Receiving iPhone text messages with Ford Sync

Go to your Bluetooth Settings on your iPhone and tap the little blue circle with the "i" to get to the Show Notifications screen.

Go to your Bluetooth Settings on your iPhone. Tap the little blue circle with the “i” to get to the Show Notifications screen. See this story for more information.

Vincent Hennigan
Ford Sync Specialist

This article, hopefully, will offer some tips on receiving iPhone text messages with the Ford Sync system.

Some iPhone users expect the Sync system to send and receive text messages. However, the Ford system, and many other Bluetooth systems offered by manufacturers, don’t always do these tasks.

Apple does not conform to Bluetooth MAP requirements. MAP is a protocol (Message Access Protocol) designed by Bluetooth SIG and not by Apple.  Due to this lack of protocol compliance, you cannot send text messages and you cannot see older text messages that are in your history. What you can see is new text messages that you’ve received after the phone initially pairs to the vehicle each and every time you get in and start up the vehicle.

You see, the Ford Sync system cannot access the text messages in your iPhone, so it can’t read them back to you.

Solution: Once you have paired your iPhone to your vehicle.

Go to your phone’s Settings Folder

Go to the Bluetooth Menu

Find that tab that shows “Sync    Connected” and…

Tap the little blue circle with the (i) 

A screen appears, tap the switch to turn on “Show Notifications

The “Sync Contacts”  switch should already be on.

You should turn off the vehicle and completely power down (by opening and closing a door) then starting the vehicle again. to allow the change to be set.

 

Please be sure that you are running the most recent iPhone iOS software for your phone. And remember, you need to completely power down and restart (reboot) your iPhone at least once a week before getting into your vehicle and starting it up.

 

 

To send a text message with your iPhone:

Push, and hold the “Home” button – the big button on the lower face of your iPhone.

Siri, will come on your vehicle speakers.

Say, “Send text message.”

Siri will ask you to whom (or what number) you want to text.

Then speaker your message, Siri will ask you when you are ready to send.

To receive a text message:

Press the Home button on your iPhone.

Ask Siri to, “Read Text messages.”

Siri will read any new messages to you.

Remember, please drive safely. The traditional way to send and receive text messages through the Sync system is a process for certain Android-based phones.

 

For more information, visit support.ford.com  contact Ford’s in-vehicle technology team at 1-800-392-3673.

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59 thoughts on “Receiving iPhone text messages with Ford Sync

  1. I AM ABLE TO USE MY BLUETOOTH AS FAR AS RECEIVING AND SENDING TELEPHONE CALLS BUT WHEN I RECEIVE TEXT MESSAGES I CANNOT HEAR ANYTYPE OF NOTIFICATION THAT ONE HAS CAME IN. MY VEHICLE DOES NOT HAVE THE SCREEN FOR NOTIFICATION. I JUST NEVER KNOW WHEN A MESSAGE COMES IN.

    • You didn’t mention your phone, the operating system, the year of vehicle, the make, the model, or type of Sync system… but from what you’ve said… the older basic Sync systems (especially before MyFord or MyFord Touch) really were not set up for Text Message notification (especially for the iPhone). Have you got any sounds set on your iPhone for incoming texts, Facebook posts and so on?

      • I have a new ford (2014) with the basic Sync and an IPhone 4 and I have a similar problem. I am able to use Bluetooth to read my text to me but it doesn’t notify me that a text has come in in anyway.

        • I’m sorry… but it seems that with every Apple iOS update there is something that becomes “undone” while something else is fixed. I have a 5S, but I used to have a 4. My iPhone 4 never gave any e-mail notifications. I saw a forum somewhere that suggested you could go the Settings folder: Bluetooth: go to the tab that says “SYNC” and tap the blue circle with the “i” in it: then you could “turn on” the “Show Notifications” switch.
          Why don’t you see if that will work for you? There are no settings in the basic Sync system to adjust that I am aware of…

        • NOT REVELANT TO YOUR QUESTION BUT THOUGHT THIS MAY HELP WITH OTHER ISSUES. I JUST UPGRADED FROM THE IPHONE 4S AFTER LEARNING THAT APPLE WILL NO LONGER SEND UPDATES TO IT.

          • Like all computer systems, at some point they are no longer supported for software… best of luck with your new phone!

