Ford announced that they are pushing an update to SYNC 3 vehicles that will bring both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to all 2016-model year vehicles. This means that the number of Ford vehicles with support for Apple and Google’s infotainment systems just got a bit larger. According to Ford’s press release, customers are able to update to the latest version of SYNC 3, which is v2.2, by downloading it to a USB drive, through a Wi-Fi connection, or by visiting your local Ford dealership and having them install the update for you. This is actually the first time that Ford has done an update to SYNC over Wi-Fi, even though they have been pushing updates since 2009, for SYNC. What this means for Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles is that if you have automatic updates installed, your vehicle will automatically download and install the update for you and there’s nothing that needs to be done. You just need to make sure it is connected to Wi-Fi before turning off the vehicle.
With Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in Ford’s 2016 lineup, users will be able to plug in their Android smartphone or iPhone into their car when they get in and be able to use things like Google Maps (or Apple Maps) for navigation, also listen to their favorite music, podcasts, audiobooks and much more. On Android Auto, you are also able to message and call people from within the car, hands-free. You can reply to messages in select apps (which the number of apps continues to grow), which includes WhatsApp, Hangouts, Allo, Telegram and many others. You can also make and answer calls from within the car, which is a nice addition.
The experience that Ford has built with Android Auto is actually really nice. It works really well with SYNC 3, which we found out when we test drove their Fusion earlier this year. With Android Auto, you are able to use the steering wheel controls to interact with Android Auto. Which includes skipping songs, adjusting the volume and even using the voice command button for issuing commands to Google. Remember that with Android Auto, you do need to long-press the voice button to use it within Android Auto.