Sync Workshop: On using the new iPhone 5, iOS 6 and the Ford Sync system

Some more things to know when using your iPhone with the Ford Sync system after upgrading to a new iPhone or the Apple OS software.

By Vincent Hennigan,
Ford Sync Specialist

Anytime Apple updates its software, or makes a change to their phones, there’s bound to be a few million people trying to find out what Apps and other things will work with the changes.

So far the biggest issues really haven’t been with the Ford Sync adapting to Apple’s upgrades… it’s been the customer learning how to use the new Apple system.

You may have an iPhone 3GS, a 4 or 4S and you may have updated to the Apple iOS version 6.0 operating system. The new iPhone 5 will come with the Apple iOS 6.0 already installed. You will want to do a “clean pairing” with your Sync system if you have upgraded the software or bought the new iPhone 5. This means you will need to clear Sync off of your phone’s Bluetooth devices and remove your phone from the Sync System Settings. Follow the instructions below…

Go to the “Phone Menu” on the dashboard of your Ford vehicle.

With a Sync system with the blue LED readout on the center console, just push the “Phone” icon on your steering wheel. The words “Phone Menu” will appear and in a few seconds it will change to “Phone Redial.” then turn the right-side tuning knob until you see the words “Sync Settings” then push the OK button in the center of the tuning knob (or on your steering wheel. Go to the Phone Menu and go to Bluetooth Devices and delete the old phone from your list of BT Devices. Then select Add Devices, and push OK to begin “Pairing a Phone.” A 6-digit PIN number will be displayed.

If you have a touch screen navigation system, push the Phone hard button to the side of the touch screen, then go to the Settings button, it will take you to the screen for adding or deleting Bluetooth devices. Select the button with your old phone’s name. Touch it, and then push the button on the right that says “Delete Phone.” Then you can touch the button that says “Add Device.” Push OK to begin “Pairing a Phone.” A 6-digit PIN number will be displayed.

If you have a MyFord Touch system, push the upper left corner to access the phone menu, then go to the lowest button on the left side of the screen to access Settings, then on the next screen select “Bluetooth” and then another screen will show the list of Bluetooth devices. Touch the button with your old phone’s name, then touch Delete. Then touch the “Add Device” button. Push OK to begin “Pairing a Phone.” A 6-digit PIN number will be displayed.

Go to your iPhone, to the Settings Folder and then select the “Bluetooth” tab (it should be about three down from the top). Please note, the Bluetooth tab used to be found inside the General folder but it’s out on its own now. Then be sure your Bluetooth switch is toggled to the “On” position. Your iPhone will begin “searching for devices.” In a moment your phone will first see a “Handsfree” device and then it will turn into “Sync.” Push the Sync button on your phone and within a moment or two a second screen will appear. Look towards your dashboard for the 6-digit PIN. Enter that into your iPhone and push the blue button on the screen that says “Pair.”

When your Sync system asks you to enable 911 Assist, then push OK. Push OK to set your phone as the Primary Phone. When the Sync system prompts you to push OK to Download Phone Book, then push OK. This will take a few moments but after that is done then you are “paired” to the new iPhone.

Many people want to know if Ford’s Sync has expanded its voice-to-text recognition with the new Apple iPhone and operating system. Apple is still refusing to adhere to the MAP engineering code that Microsoft requires. Some HTC phones, some Samsung’s, some Blackberry’s and a few Motorola’s work with the Microsoft Sync voice-to-text system – Apple does not. If you have an iPhone 4S or the new 5, then don’t worry. When the vehicle is on, and your phone is paired, then just push the “Home” button on your iPhone for a few seconds. You will hear a tone come through your vehicle speakers. Siri will be active and listening. Just make the statement, “Read text messages.” She will read your current, unread texts. You can reply “Send text message” and she will ask you who you want to send to and what do you want to say. Press and hold down the phone icon on your steering wheel to hang up when you are done speaking with Siri. The Ford text messaging system does not allow you to send custom messages while driving. So the Sync/iPhone text messaging system offers the most flexibility.

And, if you push the voice button on the steering wheel, and say “Bluetooth Audio” then Sync will counter back, “Bluetooth Audio, state your command.” Then say “Play,” “Play All,” or “Shuffle.” Sync will go to your Music stored on your iPhone and begin playing. Bluetooth music is not set up to be “called out.” If you plug your iPhone into the USB port and say “USB” and then when it counters back to you, say, “Play.” The Sync system may initially take a few minutes to “read and index” your music. Try the command again and say “Play” and it will begin playing music from your phone. You will see the Sync system actually show the Artist Name and Song Title. You can push the voice button and call out “Play (Artist Name)” or “Play Song “Song Title.” You must ask for the full and complete song title or artist name so the system can find the play the correct song.