  2. I have a 2013 Ford Focus ST with My Touch and the most recent update. I have an iPhone 5S with iOS 7.1. I have yet to get any sort of text to speech to work. I have done the steps as described in the article. Suggestions please.

    • I’m assuming you have the MyFord Touch system versus the MyFord…
      Have you go to the Phone corner, to Setting, to Bluetooth devices, deleted your iPhone, then gone to your iPhone and deleted Sync from the iPhone.?
      Then power down the iPhone completely for about 5 minutes.
      At this time, turn off the Focus. Open the door to completely power down the vehicle.
      Start up the phone and let is completely come back up.
      Turn on the Focus and let it run for at least three minutes before Pairing the phone again.
      If you are not familiar with this pairing process then see this video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csgciGs51Ig
      Be sure to tell the system to turn on 911 Assist and download the phonebook.
      After this is complete, then use your Voice button (just below the steering on the right side) to access Sync.
      After it says “Sync, state your command,” Then say “Phone.” Speak towards the upper center of the vehicle, just above the mirror.
      After it responds, you can say, “Call + (Contact first and last name and device.” For example, “Call John Smith on Cell.”
      Things should be working….

  3. I just upgraded to an ipnone5s and paired it with my 2012 ford escape everything works except the text messages what do I do

    • I’m not sure which phone you had before the iPhone 5s, but Apple phones have never worked with Microsoft Sync system/s the way Microsoft planned… some iPhones will have a notification of incoming text messages — but most don’t. However, the iPhone does have Siri. When you are driving, if you can push and hold down the Home button on the lower front center of your phone for a few seconds you will hear the Siri tone come across your vehicle’s sound system. Then you can say “Read Text Messages.” Siri will read all unread incoming texts. If you say, “Send Text Message.” Siri will guide you through the process just say to whom and then tell her what you wish to say and she will repeat it back to you and ask for approval. You can’t get this kind of service on the Microsoft-based Sync system. When you are done with Siri, press and hold the Phone icon on your steering wheel to close her out.

  4. I have a 2012 F150 Supercrew FX4 w/o Nav. I had a HTC Radar phone paired with my SYNC and when I received a text message the voice would say that I could “Read or Ignore” and if I said “Read” it would read the message to me. (this was ALL hands free by virtue of just speaking a reply) Now I have upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy 5s and while I have gotten it all to sync up, when I receive a text message it does not ask me to “Read or Ignore” therefore I have to actually fumble thru the display, find it to get it to read it. What happened to that hands free “Read or Ignore” that I had become so of? Thanks

    • The message protocol that worked well with the HTC Radar, is the same, but your phone has changed. In fact, Samsung reliability in this area is all over the map. It depends if the device was made in Indonesia or China or elsewhere and it depends on the software version your operating system is…I’m not sure if there are additional tweaks you could make in your phone’s Settings to assist in more easily read (and sent) messages…
      And, did you delete the HTC phone from the vehicle’s System Settings?

      • Yes, thanks, I completely removed the HTC. I had the common “Unsupported” display when I went to turn “ON” messages, I did the turn “ON” thing mentioned in other threads and got it to accept them, but now they (texts) are numbered and saved. My other phone like I said would stop the music playing and ask if I wanted to “Read It or Ignore” when a text came in. This phone stops the music but I have to actively scroll to that particular text in a numbered list and get it to read it aloud. Thanks Again

      • I am having exactly the same issue. I just upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S8. Any suggestions? It is hard to believe it is Samsung as I tried to use an Android HTC and it didn’t work either. My boyfriend has a Samsung flip phone and his works just fine.

        • You mention things not working with an HTC… I’ve worked with dozens of people who have connection and other issues with Sync… the phones (I believe) are listed on the Sync website as sometimes not being able to interface well with Sync. And, I have seen many new Samsung phones that didn’t work well with Sync… until the user reviewed the way they were using Sync controls… Sometimes Samsung users are trying to use their phones to “control” Sync… please see the owner.ford.com website for a library of videos on how to best use the Sync system.

  5. I have the same issue with not getting an audible alert for a Text Message (It does show “Message Received” on the screen). I could however Touch the Voice Button and say “Listen to Text Message” and Sync would read the Text Message to me. I discovered that if I do not have my radio on I will get an audible alert for Text Messages. The phone alerts work with the radio on, but not Text Message alerts.

