Workshop: Sync and MyFord System Settings

Use this workshop to find out more about personalizing your Sync System Settings.

Use this workshop to find out more about personalizing your Sync System Settings.

By Vincent Hennigan
Sync Specialist

Every Ford Sync system – from basic to MyFord Touch – has an extensive Settings Folder. This is workshop to focus on using those commands – specifically with the basic Sync system or the MyFord system – to get the most from this communication system.

Refer to the photo above, the lower photo refers to the typical steering wheel control and the photo above it is the typical center console display. You might notice the steering wheel controls and the buttons on the center console usually have a button with an icon of a telephone handset. If your vehicle ignition is on, then, if you press this button, in a few moments the center console will display Phone Menu and then Phone Redial… use the steering wheel Double Arrow button, or the Tuning knob on the console, to move the Phone Menu topics.

The typical Settings topics are: System Settings, VHR, 911 Assist, Sync Services, Phone Settings, Text Message, Phonebook, Call History, Phone Redial and Exit Phone Menu. When you land on a title, and then press the OK button on the steering wheel control or on the console, it opens that specific menu. Once again, use the Arrows or the Tuning knob to move through the menu. The OK button either selects a topic or confirms a question that system has asked… If you ever encounter the word Return, then hit OK to return to the prior menu.

Within the System Settings folder are these topics: Bluetooth Devices or Advanced. Under Advanced there are the topics of Prompts, Language, Factory Defaults, Master Reset, Install Application, System Info and Return.

For example, if you select Prompts, then hit OK, the screen then prompts you to either turn on or turn off the verbal prompts used by the voice of the Sync system. Some users will hear the tone after they push the “Voice” button the steering wheel… they’ll see the screen display “Listening” and then they call give their vocal command (for example, “Phone,” “Call Bill Jones on cell” and the Sync system will automatically make the call. This is the way Advanced Users may want to go, but someone who isn’t familiar with the vocal commands and the pacing will be completely lost. So, you can select Prompts On or Prompts Off.

And, yes, there is a topic called “Master Reset,” but in my experience I’m not really sure if that is an effective was of resetting anything of consequence on the Sync system. Going to Factory Defaults will allow a User to clear out the preferences previously set by someone else – and this may be a more effective way to clear out some issues.

Elsewhere on the System Settings menu is the Text Message topic. Most times (especially with an iPhone), if selected, the display will show “Text Messages Not Supported.”  But with some Android devices this topic will allow you to set the way the Sync system notifies the driver that there is a new text message that has come in.

There is a topic on Phone Settings, and one of the sub-topics is Set Ringer, and yes, you can modify the way the Sync system rings depending on who is calling, or it allows you to set the volume of the Ringer.

So, it’s worth the time to sit in your drive way and while you are idling, take the time to explore the System Settings. Click on this link to see a comprehensive video on using the Ford Sync system.

Ford Sync 3 Launches in Summer 2015

Releasing first on the 2016 Fiesta and Escape models, the new Sync 3 is F-A-S-T!

Releasing first on the 2016 Fiesta and Escape models, the new Sync 3 is F-A-S-T!

Ford’s SYNC® 3 launches in the Fiesta and Escape models – available in late summer 2015 – with an all-new communications and entertainment system.

The new system, available as an option, features faster performance, conversational voice recognition, intuitive smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface.

Other new features include seamless integration of AppLink for a simple way to control smartphone apps, Siri Eyes-Free capability for Apple iPhone, software updates via Wi-Fi, and enhanced 911 Assist® for subscription-free emergency calling in the event of a significant accident.

SYNC 3 to launch in North America on 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta – on sale late summer 2015 – providing a safer way for Ford customers to connect their smartphones while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

With the debut of SYNC 3 for Escape and Fiesta, Ford is launching its newest in-car connectivity technology as an option in one of its highest-volume vehicles, Escape, and in its most affordable car, Fiesta.

