How to Update 2016 Ford SYNC 3 Apple CarPlay iPhone & Android Auto via USB or Wi-Fi

Ford is now offering a SYNC 3 software update that enables Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to model-year 2016 vehicles through computer download onto USB drive,over-the-air via a Wi-Fi connection or at dealers.

For the Wi-Fi update you can use home computer Wi-Fi network or Wi-Fi hotpsots from a smartphone. Data chargers from for the phone will incur. Make sure you have a strong signal before starting.

The Wi-Fi update using a home network will be the trickiest because Wi-Fi signals degrade over long distances and depending upon your router, antenna and location of your garage and type of Wi-Fi, you may experience long download times. Before starting the update, you can connect your phone to Wi-Fi or notebook computer to Wi-Fi and see if you have a signal in your garage. We have found in the past, that opening the garage doors may help getting a signal. If your Wi-Fi router is a house or apartment, opening the windows and putting the router near the open window will also make it the signal flow easier. Trees or larg objects can block a home Wi-Fi signal.

Ford reports that it is first software update via Wi-Fi and a automated alternative to existing upgrade methods

We at AUTO Connected Car News suggest that you allow plenty of time for the update. In fact the USB methods takes at least 20 minutes for the car to reboot.

USB installation of CarPlay & Android Auto Update for Ford SYNC 3

  • Go to have an empty USB drive that holds 2 GB or more of data.
  • Log in to your SYNC Owner account.
  • Go the SYNC Software Updates page, choose Download SYNC Update.
  • With the USB drive in the computer, choose Start Download Process. Follow instructions on how to download the files and transfer them to your USB drive.
  • Take the loaded USB drive to your car to install the software update files to SYNC.
  • Remove any USB drives or devices that are plugged into the media hub USB ports.
  • Start car the engine must be running during the update.
  • Turn on audio system with low audio.Insert the USB drive into the port. Don’t remove your USB drive until the installation is complete.
  • The installation should begin automatically.
  • A message is spoken by the system and displayed on-screen to let you know the process is about to start and what to expect. The on-screen message has an “OK” button for you to confirm the start of the process.
  • The system reboots, and then an installation progress bar displays on the touch screen. This segment may take up to 20 minutes.
  • At the completion of this part of the process, a “Restarting System” message displays on the touch screen. A reboot will occur during this process.
  •  The touchscreen will then remain black for up to two minutes.
  •  “Installing Service Pack …” is displayed for more than 10 minutes.
  •  Another black screen could last up to two minutes for rebooting.
  •  The system displays the Home Screen briefly, followed by a progress bar.
  •  A message acknowledges completion of the update along with a reminder to visit to confirm successful installation.
  • The update is complete when you see an “Installation Complete!” message. Press “OK” on your eight-inch center screen and remove the USB drive to enjoy your newly enhanced system.
  • Take the USB drive back to your computer to report your installation.
  • Once you’ve installed the update, you’ll need to pair your phone and download your phone book. You’ll also have to re-enter any saved Navigation points.

SYNC 3 currently 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.

Though Ford has been issuing SYNC upgrades since 2009, this is the first time the company is offering an update via Wi-Fi. In Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles with Automatic System Updates turned on within SYNC 3, the system will periodically connect to a customer’s designated Wi-Fi network to check for updates. If an update is available, the system automatically downloads the update in the background over a period of time without any customer interaction. And SYNC 3 is designed to perform the update as long as Wi-Fi is connected prior to the vehicle turning off, therefore there is no need to keep the vehicle running for the update to take place.

  • Enable Automatic System Updates through Wi-Fi, then SYNC 3 will download, install and activate available system updates when SYNC is connected to a Wi-Fi network, automatically.
  • Go to Settings.
  • Automatic System Updates.
  • Slide Off Button to On.
  • The System when Connected to Wi-Fi will autmatically update SYNC.
  • Press View Networks.
  • A list of networks, will appear.
  • Press the name of the network.
  • Press Connect.
  • Enter the password required by the network.

2 thoughts on “How to Update 2016 Ford SYNC 3 Apple CarPlay iPhone & Android Auto via USB or Wi-Fi”

  1. You need to ether go to a Ford – Lincoln dealer to purchase the correct Apple Car Play USB interface or buy one online. I found a brand new Escape USB hub for $40 shipped on ebay.

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