New Apple iOS 5.1.1. Update May Pose Some Ford Sync Issues

Some Ford Sync users reported issues today with their Bluetooth connectivity after upgrading to Apple's new iOS version 5.1.1

By Vince Hennigan, Ford Sync Specialist

We’ve been busy today at our dealership. Apple started alerting iPhone users to the new iOS 5.1.1 update… and it seems for some Ford Sync users that downloading and upgrading has caused some things get out of “Sync” with their Ford Microsoft Sync systems.

For many, the MyFord Touch screen went to “black” and froze on whatever task it was working on and refused to “turn off.” I recommend doing a “hard reboot” on vehicles that are “frozen.” To do this, turn off your vehicle, open the hood, use a wrench to loosen the nut on the black battery cable clamp. Remove the clamp from the battery for about a minute, then replace it and tighten the bolt back up. Close the hood and restart the vehicle. The MyFord Touch system will do a “reboot”  and the system will start up again from factory specs.Things should be working normally again from this point. Sometimes I think these Apple software updates cause the Bluetooth protocol to change with the Sync system, leaving things out of kilter. A reboot seems to start things up from a common point and will work better.

Apple released the software update on May 8, 2012 and stated it would address some security issues and,

– Improve reliability of using HDR option for photos taken using the Lock Screen shortcut.

– Address bugs that could prevent the new iPad from switching between 2G and 3G networks.

– Fix bugs that affected AirPlay video playback in some circumstances.

– Improve reliability for syncing Safari bookmarks and Reading List.

– Fix an issue where ‘Unable to purchase’ alert could be displayed after successful purchase.

Users can install iOS 5.1.1 using the over-the-air Software Update from your device Settings, or by plugging into iTunes and downloading it from there. As always, recommends devices are plugged into a power source while installing.

As always, if you’ve got Sync issues, contact us here and we’ll be able to take care of you. It’s amazing how resilient the Ford/Microsoft Sync software works across so many phones and so many carriers with so few issues! Since the MyFord Touch Performance Upgrade last month, almost everyone is reporting that their Sync systems are working very well. However, some people say they would prefer the “buggy” original version. I know the new upgrade works faster and understand “voice” commands so much easier.

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16 thoughts on “New Apple iOS 5.1.1. Update May Pose Some Ford Sync Issues

  1. I just bought a Ford Explorer 2013 (5 days ago), screen froze on a song title but would continue to play through my playlist, unable to skip songs though. Took back to the dealer this morning they did a hard reboot and it worked fine afterwards, for about an hour!!! Now it is frozen again, please help, the dealer isnt convenient to keep going back to for reboots and I don’t want to have to reboot it myself several times a day.

    • First of all, were you playing your music using the streaming Bluetooth, or, were you connected via a USB cable? I would recommend if you’ve a lot of music, go to your computer where you are authorized for iTunes and copy your music to a USB jump drive, then plug that into one of your two USB ports. Then you can use the Voice button on the steering wheel to push, then say “USB” and after a few minutes you should be able to push the Voice button and say “Play Artist + (name),” or “Play track + (track name/song title).” Many times people with the iPhone push the Voice button and say “Bluetooth Audio.” and then try to use voice commands to get to specific artists or songs… that only happens on USB connection. That’s because the system can “index” the music and artists and genres, etc… The screen freeze is probably happening because you are giving too many commands or you are overloading the controller. I would assume that if the screen froze, then if you turned the vehicle off (and be sure to open and close the door) that the system would automatically reboot. If you have to do a “hard reboot” then turn off the vehicle. Raise the hood and loosen the black battery cable clamp and pull it off the battery from a minute or so, then replace it. Retighten the bolt on the clamp. Close the hood. Restart the vehicle and it should go through a reboot process. Be sure to pass along this problem to your Service Advisor. They may want to schedule your vehicle in for a closer look.

  2. I have a 2011 Ford Edge Limited. My phone use to stream all my Rhapsody songs and iTunes songs via bluetooth. Now it just disconnects when i try to play them. Is there a sync fuse as all my cables and connectors are black on my battery. Thanks

