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

"Our SYNC 3 software platform was created to be easy to update so we can get our customers the latest and greatest features, [functionality] and security enhancements", says Ford Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services Don Butler.

Ford has brought Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to model-year 2016 cars with the latest SYNC 3 software update. Ford announced the update in a release touting the new compatibilities, which will be available to an estimated 800,000 vehicles.

If you own a 2016 Ford vehicle or truck, some new smartphone/infotainment goodness is now coming your way.

You can obtain the update in three ways: by downloading over the air for Wi-Fi-connected vehicles, by bringing your auto to a Ford dealership, or by downloading the update to a USB drive then manually plugging into the auto.

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The Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration systems are, respectively, compatible with Android devices 5.0 and higher and iPhone5 devices running iOS 7.1 or higher. Instead of relying on their vehicle's built-in navigation system, which might be outdated, they can project Google Maps onto their car's in-dash display, for instance. With a simplified interface, large touch targets, Google voice search and easy-to-use voice controls, Android Auto is created to minimize distraction while on the road. This marks the first time that Ford will enable one of its updates to be applied via WiFi.

While Ford has been issuing SYNC upgrades since 2009, this is the first time that the automaker is offering an update via Wi-Fi.

Customers must upgrade their USB hubs in order to receive Apple CarPlay support.

SYNC 3 now supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on all model-year 2017 Ford cars including the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Mustang, SUVs including the Escape, Explorer and Expedition, F-Series trucks and Ford's electrified vehicles. If any update becomes available then the SYNC system will download and install the update in the background. As long as the system is connected to the Wi-Fi, the update process will keep running in the background.

  • Toni Ryan