  6. I have a 2013 Lincoln MKX and a new iPhone 6. I have followed the instructions and the messaging/text feature is working. It only receives messages, notifies me and reads them. However, I am unable to reply or send text message. I have tried and it fails to send. Vehicle was in “P” (parked) when I tried. It allows me to compose message but fails to send.

    Thanks.

    • I am assuming that you are using the Sync messaging process… I haven’t tried this yet with an iPhone 6 in the Lincoln line-up. Have you tried to send and receive messages via Siri? Use the Home button on your iPhone, press it, listen for the Siri tone, then state “Send Text Message.” Siri (though the Sync system) will respond, “To whom do you want to send a message?” Give her a contact name and she will prompt you on what you want to say, she will repeat it to you and ask for approval to send. I will try to line up a Lincoln to test what’s been happening to you….

      • Thanks, Vincent. I does work with Siri (sending and receiving text). Sending text messages using my last device (iPhone 5) also failed when using MyTouch.
        Again, it allowed me to send or reply to text messages but once I pressed SEND, system would pause for a couple seconds and then return error message indicating that message failed to send. Thanks.

  7. I also paired MyLincoln Touch with a loaner phone (Samsung S4). The same result. Notifies me when a text comes in and can read the text. Will not send text (fails) with Samsung S4. Problem is not unique to iPhone. I have asked a few friend with late model Fords with MyTouch. No one can send out a text using most popular/common smartphones. Sending also fails.

  8. I have a 2009 Ford Edge–loaded -and- a Motorola Droid RAZR–running Android Version 4.1.2–lost the text to speech a couple of years ago—

    Is there a way to get it back ( step by step Please)–Thank You Very Much in advance

    • Please refer tot he “Hard Reboot” article elsewhere in this blog…
      Click this link
      it’s a way to reset things system-wide. However, I think that the RAZR operating system has been updated to the point that it no longer supports the old messaging capability. The 2009 Sync system doesn’t have the flexibility of the newer MyFord Touch and MyFord systems… your probably already have the most current software for your Sync system.
      Have you tried to speak to someone at the Ford Customer Service hotline? Try calling 800-392-3673.

    • Since iPhone has never met the messaging access protocol (MAP) standards set by Microsoft for the Sync system (especially on Sync models such as the basic systems).. you may never completely have message notifications. I’ve noticed that depending on the software version of iOS on your iPhone, the message notification can vary by carrier and by market…
      So, it’s not really an issue caused by Sync… so the issue has to be resolved by iPhone and I’m not sure if it will ever be universally addressed across all iPhone platforms.

  9. Okay, I have a 2013 Mustang with the navigation screen/sync system. My phone is an iPhone 5s, with the 8.1.2 version operating system.

    The phone is paired to the car, and the car easily receives the text alert, and the read back is good. But every time I try to reply, I get a failure message.

    Does anyone have a solution that does not entail Siri (I just want to use the canned sync replies)?

    • As I’ve said before… Apple is very protective of their operating systems and they have chosen not to conform to the messaging protocols set by Microsoft in the development of the Sync system. I would consider yourself lucky to actually get the system to read you back texts. The Sync system allows the text messaging with most Android smartphones…
      Otherwise, pushing the Home button on the front lower screen of the Apple phone (iPhone 4S and newer) will summon Siri. Her voice will be heard over the Sync system, then you can say “Send text message.” She will respond and ask, to whom or what number you want to send to. Then she will ask what message you want to send… Tell her and OK the text (she will read it back to you)…
      Until the release of the Blackberry QNX-based Sync system (coming out in 2016 models later this year)… I don’t think there will be a good “fit” with the iPhone and Sync… more on this as the new Sync system is reformatted. And, by the way, I don’t think they’ll be a way to made the Sync systems in existing vehicles “backwards compatible” with the new QNX-based systems…

  10. Follow-up: Okay, while not an eloquent solution, the Siri option to respond and/or send does work. So Sync will still receive, display (if not moving) and read-back the incoming message, and using Siri via the iPhone will allow me to send a message, and Siri does come through the car stereo with no problem, and appears to be using the Sync microphone, but I only assume that because I do not know how sensitive the iPhone microphone is…

    On another issue, Vince: Is it possible to remove the speed restrictions? I hate this Nanny attitude that prevents an address from being input into the navigation system, even though there is a passenger sitting on the seat (and the car knows this based upon the airbag light). And since the passenger is Japanese, her accent makes talking to Sync an impossibility, and she is unable to input an address that she received via text on her phone. Very, very irritating!!!

