MyFord Touch Workshop: Transferring personal photos to the dashboard

Isn’t it about time to “personalize” your dashboard with photos of your family, your favorite vacation spot, etc.? This workshop explains how on your Ford Navigation system.

Many Ford owners with the MyFord Touch screen navigation systems aren’t aware that they can personalize their “home” screen. This is a workshop on personalizing your dashboard.

If you have the Ford touch-screen NAV system with SYNC… this would be systems in the 2010 (or newer) Fusion, Escape, F-150, F-250, F-350, Taurus, Flex, Mustang vehicles. Take your digital photos to your home computer or laptop (hopefully you have a software program such as Adobe AfterEffects, Photoshop or some other photo editing program). Take your images into a .jpg format — in some cases you can use .gif, .png or .bmp formats. Maximum file size is 1.5MB, maximum number of photos for your “dashboard library” is 32. Recommended dimensions are 800 pixels wide by 378 pixels high. Vertical photos don’t work so well – sometimes you can edit two or more vertical photos together to create one wide-format photo.

Once you have you photos edited to those parameters, transfer/copy them to a CD/R or DVD/R disk. Please note: Your PC, when you place in a recordable CD, will ask how you wish to “format” the disk (especially on Windows 7).

  1. Insert a disc into your computer’s CD or DVD drive.
  2. In the dialog box that appears, click Burn files to disc.
  3. In the Burn a disc dialog box, type a name for your new disc.
  4. Click Show formatting options, and select “Mastered.” Don’t use the “Live File System” (that’s best for music and game files).
  5. Click Next to prepare the disc.

Then take that disk to your vehicle. While parked in a driveway, turn it on. Touch the “Home” icon and bring up the “Home” screen. Push the white arrow in either corner until you see the Ford logo. Now, touch the screen on the logo and let go. The screen changes to the “Editing” function. Insert the disk into the CD player and the system will read the files. It will show the file name of the photos on the disk. Touch the name of the photo, it will show the image on the left side of the screen. Touch the “Add” button to add the file to the hard drive in the dashboard. You’ve got some editing functions (like rotating the orientation of the photo or pushing it left or right). Then when you push the “Home” button, use the white arrow buttons to scroll through the screens until you come to one of your personal photos. You can add up to 32 photos to the “library” (based on file size). When you are done, push one of the Nav system hard button, like “Radio.” You can always get back to that edit screen by pushing your finger on the screen when the logo or image is showing.

Yes, you may have favorite photos on your iPhone that you want to put on the Nav home screen. However, those files need to be transferred to your home computer through the photo software to get it into the right format. Yes, iPhones and Droid-based phones have proprietary code that prevents directly transferring images into the Nav system.

Here is a quick video that shows more about this… placing personal photos on Ford touch-screen Nav home screens. (Special thanks to Thoroughbred Ford of Kansas City for the video)

The process is similar, but different for the MyFord Touch system. This includes the Edge, the Explorer, the Fiesta and the Focus since 2011. To do this, go to the Settings button. Push Vehicle and then Display and then Edit Wallpaper. This system will go to files stored on a USB jump drive or SD-card (not from a CD-R or DVD-R). The system will slightly darken the image and it will “overlay” over the phone on the main home screen.

For more information on the MyFord Touch system, see this video.

So, isn’t it time to dress up your dashboard and make it just a little more “personal?”

By Vincent Hennigan

I work everyday as a technology consultant with vehicle owners who are wanting to get the most out of their in-vehicle technology. I am a former news reporter, graphic designer and photographer who has spent more than 8 years in the automotive industry learning about the developments and advancements. This blog is read by people who want to become more “tech savvy” while enjoying their drive time to work, home, school and play.


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19 thoughts on “MyFord Touch Workshop: Transferring personal photos to the dashboard

  1. The statement “Recommended dimensions are 800 pixels wide by 378 pixels high” is misleading, the system in our 2013 Ford Escape (updated to the latest release of Sync) will not upload a photo unless it has been edited to those exact dimensions. It was very frustrating trying to get it to upload photos until I actually edited the photo and cropped it to those exact dimensions.


    • Yes, it’s a good idea to take any photo into Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or other photo editing program to first create a “new” file of 800 by 378 pixels, then open your photo, do a Select All, and then go back to the “new” file and do a paste. Then you can transform the size of the photo or crop out unnecessary elements to get it all to fit. Save it as a .jpg and then transfer it over to a USB, and then take it to the car. Please note, some older models require the photo to be on a CD-R disc. But the USB will work for all MyFord Touch models.

  2. I have tried to upload images at the pixel size indicated, but they show up on my sync screen as tiny thumbnails. When I push the “fit to size” button they become quite blurry and distorted. Can anyone tell me what the trick is to get uploaded pictures to display properly?