SYNC 3 features all-new hardware and software, building on the capability of the industry-leading technology that launched in 2007. Ford SYNC is now in more than 12 million vehicles on the road globally. Click here to see SYNC 3 in action.

“SYNC always has been about providing a safer way for our customers to connect their smartphones in order to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Company vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Customers continue to tell us they want this technology, and they want it to be fast and easy to use – like a smartphone. SYNC 3 delivers on that request.”

Ford SYNC – the industry’s first system to widely and most affordably offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones – is becoming more capable by minimizing the number of steps needed to carry out commands. Selecting music, making a call or searching for a destination is easier than ever, thanks to SYNC 3’s simpler command structure.   Users will be able to access Siri on their iPhones directly from the steering wheel controls.

Ford was first to bring voice control to in-vehicle apps with AppLink™, and the experience is further improved with SYNC 3. AppLink™ was not available on the newer MyFord Touch system and didn’t get to be used by a lot of Ford owners.

The new SYNC 3 is an app-based program, which is a departure from the earlier Sync version. AppLink allows customers to connect their smartphone to their vehicle and control compatible apps using voice commands or buttons on the vehicle display screen.

AppLink automatically discovers smartphone apps including Spotify, Pandora, Glympse, NPR One and iHeart Auto (iHeartRadio’s automotive app), and displays each app’s unique graphics and branding. Music and news apps are automatically displayed along with other media sources – just like AM/FM or SiriusXM.

Additionally, when connected to an Apple iPhone, SYNC 3 offers seamless integration of Siri Eyes-Free capability. Drivers can seek Siri’s help by holding down SYNC’s Push to Talk steering wheel button – much as they would on an iPhone to initiate a Siri session.

SYNC 3 is optimized for hands-free use. Plus, the all-new capacitive touch screen technology offers an experience similar to a smartphone or tablet. Quicker response to touch, as well as voice commands and smartphone-like gestures including pinch-to-zoom and swipe are central to SYNC 3 – along with crisp, modern graphics.

On-screen complexity is reduced and control options used most are prioritized. The home screen features three zones – Navigation, Audio and Phone. Tile-like icons dominate, with a quick access function tray along the bottom making for a more straightforward user experience.

Phone contacts are searchable via a simple swipe of the finger to scroll through the alphabet. With One Box Search, users can look up points of interest or enter addresses in much the same way they use an Internet search engine.

As with earlier generations of the technology, SYNC 3 provides subscription-free emergency service 911 Assist®.

The customer’s Bluetooth-connected phone is used to dial 911 in the event of a significant accident – alerting first responders with vehicle location. With SYNC 3, the car relays additional information – including if airbags deploy, whether the crash is front, side, rear or rollover, and the number of safety belts detected in use – to help emergency call-takers dispatch appropriate resources to the scene.

SYNC 3 now also features the ability to update software via Wi-Fi. Once a vehicle is set up with credentials for a home Wi-Fi network accessible in a customer’s driveway or garage, it can automatically download updates. Existing Ford owners may have the “basic” Sync system, or the newer MyFord or MyFord Touch system, however those users will not be able to “upgrade” to Sync 3. This system will only be available as installed on new models. Ford plans to have the Sync 3 system available on all of its line – especially by 2017. See your Ford dealer for more details.

 

Ford introduces new Sync 3 system for some 2016 models

In 2015 Ford will bring a new, redesigned easier-to-use Sync system, and phase out the MyFord Touch system now in use.

In 2015 Ford will bring a new, redesigned easier-to-use Sync system, and phase out the MyFord Touch system now in use.

By Vincent Hennigan
Ford Sync Specialist

Ford will introduce a new communications and entertainment system called Sync 3 on some 2016 models, and more will come on line in 2017.

Sync® 3 promises to reduce on-screen complexity, offer easier-to-use voice commands and changes to the control options for users. This new approach brings the Sync system in-line with typical smartphone commands and usage features.