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    • One of the main tenets of Apple is that they want to have “proprietary” control over a user’s contacts, music, texts, photos, videos, usage history, etc.
      It seems there is an update to the iOS about every three weeks and little by little a user’s control ebbs away…

  12. I couldn’t get my my ford touch to read texts from my new iPhone 6 plus but my iPhone 5 worked! I followed your instructions and now it works perfectly! Thanks, great job!

    Mike

  13. basic Sync version 2015 Ford Escape, IPhone 6 plus, How can I get my sync to respond to incoming text? Sync is very hard to work… so far not crazy about it.

    • Often I see folks having “issues” with Sync… and in some cases, they are trying to use Sync as if it were operated like an iPhone. They simply don’t share the same touch sensitivity or even the Voice commands… iPhones and the iOS you use on them are the biggest factor in how Sync responds to incoming texts. You see, the Sync system was designed to notify drivers of incoming texts on an iPhone – however, some iPhone users do receive a tone and an envelope icon on the console/dash screen.
      Ford’s purpose was to create a safer driving environment without prompts that could take a driver’s attention away from the road…

  14. I have a 2010 Ford fusion sport. My current phone does not support the text message feature. I am looking to get a new phone and am trying to figure out which one would be best. I don’t like Iphones and much prefer the android but whatever I need to get in order for the full sync to work on my car is my main goal. I am looking at the new HTC or new Galaxy. Any other phone suggestions that? And will the new phones still be supported by my 2010 sync version? I don’t show due for an update with sync as far as I can tell.

    • The issue isn’t Sync supporting your phone… you see all phones are supposed to be built to comply to Sync standards.
      Samsung phones are the most inconsistent in the way they work with Sync… but if you have to choose between the two you listed, I’d go with a Galaxy 4S or newer model.
      Let your phone store know that you plan on using it with Ford Sync – they may have a suggestion or two of their own
      ANd, yes, I don’t believe the 2010 Ford Fusion has had a software update. It’s a basic system and should be working fine.

  15. I have a 2015 Ford Escape and an iPhone 5s. I finally figured out how to hear incoming text messages but when I go to send one, it keeps saying “sending error” after it asks me if I want to send the message. What am I doing wrong, how can I fix this?

    • I need a little more to go on here…
      What kind of Sync system do you have?
      How are you listening to your text messages?
      How (what process) do you use to send your texts?

      • I’ve been listening through sync but when I go to try and send one by like choosing one of the preset messages, it’ll ask me who I want to send it to, I’ll get that set and then it will ask me if I want to send the message, I’ll say yes but then it comes back saying “sending error”. I’m only able to send any kind of message by using my iPhone button and using Siri. As far as what kind of sync system, I’m not sure. I have a 2015 Ford Escape so whatever it comes with.

        • The Escape has the MyFord Touch (touch screen) and the MyFord system (has an LED readout at center of dash).
          I’m not sure if you knew, but the iPhone does not comply with Sync standards and so you can’t send or receive text messages through Sync.
          You can only push the Home button (the large button at the lower center of the iPhone screen). Push and hold until you hear Siri come over your Escape’s sound system.
          To send, say “Send text message.” Siri will ask to whom, and then either say something like “Jim Smith on cell” or his number 1-555-555-1212.
          Siri will reply, “What do you want to send?”
          Say you message.
          She will repeat it back to you, if OK, then say Yes, or OK to send.
          To receive a message, push and hold the Home button to access Siri.
          When prompted, say “Read text messages.”
          And she will read them to you.
          In both cases, when you are finished, Press and hold the Phone icon on your steering wheel.
          The Sync text message system was developed for Android phones.
          In future models of Fords (with the Sync 3 system) the iPhone will probably be almost fully integrated into the system commands.

          • I do not have the touch screen. So you’re saying then that I cannot arrow down and choose a preset message and have it be sent without it coming back saying “sending error”?

