Android Auto, Apple CarPlay Available to 2016 Ford Owners, If They Want It

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
android auto apple carplay available to 2016 ford owners if they want it

It looks like Ford’s offer to update 2016 vehicles equipped with its SYNC 3 infotainment system with free Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity has a lot to do with some recent hires.

The automaker has announced it will allow owners of one-year-old vehicles to install the feature, which comes standard on all 2017 models, at no cost. The offer positions Ford near the cutting edge in automotive technology. For a company seeking a starring role in the tech-heavy mobility realm, this is exactly where it wants to be.

Ford says owners can add the newfound connectivity to their vehicles in a number of ways. The over-the-air update via Wi-Fi is a first for the company, but owners can also choose to download the SYNC 3 version 2.2 update to a USB or simply visit their dealer.

For 2016 Fords with Wi-Fi, owners will need to ensure their SYNC 3’s Automatic System Updates is turned on before the upgrade can download (which it will by itself).

The ability to offer the upgrade stems from the recent hiring of 400 mostly former Blackberry employees, Ford told TechCrunch. Those employees, brought on to staff the automaker’s new Research and Engineering Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, already have extensive knowledge of the QNX operating system behind the SYNC 3 system.

As the center ramps up its operations, expect other high-tech options to be made available to owners. TechCrunch notes that while the upgrade represents a new level of gee-whiz gizmology for Ford, it isn’t completely seamless. To install CarPlay, users must first upgrade the vehicle’s USB hub — something requiring a dealer visit.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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4 of 19 comments
  • Pbx Pbx on May 20, 2017

    Car manufacturers offer software and upgrades for a set fee. Often initially free but costing up to $400 or more a year for ongoing use and upgrades. Ten-twelve years down the road, if the software subscription is still active, car manufacturers will be making hundreds of millions, more likely billions, of dollars on cars that left the show rooms over a decade earlier.

  • Durishin Durishin on May 21, 2017

    GM had it as standard by the 2016 model year in all but WS, L and LS model levels.

  • Stevelovescars Stevelovescars on May 22, 2017

    Automakers have been making a lot of money selling overpriced navigation options to customers who had redundant (and often better) solutions in their pockets. I think much of the reluctance to offering integration solutions has been not only the software's slow development but also their reluctance to admit this gravy train was over. Bluetooth is essentially a requirement since many states have outlawed using cell phones without a hands-free solution. Full integration through CarPlay frankly isn't much better from what I have experienced. I can already stream my music (sometimes with the Pandora app already in the car) make calls, and hear GPS directions... the only thing missing was having my map appear on the car's screen, which I solved with a simple suction cup for my phone. My personal pet peeve is their omission of alternative navigation tools like Waze. I understand Apple sees money to be made by making their own software the standard, but as a consumer I don't like it. And what future applications will be omitted from these proprietary systems?

  • Notapreppie Notapreppie on May 22, 2017

    Mazda have hinted that this could happen on their newer cars with Mazda Connect infotainment systems, as well.