Print 36 comment(s) - last by JackMarse.. on Aug 28 at 1:22 PM

Users who got the update installed, say it does speed up the system and make it more responsive, though

Ford Motor Comp. (F) drove some sales with its SYNC infotainment system, but criticism has also abounded, particularly about the first-generation SYNC's graphical revamp MyFord Touch (MFT).  Ford has received many a beating at the hands of consumer reviews agencies over MFT's clunky interface, even as it's strived to fix the system's early bugs.

Its latest effort to that end was unveilled this week.  Ford posted about a new update (SYNC 3.6.2; 553 MB) which will:
  • Improved system performance
  • Improved Home Screen
    • Increased Touch Zones on Home Screen
  • Improved screen interactions while using voice
  • Updated support for phones and media players
  • Home page displays song/artist info
  • Improvements to System Installation
    • Quicker install - < 30 minutes
    • Persistence of Navigation Favorites during installation
The overhaul reportedly replaces some of the longer, more difficult voice commands with shorter alternatives, though it's unclear what commands were swapped out.  The update is exclusively for MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles, so those with just SYNC won't get these changes yet (or at all, in some cases, as some changes pertain to the MFT UI)

SYNC updated
An updated Ford F-150 [Image Source: VA Raptor/F150 Forums]

The good news is that early adopters are installing the update without trouble and reporting faster/smoother/"less buggy" performance.  The bad news is that users (in the F150 Forums page) have complained about:
  • Lost wallpapers
  • Lost Bluetooth pairings
  • Lost Wi-Fi settings
  • Long stall at 5% download (multiple reports)
  • Another long stall 38% download (multiple reports)
Sounds like Ford has its work cut out fixing the blips in the process as this one continues to roll out.

SYNC update
SYNC updates are downloaded to a user's computer and then delivered by SD Card or USB stick to the vehicle.

Ford and General Motors Comp. (GM) are currently being wooed by both Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) -- which reportedly pitching a version of Windows 8 for car infotainment -- and Apple, Inc. (AAPL)  -- which is pushing for more iOS integration.  With next generation systems likely to launch in either 2014 or 2015 from each company, it should be interesting to see whether they go Microsoft, Apple, or opt to ignore both and make a proprietary solution.

Sources: Ford, F-150 Forums [problems, experiences]

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By Chaser on 8/6/2013 7:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
I leased a 2013 Focus ST for a while. Ford's system definitely has issues.

I rent a lot of cars. The winner is: Chrysler's uConnect. Robust feature set, excellent Bluetooth implementation and their mapping features are superb. uConnect's straightforward interface makes it very easy to use. And unlike Audi and BMW's more Apple-centric design, uConnect's features are equal with Apple and Android alike.

All manufacturer's should take notice. Chrysler got it right and I am no Chrysler fan by any stretch of the imagination.

By ctodd on 8/6/2013 9:25:03 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 2012 Durango and I don't particularly care for uConnect. Bluetooh delay and all sorts of other issues. Too many to mention. I honestly prefer my Toyota even though it isn't anything special. Maybe uConnect has gotten better in the last two years, but I doubt it.

By flatrock on 8/7/2013 3:30:24 PM , Rating: 2
Might not be relevant, but there are unfortunately sometimes bluetooth issues between certain phones and certain devices. They probably test their system with the most popular phones, but if you have a phone with a bluetooth implementation that just doesn't seem to work well with their system there's not much that can be done unless they can fix it in firmware, and it's likely that the two manufacturers will point fingers at each other regarding who's problem it is.

By Flunk on 8/6/2013 10:05:10 PM , Rating: 4
I personally find that cars without the touchscreen junk work a lot better. Physical controls are much easier to use and don't need to look at them after the first few times.

By Monkey's Uncle on 8/7/2013 10:41:23 AM , Rating: 2
Sometimes they are, but you have to admit having that big 8" touchscreen on your dash and being able to get things done without having to use those controls is hella cool.

When these things are sluggish, glitchy or complex to use, they get to be a pain in the a$$ though.