          • That’s correct. The Sync message capability is limited to phones that comply with the protocol, at present that is just Android-based phones.

    • I think the only way you can use this is to pair your iPhone and when you want to send or receive a text, push the “home” button on your iPhone and when Siri answers, make the statement “Send text message” or “Rear text message.” When finished, press and hold the phone icon on the steering wheel for a few months to hang up the connection.
      Sync was not set up to send or receive texts with an iPhone.

  16. I have a 2015 Ford F150 and Iphone 6..When I am in the truck i do not getting an audible notification when I receive a text. I get the visual notification on my phone but I do not get the audible sounds. Any help would be appreciated.

    • I’m not sure if the Sync system was ever set-up to send audible text alerts to an iPhone. Yes, I know that with some phone models and some older Apple iOS that some users could receive text alerts… but check with your Sync system settings to if texts alerts have been “OK.”

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  18. I have a 2015 F-150 with Sync and My Ford Touch. When attempting to send a text message it states on the screen in the upper left corner “sending message”. Thats it. Message stays on the screen until you shut off the vehicle. Message never gets sent. Cannot receive text either. I have a I Phone 6 with the latest operating system. Need of help. I have check the receive notification button and tried all the resets. Thanks…

    • I’m not sure the Sync MyFord Touch system was ever built to send and receive messages in the way you thought they should…
      Please see this page for more info:
      http://owner.ford.com/how-tos/sync-technology/myford-touch/phone/how-to-listen-to-and-reply-to-text-messages-with-sync.html
      You see, the MyFord Touch system was only meant to offer “pre made” standard reply messages to aid a driver, but (hopefully) distract them so much that they would cause an accident.
      I have an iPhone, and what I do is press the “Home” button on the center of the phone’s screen for a few seconds. This activates Siri, then you can tell her to “Send Text Message.” She’ll ask to whom you want to send and what you want to say, and then you tell it’s OK to send. She’ll take it from there…

  19. I have an iPhone 6 with My Ford Basic Sync (I assume since I don’t have Touch), when I go to turn on Message Notifications it says not supported, also on my iPhone when I press the i next to Sync it doesn’t show the “Show Text Notifications” button it does on our more expensive Ford. The Ford I’m having problems with is an 2013 Ford Fusion, any tips or advice appreciated, would like to be hands free to receive texts.

    • I’m sorry, but Ford never designed your Sync system to handle text notifications (except for a few Android phones). Ford is well aware that distracted driving can cause dangerous situations and possible accidents.
      That being said, yes, some other models might have pushed notifications that a text had come in since you turned on the vehicle and the phone connected…
      And, the new Sync 3 systems (available now in several Ford models) does connect directly to iPhones…
      The only way you can “kind of” use this system is to push the Home button on the face of your iPhone for several seconds… after a tone, you’ll be able to speak to Siri through your Sync system. You can ask her to read text messages, and use your voice to send texts… then when you are finished, just hang up using the steering wheel controls… however, you won’t be receiving any notifications on new incoming texts…

  20. I have the new iPhone 7 plus, and I can’t seem to get messages, I did the door thing because in the past I had to do this with all my new phones. Is the new apple software update compatible with Ford touch sync to receive messages?

    • Thanks for the question… Apple’s Car Play, the app to unleash your iPhone, is currently only working with the Sync 3 system. You didn’t mention which year and type of vehicle or the Sync system you have… but it sounds like you’ll eventually have to “upgrade” to a Ford that’s equipped with the Sync 3 Touch system.

  21. I have a 2017 ford fusion and my iphone 6 is connected and I can make and receive calls, however I don’t get a text notification through my system. The message on the screen says that it doesn’t have access to my text messaging. When I look in my Bluetooth on my setting on my phone, it shows “Ford Fusion” connected and Sync is listed under that, but not connected? I should only be connected to one, correct?

    • The issue of text notifications on all incoming texts (after the vehicles has been started) has been a concern for many since the introduction of smartphones and in-vehicle bluetooth communication. You didn’t say if you have the MyFord Touch system – but if you do, that system was never set up to send text notifications to drivers. The Sync 3 is app-based, so visit support.ford.com to see your phone’s connection to Sync as it pertains to text messages.

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