    • How are you “editing” your images to the correct pixel size? Do you use a photo editing program? I have heard of folks opening a photo in a viewer file and then trying to resize to different resolution — but this “resizing” doesn’t save the file correctly.
      What resolution do you use? 72 dpi, 150? 200? or 300? If you are getting thumbnails showing on the sync system, then I don’t think they were saved at the right pixel size. That’s why “fit to size” makes them blurry.
      One time I had a customer who had “saved” and exported just the file names to a USB flash drive, he never had the full file, just a thumbnail and a name… obviously it didn’t import to the Sync system.

  3. my 2014 F-350 requires me to go to display then edit wallpaper , not the home screen method as stated in the instructions – this is extremely maddening to accomplish – I’m very frustrated that there is not a more elaborate tutorial regarding this… why offer something that is so time consuming ? Plus there’s been no real help from my dealership in solving this for me …

    • Part of the frustration is that until 2013, the Super Dutys only had the wallpaper feature available on the Sony Touch Screen Nav units — and they had a different way to set the wallpaper. Your model has the MyFord Touch screen. And, yes, to set this, you first need to go tot he Settings Screen, pick Display from the left-side menu. Then select Edit Wallpaper, then proceed through the Ad Photos section. Once a photo is downloaded (only from an appropriate file, on a USB flash drive), then when you go to the opening screen of “Add Photos” you can Select the file and Save. Now it will be on the wallpaper screen when you are at the Home screen.
      Interesting point about being a “time consuming” task… Obviously this is something you do when you are in park. Once it is set, you aren’t supposed to mess with this (to change photos) until you are at a stop and in park again.
      I understand about the support from your dealer… there is a belief that most Ford drivers and their families somehow already know a lot of this. Maybe a teenager can master this, or some “tech saavy” 20-something… speaking for the rest of us — I’m glad you found this is one of the few self-help sites out there!

    • Currently you can only put photos on the Sony navigation system with Sync (on Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles) used until about the 2013 model year. The other systems that allows display photos are the MyFord Touch or MyLincoln Touch systems (in use since 2013). Sync basic or MyFord systems cannot display photos – they use an LED display.

  4. Why is it that the images have to be wide screen orientation on the Sync home screen when it is always divided into two halves??? Any loaded images are pretty small with blank space above and below. There’s also no means to go full screen with one image, so it essentially negates the need for the widescreen image size since it always shows in a square half of the monitor. This seems counter intuitive, and makes the image function pretty pointless, unless I’m missing something. Is there a way around that?

    • As you can see from your “controls” on your screen.. you can select a full screen for your navigation map. Or, a left half (map or photo) with the right half showing equipment status (or another photo).
      Refer to this video link:
      Your version of Touch Screen Sync focused the full wide screen on the map, since it is considered more essential to drivers.
      With the release of MyFord Touch on 2012 and newer models, Ford allowed the full screen photos to display on your dashboard.

      • Thanks for the reply. I see that the nav map will go full screen and that makes perfect sense. It just seems odd that the Sync System with voice navigation divides the screen into two halves with images only displayed on either side, and yet it only allows images in a resolution designed for a full wide screen.

        I guess there’s no way to use a square image despite the image viewer window being square. Sync with voice navigation doesn’t allow a full screen image like My Ford Touch does, so it doesn’t make sense for the image resolution to be forced to widescreen aspect. Not a huge deal, but a bit of a bummer.

    • I just don’t think it will work. Even though some early code writing for the Sync system was handled by Microsoft, the later software revisions were done by Ford engineers. The Sync system seems to only work will with files that have been set up in more traditional ways… some of this software was put together in 2007 and 2008… Windows 10 and Iso files are way newer material and it probably would not be “read” or understood by Sync. Especially if you were thinking of putting a DVD into the vehicle and trying to download materials… the Sync system only takes uploads (and it has to be encoded in a very specific way) through USB.

  5. Apologies if this has been addressed but I have a question about the entire UI of the Sync system. I understand that the background can be changed by replacing a “wallpaper” file fit to dimensions required. But is there anyway to change/replace the other UI elements within the system? For instance if I were to obtain or generate button images and size them appropriately, could I change the numbers on the touch pad interface, or the menu items, etc? very interested to understand just how deeply the customization goes in this system. Ford Taurus SHO 2012 with current updates for Sync.

    • You raise a point few dare to ask about… I understand that a programmer might be able to “open up” the architecture and make changes. But that is not the intent of Ford with this product. Yes, they do special programming events quite often in Silicon Valley and Detroit to try and find ways to improve the system… but Ford shoots for standardization and uniformity that works across all platforms… I would try to work through the support staff at is you have further interest….

  6. have a fusion 2017 and the touch screen is different from my 2013 fusion. How do I put in a wallpaper on the 2017 fusion


    • The MyFord Touch and earlier Sony with Sync touch screens could accept screen shots downloaded from a USB jump drive. The Sync 3 system (which I believe your Fusion has), has a completely different system. The only thing I know you could modify is called the “splash screen.” This is the screen that appears briefly while the system boots up. For know, I think you can only modify that screen… look at in the Sync 3 section for more details.

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