all music – and keep iTunes Match on – seems to help ipione 5 and MFT get along.

    • Good point on disabling the music option. I’ve found that iTunes Match can and will cause conflicts with Sync. In other words, when you are using iTunes Match, the music is stored on the Cloud and thus makes it not accessible to the Sync system. Using the Cloud is good for backing up music. But you don’t need to always access it from there, especially if it’s going to conflict with the Sync playback.

  3. I have an iPhone 5c and a 2011 Ford Explorer (just serviced with updates to sync). My bluetooth connects but NO music plays (no Pandora, no iTunes). I have not subscribed to iTunes match so music is not on the cloud. I have reconnected by “forget this device” and starting all over, a few times, without any luck. Any suggestions?

    • You didn’t mention if you’ve cleared off the phone(s) from your Sync system… Clear everything off the vehicle and from the phone before trying to pair again…
      But FIRST, connect your phone through iTunes and check for the latest iPhone update. I think you should be at version 8.1.3 The Apple OS update was to correct connection issues — this could have been the problem.

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