Not every Ford vehicle is set up to accept voice commands for accessing and playing phone Apps such as Pandora, Stitcher or iHeartRadio. Refer to the website for more details.  Please note, if you have upgraded your iPhone OS software, you will probably need to upgrade your Apps to work with the new Apple software.

Good luck and happy driving!

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10 thoughts on “Sync Workshop: On using the new iPhone 5, iOS 6 and the Ford Sync system

  1. I have been having issues with Myford touch since day 1. I purchased my 2013 Explorer on 9-1-12. At that time I had an HTC Droid Incredible. Since then I changed to an Iphone5. The issue is that when I try to get directions, every time I get “call disconnected” when it is sending the directions. Have been to the dealer 3 times about this. this issue happened with BOTH phones. Below is what a Ford Technician told the dealer today.
    “We are aware of some concerns they have seen with IOS 6.0.0 Apple firmware. And that no further service fix may be available for this customer device induced concern. The customer may need to concider an alternative device.”
    Does this not meen that all Iphone5’s, as well as all Iphones that have upgraded to the IOS 6.0 will not work with Myford touch? Is there a fix planned?

    • Thanks for your update… the MyFord Touch and the Sync system are both “bring your own device” systems. This means that sometimes your device may have its own foibles and bugs. Apple has not complied with Microsoft’s engineering protocols on a few fronts. This means Apple may never be able to work with Sync’s text-to-voice features. However, Apple has seen how great Siri can work with Sync and I think they’re trying to pull together their own alternative to Sync and/or MyFord Touch. On the topic of iOS 6.0… Apple is aware that there are glitches. I would suspect that within a month or so there will be upgrades to the Apple OS.I doubt Ford’s engineers will create a “fix” if the problems lie in the Apple software developers camp.
      However, let me ask… did you use the touch screen to enter the directions? Did you use the voice command for “Destination Street Address” to get the information? Do you have Sync Destinations on your iPhone? Have you tried to use Sync Services to set directions (through your phone or from a computer)?
      Let me know… There might be another solution to your issue.

  2. The issue is that when I verbally go to services and then ask for directions, the system says getting location, then moves on to sending directions. This is where the system takes a long time and then, every time says call disconnected. After a system, reset or battery disconnect the system works fine for about 2 days. Then this issue shows up again. This happened with Both the Droid and iPhone. That is why I do not believe that this is a phone issue. I would think that if it were phone related it would never work.

    Answering your questions.
    Did you use the touch screen to enter the directions?
    No. the system is not the navigation version so there is no option to type in the address.
    Did you use the voice command for “Destination Street Address” to get the information?
    Yes. This is the only way to get directions with this system.
    Do you have Sync Destinations on your iPhone?
    I do not, Is this an APP or just addresses?
    Have you tried to use Sync Services to set directions (through your phone or from a computer)?
    Yes. I have entered both my home and work addresses through the web site. I have tried telling the system to get directions home and well as telling it the city and address. Same results.

    Questions to you.
    Why did Ford not disclose this to me when I purchased the vehicle? I may not have purchased this vehicle if it was known. Is Ford telling all of it’s current and prospective customers that their system may not ever be compatible with their device?

    Thanks for the help.

    • With the Sync Services navigation system you can only get the most benefit by opening a SyncMyRide account (at It is set up to work with one active phone number, but through the account settings you can have additional phones, but you must go this website to designate which phone is the one that will be used for Sync Services. At the Sync Services tab within you can add up to 25 Saved Points. (You can add or delete these as needed). Then, when you push the Voice button and say Services. The system will say “Connecting.” The voice you here from your system will change. An automated voice comes on and will ask “Which Service do you want?” Let’s say you say, “Directions Home.” If you have gone to your SyncMyRide site and put in your “Home” point (you tag the location with a word of your choice), then the Sync Services knows to go find that location. In as few moments (it could take a minute…) the Sync System will GPS locate where you are, and download turn-by-turn coordinates to your dashboard. While this download process is working you cannot access or use your phone. When it is finished, the System will say “Download Complete, you may now use your phone.”

      Here are some videos, copy and paste the URLs into your web browser to open and watch these:

      Watch this video (this is the first MyFord Touch system, but it is a good overview, the reference to Sync Services is about 3 minutes in)
      This video also shows using the Services, it also get into that at about 3 minutes in
      Here is a Ford video on Sync Services…
      Sync Destinations is a fee App and it works together with your vehicle system and with the SyncMyRide website… it allows you to input new destinations from the web to your vehicle (so you could plan a trip before you get in your vehicle).
      See this video for more info

      All of this information is available within the book set which comes with your vehicle or by accessing

      Also, Bluetooth is a way for computer devices to communicate wirelessly. It uses a megahertz bandwidth that can (and is) affected by power surges, radio signals, and more. Even if you had stationery equipment (like a home router and a small computer network in your house) it can lose signal and may need to be “re-booted” or recalibrated. Your vehicle has similar equipment and deals with a multitude of cellphones, cell phone carriers, phone signals, and it rolls through a variety of cell phone signals coming form a variety of towers — all the while its in a vehicle that’s bouncing down the road in a variety of temperature conditions, doing multiple functions coming from commands coming form a variety of inputs.

