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 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…