Ford has announced an available software update to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to 2016 model vehicles equipped with the company’s SYNC 3 infotainment system. The move is a fairly rare occurrence in the automotive space, where automakers generally do not add retroactive features.
Owners of approximately 800,000 2016 models will be able to update their infotainment system three ways. They can connect their vehicle to WiFi and download the update over-the-air, download it to the car via a USB drive or pay a dealership to do it for you. This update is actually the first major software download Ford is offering over-the-air; a big move in and of itself.
There are some caveats to the process. Those wanting Apple CarPlay will have to utilize the USB option to upgrade their vehicle (perhaps the download file is too large for OTA). Android Auto will download via WiFi with no problems though. Assuming you can make it happen OTA or USB, there will be no charge for the update.
Ford launched SYNC 3 on most of its 2016 model year vehicles. Part of the logic of switching to the new platform was for ease of software updates. On legacy SYNC equipped vehicles software updates always had to be performed at the dealership or were extremely cumbersome (and often unsuccessful) for the owner to execute on their own.