      I wish I knew the folks at your dealership, I would love to be able to get with them on a plan to help you use and operate your system better. I appreciate you sticking with this… the biggest challenge for a Ford dealer is getting its salespeople and service technicians to know and understand how a customer is needing assistance and then being able to show and educate the customer on how to use the systems.

  3. Let me add the following information. When I took the vehicle into the dealer the first time, they disconnected the battery and the system worked fine for a couple of days. About a week later, I performed a master reset of the system and it worked fine for a couple days. Today (9-13-12) I disconnected the battery and as of right now the system is working perfectly. I don’t understand how Ford can say that the problem is the phone. If the phone was the problem, it would NEVER work.

    I honestly beleive that the problem lies with MyFord Touch.

    Hope this info helps.

  4. WOW. So now it is no longer the phones issue. It is the “customers” fault.
    I guess when all else fails blame someone else.
    Typical Ford response.
    Thanks for the help.

    • Wait a minute… I can understand you are frustrated but timeout… I wasn’t blaming you. I was trying to say that your Ford salesperson, service technician and others needed to take time with you to show you how the system works. And, if you’re having an issue, try and find a solution. I work at a Ford dealer and I get people from all over our area (and even around the world) who are trying to find solutions… and you know, sometimes, I’m just not there to see what the problem is and for me to understand what is happening. As you probably know, the iPhone 5 (in some cases) does have issues. Throw that into a complex system and not know how it is used… or even seeing/hearing what the problem is… this is a challenge. I just want to help. Have you contacted Ford’s In-Vehicle Technology Customer Support at 800-392-3673?

  5. Ok. I was shown by the dealers specialist how to use the system. I do not believe that is the issue. Everything on the system works other than downloading the directions to my vehicle. That even works for about 2 days after the whole sytem is reset, either by battery disconnect or master reset. I have been in contact with other owners and out of 4, I am the only one with any issues with an iPhone5 or ios 6 (other than text and caller images which I could care less about both).
    I understand you are trying to help and as you can tell I am frustrated with this whole thing. I do not understand why everyone ignors that fact that it works for a while then stops, or that I had the same issues before getting the iPhone5 (HTC Incredible). I just do not believe it is the phone. Too many things point toward the system.
    Does the version with Nav also use the phone to get it’s directions?

  6. I am also having issues with iOs6. My ipod touch worked fine prior to the iOs6 update. After it upgraded, when connected via the usb port, it will no longer play music. The disply shows incompatible device and then just say indexing. I let it sit for 2 hours just to make sure see if it was indexing, but after 2 hours I figured it wasnt really doing anything. I have tried a master reset, didnt work. I have tried unplugging and re-plugging back in, didn’t help. I have tried re-running the “SYNC My iTunes” program, didnt help. Of course Apple doesnt let you down grade back to iOs 5 once the upgrade is done. So here I am with a 2013 Mustang GT I have only had for a month and features are already obsolete. I don’t see Ford or Apple taking responsibility for this any time soon. Thanks Ford. Think your dealers should be bringing this problem to light when selling cars. (Doubt that will happen either)

    • I understand your frustration, however, the bigger issue is adapting to the changes….
      What Generation of iPod do you have (is it also compatible as a Bluetooth device, could this confusing your media source)?
      Have you consulted your Owner’s Manual (Sync book) to see how to access your device from the media menu?
      Have you seen this video?
      What Voice commands are you using?
      Or, are you using the Hard button on your radio unit to access the iPod?
      The Ford system is a “bring your device” platform. They provide the platform, you’re proving the device. If you’re upgrading your system this shouldn’t have (or require) a change on your Sync system. Your Mustang and its features are not obsolete — the challenge is finding out how to get it to work for you. Your dealer should be able to help.
      Ford salespeople, service technicians and Sync Specialists are helping customers as we go. The Sync system is coming into it’s sixth model year, we have had several platforms (Sync, touch screen nav with Sync, MyFord and MyFord Touch) combine that with all kinds of phone carriers and dozens of phones (with all kinds of software versions) and dozens of Mp3 players, pads, etc. It’s hard to know what the challenges will be. However, the customer is the one that uses their vehicle everyday so helping them know and understand their system is an on-going challenge. We all have to work together to make this work for everyone.

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