Ford using first over-the-air software updates to its 2016 cars

Camille Francis
May 20, 2017

Some of Ford's SYNC 3-enabled cars are finally getting an update to match the rest of the connected auto ecosystem.

Ford is updating a large number of 2016 model year cars equipped with SYNC 3 infotainment software, adding Android Auto and CarPlay to the vehicles with a free, over-the-air update via Wi-Fi, or using either USB or going through their dealer.

There's good news for anyone with a 2016-model Ford.

Getting SYNC 3 v2.2 is quite simple, and you have one of three ways to perform the update. If you have a Wi-Fi enabled vehicle, you have to ensure that automatic updating is enabled within Sync 3, then, when it connects to your home network, the update will be downloaded.

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Android Auto is compatible with Android-powered mobile devices with version 5.0 or higher of the operating system. "With over-the-air updates, we can deliver new features to customers in the background while they continue using their vehicles". Instead of relying on their vehicle's built-in navigation system, which might be outdated, they can project Google Maps onto their car's in-dash display, for instance.

If you're feeling "with it" technologically, it's also available via Ford's first-ever Wi-Fi update. Like with Android Auto, CarPlay allows integration with the in-car infotainment system, enabling app projection on the SYNC 3 screen, and voice control via Apple's Siri system. If an update is available, the system automatically downloads the update in the background over a period of time without any customer interaction.

Apple CarPlay works with iPhone 5 and later models with iOS 7.1 and higher.

In total, 800,000 vehicles are eligible for the update, which is being called a giant step for Ford, which recently hired 400 engineers to work on its connected auto initiative.

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