Additionally, the new system will drop the Microsoft partnership and move to the Blackberry QNX system. A new Texas Instruments system-on-a-chip will bring noticeably improved response and processing times.

So the promise of Sync 3 is to offer faster performance, more conversational voice recognition, a more intuitive smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface to help Ford customers connect and control their smartphone on the road.

Initial photos and videos showing the new system reveals that the new system understands more conversational voice commands and allows functionality more like a tablet or smartphone.

Ford will also offer seamless integration of AppLink™ for a simple way to control smartphone apps.

Plus they will offer the addition of Siri EyesFree capability for iPhone users.

Also you’ll be able to get over-the-air software updates using Wi-Fi – which will allows easier updates.

Finally, it will offer enhanced 911 Assist® that provides subscription-free emergency calling in the event of a significant accident.

The Ford Sync system was first introduced eight years ago – the same year the iPhone was introduced.

Ford’s new SYNC® 3 system is a communications and entertainment system that is faster, more intuitive and easier to use with enhanced response to driver commands. SYNC 3’s more conversational voice recognition technology, a more smartphone-like touch screen and easy-to-read graphics will help millions of drivers connect with their lives and control their smartphone while on the road.

The next-generation system builds on the capability of SYNC technology already in more than 10 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road globally. With the earlier versions, some users just weren’t getting the most out of the system. Many claimed the system was impossible to use, but maybe the real issue is that some users were familiar with smartphone commands and those commands didn’t create the same results on the Sync system.

“Ford is delivering an easier way for customers to stay connected,” said Raj Nair, Ford chief technical officer and group vice president, Global Product Development. “SYNC 3 is another step forward in delivering connectivity features customers most want, and they tell us this kind of technology is an important part of their decision to buy our vehicles.”

Ford took a customer-centric approach in developing SYNC 3, drawing on 22,000 customer comments and suggestions, plus insights gleaned from research clinics, market surveys and tech industry benchmarking.

Since there are multiple Microsoft-based platforms that have been offered throughout the Ford system for many years, it is unclear if the older systems could be updated. Most likely, Ford customers will have to buy a new vehicle to get the newest infotainment system.

Ford is delivering MyFord and MyFord Touch Sync system currently. With the roll out of 2016 models (later in 2015), the new Sync 3 system will be available. Look for more stories in the next few months that will focus on this new system.

Ford Sync Bluetooth Troubleshooting Tips

Ford Sync relies on a good Bluetooth connection to operate. Here are some troubleshooting tips.

Ford Sync relies on a good Bluetooth connection to operate. Here are some troubleshooting tips.

From time to time, Bluetooth signals get scrambled and this causes system problems. Here are troubleshooting tips to help solve the most common problems.

Ford Sync is not a subscription-based system.  If there is a bad connection it’s not because your subscription ran out. Basically the major issues are caused by loss of, or a corrupted, Bluetooth signal; a phone software or firmware issue; a driver’s misuse of the system; a cellphone carrier or network issue; or, rarely, a software or hardware issue with the Sync system in the vehicle.

Your phone is basically a hand-held computer and your Sync system works on a computer-based system. Both communicate with each other using a communication technology called Bluetooth. Both of these systems need to be reviewed to see where a connection issues are.

For reference, please visit support.ford.com – this website is your on-line resource for information about Sync and other Ford technology. Register your vehicle to set up your own personal, complimentary account. This is the site you would visit for future software updates.

First, completely power down your phone. Turn it off and keep it off for about five minutes. It is best to do this before you get in the vehicle and start it up. It is recommended to completely power down your phone at least once a week. Always check to see if your phone’s operating system has all of the current updates.

Once your phone has powered back up, go to the Settings on your phone to make sure the Bluetooth connection is turned on. Check your “Trusted Devices” list to see if Sync is on the list. If it shows “Sync” and “Not connected” that’s because your phone recognizes the Sync connection and is waiting for your vehicle to be turned on before it links up with the Sync system.

