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.
Keep in mind that while the getting Android Auto would be as simple as downloading the update, enabling CarPlay would require an upgrade of the vehicle's USB hub, something that requires a dealership visit and extra costs. To DIY the update, you'll need to download the right version for your auto from Ford's owner support website.
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The update comes after carmakers Audi and Volvo announced that they will be using Android as the main operating system for their upcoming cars.
If you're feeling "with it" technologically, it's also available via Ford's first-ever Wi-Fi update. 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.
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Compatible with iPhone 5 and later models running iOS 7.1 or higher, Apple CarPlay gives iPhone users an intuitive way to make phone calls, use voice-guided navigation, listen to music, and send and receive messages while staying focused on the road.
The OTA update option is also a big step for Ford - it's the company's first for software, and it's one of the major reasons that Ford recently hired around 400 new mobile smartphone engineers, the company tells me. 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. A constant Wi-Fi connection isn't needed either, as the update will work in the background every time it has access until the update is complete.
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