    • Music is an area where a lot of users are getting misled… you can push the Voice button and say “Bluetooth Audio” and your Sync system will identify your Bluetooth source (which can be different than the lead phone, if you go to Bluetooth Devices in the Phone Menu and select a different Bluetooth Device. See your owners manual for more info). When you plug your device into USB, the “source” changes from Bluetooth audio to USB. Then you have to push the Voice button and say “USB” to access your music, but now, when you use voice commands, you can search for artist, song title, etc. Now, here’s where the hairs are split even finer… iTunes purchased music is content protected and it usually in an mP4a format. Rhapsody content is mp3 in format and it is encoded so that with the latest upgrades to iTunes (I just updated to version 10.6.25 on my PC this morning) it may have changed the way music is shared on a device like SYNC.
      I would recommend re “pairing” your phone before unplugging the cables. Go to your Phone Menu, Go to Bluetooth devices, Go to Delete Devices, then delete your phone. Go to your Phone’s Settings folder, and delete Sync. Now go to Add Bluetooth device on your vehicle, and then pair your phone to Sync using the 6- or 4-digit PIN number. This should correct the way that your Sync system “sees” your Bluetooth Device. As for the battery cable — it’s the (-) negative side battery cable (usually has a black vinyl cover – as compared to the red vinyl cover which is on the (+) positive side of the battery.

  3. I just bought an F-150 Platinum yesterday (with Nav). I *can* connect via bluetooth – but only SOME of my contacts will sync. I have tried unpairing (both sides), doing master reset, doing hard restart on phone – all suggested on other forums – but every time I reconnect – only part of my contacts show up. Oh, and NO, they are not on the SIM card – they are in the phone, all of them.

    • You didn’t say what kind of phone… Sometimes there are phones that do not automatically download the phonebook. Technically, the Sync system does not “download” the contacts… rather it is “indexing” to see what names you have. Any changes made to the phonebook will be recognized the next time you turn on your truck. What may be happening is the way your contacts are listed. The Sync system cannot understand an all-capitalized name. If you have “MOM” as a contact, the system cannot understand it as the word “Mom” unless you spelled it in Caps and lower case. Otherwise, you have to say “Call M-O-M” Also, when you “paired” the phone, I’m sure the system asked to “DownLoad Phonebook.” If you push the OK button once, you get “Yes?” Then you push the OK button again. Depending on the phone, it may take five minutes or more to download the phonebook. And, there is a limit of 2,000 contacts in the Sync system. I’ve known customers who had a phone, bought a new one, then had the phone store “move” all of the contacts to the new phone — sometimes this creates duplicate files that we don’t notice, but the Sync system does. A few times I’ve recommended to the return to their phone store and have the duplicate numbers removed…

  4. I”ve had trouble with my sync working with my iphone since the sync update had no trouble before been back to the dealer several times they replaced the module did master resets works for a little while then can’tmake calls or get calls screen freezes ect.Ive given up on the blue tooth audio just use the usb and scroll till i get a song i want to hear i don’t ask the voice control to play a certain song still the sync acts up periodically i delete my phone disconnect the battery and wait till it decides to work again do i have to expect that i will have this reboot constantly

    • Do you have the most recent iPhone OS 5.1.1. upgrade on your iPhone? Turn your phone completely off at least once a week and let it ‘reset” itself. How often are you using your phone around someone using a garage door opener? You may have other radio/power interference that is throwing off your phone’s ability to transmit by bluetooth. Also do you have the Wi-Fi settings turned off on your phone? Wi-Fi settings will cause the problems that you’re describing…

  5. I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus with My Ford Touch back in mid May. Everything has been working fine until last week. Sync would no longer recognize my already synced iPhone. When I deleted it and tried to reconnect, within a split second of pressing the add device button it pops up and says pairing failed. I do have the iOS 5.1.1 and have since it’s update back in May. I was just fixing to try the whole reboot suggestion but the battery in my car is halfway under the dash of my car where conveniently the black battery cable is. I can not easily access it. Unless you have a suggestion that I haven’t thought about. I don’t particularly want to go to the local Ford dealerships, cause each time I call with a question they tell I have to come in at the specific times that the “Sync Guy” is there. Unfortunately, it doesn’t coincide with my school schedule. I need a better suggestion, please! I’m desperate at this point cause it is driving me absolutely crazy since the reason I got this car with this package was due to the tech and now it’s not been working properly for almost 2 weeks now.