Go to your vehicle and start it up. Within a few minutes your Sync system will connect to your phone. On the MyFord Touch system you will see the name or the model number of the connected device displayed in the upper right corner of the center console screen. Other Sync systems will show an oval Bluetooth symbol to show that it has connected to a phone.

With your vehicle running and your phone (with Bluetooth connection on) now try to see if the Voice commands (using the steering controls) work. See this short video to be sure you are using the hands-free calling process correctly.

Sometimes the issue is how you are speaking to the Sync system, see this video for more info.

Next, if the Sync system reports back “No Phone Found” then it cannot recognize your phone and it may need to be “paired” again to the Sync system. If necessary, go to the Sync system settings and check to see which devices are “recognized.” You may need to “connect” a phone back to Sync to establish the Bluetooth connection.

Click on this video link for a short video on “clean pairing” a phone to the basic Sync system.

Click on this video link for a short video on “pairing a device to MyFord Touch.”

Here is an overview of the pairing process:

Before pairing your iPhone with SYNC, go to the Settings folder and turn Bluetooth On.

If you have an Android-based phone (Samsung Galaxy, Motorola RAZR, HTC Evo, etc.), then go to the Bluetooth Settings and turn it on. Refer to this video on pairing the Android.

With Android-based phones you may want to first delete Sync from your connected Bluetooth devices list. After you do this, completely power down your device. Turn it back on and let it power back up. Check it again to see that it has “cleared” Sync from the phone’s system. Once it is cleared, then you can re-Pair your phone to the Sync system. Here are some tips:

Before pairing your AndroidTM phone with SYNC:

Go to your phone Settings and turn Bluetooth On 

Under Bluetooth settings, choose Discoverable and Scan for Devices

Go to your vehicle, go to Add Bluetooth Device, and begin the pairing process.

Your Sync system will produce a PIN number and ask you to enter the PIN into your phone.

Once your Sync system recognizes your phone it will begin to ask questions such as “Turn on 911 Assist?” Push OK or Yes.

The Sync system will ask if you want to Download Phone Book, then push OK or Yes.

During pairing, your Android phone may notify you that SYNC wants to access your messages and phonebook. Choose Always Allow/Connect and check “Yes”.

Now, try to use the steering wheel controls to see if the system is working properly.

If the Sync system is still not working, and if your MyFord Touch screen isn’t displaying properly, then you need to review this video to do a “Master Reset.”

If the Sync system is still not working, then you can try this “hard reboot” process. Park your vehicle. Turn it off and remove the key from the ignition. Open the hood. Locate the car battery. Please be careful, do not touch both the positive and negative poles at the same time. Do not drop a metal tool across both of the poles. These things could result in a electric shock. So please be careful. Use the correct-sized wrench (could be an 8 or 10 mm), a socket wrench, or an adjustable wrench to loosen the black battery cable clamp. This is the battery pole marked with the “-“ (negative) sign. Just a few turns of the nut should loosen the cable clamp. Twist and pull the entire battery cable clamp off of the battery and keep it off for about five minutes. Now reattach the battery cable clamp and retighten the nut. Now close the hood. Start the vehicle and let it run for at least three minutes or so. The radio may start on the AM band and the clock may have reset itself to noon. Let the Sync have a few minutes to “reboot” before going to your vehicle settings and resetting the time. Just push the FM radio buttons to get back to your favorite radio channel.

In some cases, you may want to do the complete “re-Pair” or “clean pairing” process again.

Now everything should be working. Yes, it may seem like a lot of things to check, but the phone and the Sync system are computers. Computers need to be powered down and reset or rebooted from time to ensure that everything is working properly.

If things are still not working, then the issue could be the phone, the phone software and or its operating system. This may require a visit to your phone store or service provider. As mentioned, if all of the above troubleshooting techniques have been checked and the system is still not working, then please visit your Ford dealership Service Department. On new vehicles any Sync repair issues may be warranted for several years, ask your Ford Service Advisor for more details.

Getting the most out of iPhone 5 and Ford’s Sync System

As smartphone users adopt the new iPhone 5, some users are running into issues with the Ford Sync System — most of the conflicts stem from Apple’s proprietary issues.

By Vincent Hennigan
Sync Specialist

More and more smartphone buyers are adopting the new iPhone 5 and some are facing connection issues with the Ford Sync System — but most of the problems seem to be from some Apple programming issues.

Some of these issues can be overcome, some you just have to look past. However, the Ford Sync system continues to be flexible and adaptable.

The iPhone 5 can be “paired” to the Ford Sync system as a “Bluetooth Device.” This means when you push the “Voice” icon on the steering wheel, the Sync system will prompt, “Sync, state your command.” Reply, “Bluetooth Audio.” The system will repeat “Bluetooth Audio.” You can push the Voice button again and say “Play,” “Play All,” “Shuffle,” “Pause,” and the system will respond. The “Seek Arrows” on the steering wheel can return you to the start of the song, or jump you forward to the next track. You will notice that the LED readout at the center of the console, or the touch-screen in the center of the console will not show the song title or artist. You can push “Media” button on the steering wheel, or push the console radio buttons and select AM, FM or Sirius, it will shift the music to another “media” but it will return to Bluetooth when selected, or by using Voice commands.
If you plug the iPhone in with a USB cable to one of the USB ports, you can then push the Voice button and say “USB.” Your phone is no longer providing the Media input from Bluetooth, it’s now a USB device (yes you could have Mp3 music stored on a USB jump drive as well). After you push the Voice button and say USB, the system will provide respond, “The system has detected a USB device.” Now, wait a minute or two, then push the voice button and say “USB.” The system will respond “USB, state your command.” Say, “Play.” It should start playing your music, but this time you may notice the LED display or the touch screen (when showing the entertainment screen) will show the artist name and song title. After the system “indexes” the music on your phone or USB device, then you can push the voice button and say “Play Artist The Beatles” or “Play Song Let It Be.” Please note some content may be copyright protected and therefore cannot be played on the Sync System. Apple has got some licensing info encoded on some of the songs (this means that the song may be able to be played on a specific computer or device). Most store bought CDs can be “recorded” on iTunes and stored on a phone or a USB drive and can be played back. The USB function, along with the cord input or USB input, allows the searchability and voice commands. It must have more “bandwidth” that allows for that compared to streaming Bluetooth.
Also, when you push the steering wheel Voice button and say “Bluetooth Audio” you can then go to your iPhone and start the Pandora App (or other streaming music App) and it will start playing through the vehicle sound system.

Want a quick way to access your Apps? Some 2013 models will be of interest… The 2013 C-Max, the 2013 F-150, the 2013 Focus and the 2013 Focus models with MyFord  (not the MyFord Touch) system will all have Sync AppLink. It is also on some 2012 F-150 models, 2012 Mustangs, 2012 Lincoln MKZ and the 2013 Lincoln Navigator. See www.syncmyride.com for more info. Once your App is current and AppLink is ready, then you can push the “Voice” button on the steering wheel and say  “Mobile Applications” and the system will respond with “state your command.” You can use the Voice controls to call out Pandora, your favorite station, “Thumps Up” and more.

Some more quirky iPhone 5 things:

Apple still doesn’t use the right “programming language” to allow it to interface with Ford’s text-to-voice text messaging. However, you should be able to hold the “Home” button on the face of your iPhone 5 (or 4S) for a few seconds. You will hear an unusual tone. Then speak your command to the vehicle’s microphone. For example, “Read Text Messages.” You will hear Siri from your iPhone speaking your messages. You can ask her to “Send Text Message” and she will guide you through that process. Press and hold the “Phone” icon on your steering wheel for a few seconds to “hang up” Siri.

Here is a nice video from our friends at Lebanon Ford on Using Siri

Also, don’t expect any photos of contacts you have saved on your iPhone phone book to transfer and appear on your MyFord Touch screen. It’s Apple’s proprietary issues again.