    • First of all, have you done a “clean pairing.” First, power your iPhone down completely. After a minute or so, turn it back on. Now, go to the Settings App, then to General, then to Bluetooth, when you see Sync button, push on the blue button on the right. It should pop up a secondary screen. When the words “Forget this device” appear in black lettering, then push it to confirm the deletion of Sync. Once this is done, then go to your car and start it. Go to the phone corner, push the Settings button (on the lower left), then push the Bluetooth button on the second screen and then, if your phone’s name shows up as a device, then touch it and then touch the delete button option on the right hand of the screen. Once everything is clear, then push the add button, once the Sync system comes up with the 6-digit PIN, then go to your phone’s Bluetooth settings and push the Sync button. A second screen will appear and then you can input the 6-digit pin. If all is OK, then you will see the gold star next to your phone’s name on the MyFord Touch screen. You’ll also see the interlocking green/blue arrows. Everything should be up and operating at this point.
      If you still have an issue, please contact me at

  6. I have a 2013 Escape Titanium an an iPhone 4s and these freezing issues seem toonly happen with Verizon peple. Today, on extended call, the SYNC system froze, rebooted, shut off, turned the call back on sync(I had changed it to speaker on my phone. It is a royal pain, I call these friends a lot. HELP!

    • One of the biggest issues I’ve seen people having seems to stem from the Bluetooth signal quality and/or the phone’s connection to the nearest cellphone tower… I’ve even heard the Smartmeters used by some utility companies is “broadcasting” a signal that corrupts a Bluetooth signal (especially while you’re on a call and are moving)… this can cause the Sync system to try to “reset” itself by rebooting.
      I’ve heard, but I haven’t got an accurate time line yet, that Ford will be releasing later this summer a new MyFord Touch version 3.6 that corrects some bugs… but until that happens, I would recommend turning off your vehicle.
      Open the hood,
      Use a 8mm or 10mm metric wrench to loosen and remove the black (negative) battery cable clamp for about five minutes.
      While doing this, also completely power down your iPhone.
      Then (after the five minutes) power your iPhone back up.
      Re-tighten the black battery cable clamp.
      Close your hood.
      Restart your vehicle.
      Allow it to run for about three to five minutes… you will see your SYNC system do a reboot.
      Yes, your radio will come back on AM… but for now just turn the volume down and let everything reboot.
      This is a system-wide refresh and it usually resets everything.
      I know this seems like a lot, but if you prefer, call your local Ford dealer and schedule a time to come in have them do the refresh.
      And remember, completely power down your iPhone about once a week (or more).
      Avoid plugging your iPhone into the USB port for extended periods. Also, don’t leave it plugged in (or an iPod plugged in via USB port) and turn the vehicle off. And then, don’t restart the vehicle with the iPhone (iPod) still plugged into the USB port. This causes a chance of problems with the Sync system booting up properly.

  7. 2013 Boss 302.

    Ford Sync DOES NOT WORK with ANY iPod or iPhone via USB and works poorly over Bluetooth. “Unsupported Device”. REALLY? Ford never heard of the iPod?? I have tried my iPod Shuffle, my iPod Nano (old and new versions) and an iPhone. Nothing works.

    The Ford Sync sound system is the worst garbage I have experienced in a car in my life. How can Ford possibly ship USB systems that are not compatible with the #1 personal devices on the market (iPod, etc). The sound quality is bad enough, but the connectivity issues make it nearly worthless.

    And the problems get worse if you use Android phones, by the way.

    • I’m sorry you’re having problems…. you see, when I do a presentation I show people how to use the system. I use it EVERYDAY… iPods, iPads, iPhones, Bluetooth, USB… The system works GREAT.
      If you’re having issues, it’s because A) No one has shown you how it works, or B) You have tried to use it, but have used incorrect commands and have caused the System to work improperly, or, C) you have protected content, or iTunes Match turned on, and have created a “no play” situation, or, D) you have a corrupted Bluetooth signal which means you have to reset your system.
      I have worked with thousands of iPhone users and hundreds of Android users and I haven’t found a music issue that can’t be fixed. And, with a Mustang you do have a honking sound system….
      Please visit for more assistance, of if you are ever in northeastern Oklahoma, please come by and I’ll take the time to show you how to get the most out of it.

  8. I downloaded IOS7.2 and have the 2011 Ford expedition. Everything now works EXCEPT voice actuated calls. Even though the phone book shows up on SYNC the voice message is that the person is not available in the phonebook. This happens with any name shown in the phonebook. When a call comes in the name shows up on the screen and I can ‘dial’ a number and the name shows up. What am I missing?

    • You may need to open the hood and pull the black battery cable clamp for about five minutes.
      While this is going on, be sure to power down your iPhone and reboot it.
      Re-tighten the black battery cable clamp. Close the hood and restart the vehicle. Wait at least a minute or two…
      Then try the Voice button to make a call…
      If this did not work, then delete your iPhone from the Sync system. Delete Sync from your iPhone…
      Turn off the vehicle, restart it…
      Now pair the phone again. Be sure to push OK when the question comes up asking “Download Phonebook.” Push OK again and after the download everything should be back to normal..

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