And, just because you have a photo saved on your iPhone, don’t plug your phone into the vehicle USB port and expect a way to transfer the images to your MyFord Touch dashboard screen. Once again, it’s proprietary stuff. You can send your phone to an e-mail account and then download it to a USB jump drive. Go to your MyFord Touch Settings screen and select Display and then select Wallpaper. Insert the USB saved .jpg image (1.5 Mb or smaller and hopefully a very horizontal shot) into your USB port. You should be able to see the file on your MyFord Touch screen, select it to view it on the screen, then “Add” it to save it as a potential dashboard photo. Experiment with the photos you select — it will be in the background of your “Home” screen. Due to color and contrast issues, some photos make it harder to read the “home” screen.

See previous posts on “re-pairing” phones, upgrading Apple iOS software and more…

Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel!

Ford's Sync helps you keep your eye on the road.

Rock legends The Doors had a top hit with the 1970 song, Roadhouse Blues, with the lyrics “keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.” Little did they know that this would become the rallying cry for development of automobile telematics in the beginning of this century.

With the on-going development of Ford’s hands-free infotainment system, drivers can now get more out of their vehicles. But it does require some getting used to. And, learning something new takes the average person “out of their comfort zone” and forces them to adapt and learn some new things. So often, with the Ford Sync system, users wonder why the message screen says Phone Redial and “where did the music go that I was listening to?”

The thing to remember is that by having a phone “paired” to the Ford Sync system it just means that the cell phone is connected wirelessly to the vehicle’s dashboard. Some Ford Sync systems use a LED screen at the top center of their dash, just above the CD and radio controls (such as the Fusion, Mustang, Escape, Expedition and the F-Series trucks). Some systems use a voice activated touch screen navigation system (such as the Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Escape, Expedition and the F-Series trucks). Newer models, (such as the Edge and the Explorer) use the MyFord Touch with a touch screen voice activated screen in the top center of the dash, plus 4.2” screens in the driver’s dashboard cluster with steering wheel controls. The Fiesta and Focus use a slightly different MyFord system. Continue reading

Plugging into in-car technologies!

Back in the last century GM introduced OnStar as an alternative to a bag phone or an antiquated car phone… but that was then and technology has far out-paced even consumer’s demands in today’s market.

What seems to be pushing the market ever-forward is the proliferation of the smartphone. Consumers are starting to ask a similar questions “So, if my phone can do all of those fancy things, why can’t my automobile?”  Auto manufacturers are scrambling to create the technology that provides the driver the connectivity they want.

Ford Motor Company, with its Microsoft Sync systems, and now with its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems, seems to be light years ahead of the competition.

Not a day goes by at a Ford dealership when a customer discovers all of the services they can obtain through Sync and Ford’s Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) service and they realize that it’s a whole lot of technology for them to use in their vehicles. Continue reading

SYNC Workshop: “Pair” a Phone to Your Basic SYNC System

The is the basic Sync system, with a center screen that only displays LED text.

Ask yourself this question, “can you pair your cellphone to your Ford vehicle’s SYNC system?”

Since Sync was introduced in 2008 to the Ford Focus, there have been a multitude of “formats.”  The system pictured is the “basic” Sync system.

These instructions are for a non-navigation system found on the Ford Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Escape, Explorer, Expedition, F-150, F-250 and F-350. plus the Econoline. This system would be found for the model years (depending on the trimline) from 2008 to about 2013.

First, is your cellphone Bluetooth compatible? Go to the phone’s main menu and look for the toolbox, the settings or the connectivity folder. Then look for the option that says “Bluetooth” and set it to on. We’ll come back to this setting in a moment.

SYNC will NOT pair a phone while the vehicle is in motion, so do this while parked and the engine running. Turn the vehicle on and turn your radio on. On your steering wheel you should be able to find some toggle buttons. One will have a mouth (let’s call it the Voice button), another Continue reading