By macca007 on 8/8/2013 3:10:26 AM , Rating: 2
The new big touchscreen systems now don't even need you to touch, Voice operated to change tracks, read out text messages from your phone etc etc

Why so negative?
By ERROR666 on 8/6/2013 3:12:32 PM , Rating: 4
As far as I understand Ford did ok. Long stall at 5% and 38% is not a problem at all.
Users lost wallpapers and BT pairings - ok.. this is a minor inconvenience but overall looks like there are significant improvements. We're talking firmware upgrade here. Losing some personalized settings is not a deal killer.

RE: Why so negative?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/6/2013 8:00:05 PM , Rating: 1
I suspect, and there's some evidence supporting this, that the older generation among us (computer illiterates) is who's having the biggest problems with Ford's MyTouch system.

Not trying to flame, but the feedback doesn't seem like it's coming from very tech-savvy individuals.

RE: Why so negative?
By InsGadget on 8/6/2013 9:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
This is no doubt true. Good thing MFT is an option (always?).

RE: Why so negative?
By BRMarshall on 8/12/2013 6:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to think it is always optional. One of the vehicles I drive is one of the last Ranger 4X4s(my first Ford product and it still has under 8,200 miles on it). It is the first vehicle I've driven with power windows and locks. It has no infotainment system. It's great! I'll be looking to buy a new car,in the next couple of years and would like to opt out of the infotainment altogether, but doubt if that will be possible. Some of us are satisfied with being attentive and responsible drivers.

RE: Why so negative?
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/7/2013 10:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry bro, but I have to take exception your reference to members of this 'older generation' as computer illiterates. I am a member of this 'older generation' and have been building, programming and overclocking computers since before many here at BT was a gleam in their daddy's eye. Some of us in my generation have a far better idea how to handle technology such as this than those of your generation. Please don't generalize. Gray hair doesn't mean we have no idea how to use technology -- some of us have actually designed that technology. Disclaimer: I had no part at all in the design of MFT/Sync! In fact I would kick the person that did design it up & down the street -- regardless of his/her age.

To the comment that older generation (aka computer illiterate) are the only folks that have issues with is pure rubbish (I'm looking at the average Apple fanboy).

How is it that poking at a hotspot on the MFT screen not detecting the press have any bearing on computer literacy? How does a system that does not understand a command like "Set temperature to twenty one celsius" or "Set destination to <address here>" have anything at all to do with computer literacy? (Note that Ford's Sync does NOT understand either of these). How should one's fluency in technology have any part at all in the functioning of a CAR? Young, technology hip folks are not the only folks that buy Fords or Lincolns. Grandmothers, 16-year-old beginning drivers, porn stars and Apple fanboys will also buy them. Does thios meand they should not be able to use all of the Car's functionality? Rubbish!

Note: I am 60 years old and own a 2013 Ford Focus with MFT/Sync.

RE: Why so negative?
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/7/2013 10:38:39 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry for the odd typo in that. My fingers can't keep up with my brain anymore ;)

Big Deal?
By MoggSquad on 8/6/2013 4:29:29 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not sure what the big deal of the 5% / 38% stall during download. I just tried downloading it with the stall, but it still completed.

I'm not too concerned about having to re-sync my phone if the sync is lost during the update.

Not perfect, but not worth writing about IMO. Different story if it's bricking or locking up systems.

RE: Big Deal?
By Griffinhart on 8/6/2013 9:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. It's just a patch. AS long as it doesn't brick stuff... and you can have the dealer do it for you too.

RE: Big Deal?
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/7/2013 10:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
I'm writing this while the update installs on my Focus. I will see if the touch screen is more responsive and the voice commands are better at understanding natural language.

RE: Big Deal?
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/7/2013 12:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
Update proceeded without a hitch (didn't hang around to see if there was any noticeable lags - just locked up the car and let it do its thing for half an hour).

Had some minor issues reconnecting my phone after I had paired it again. Needed to delete the phone and re-pair a second time before the pairing seemed to take permanently. Also turned off auto phonebook download since this is a cause of known bluetooth issues in earlier sync versions. Just let it download once after pairing.

Of course I will not need to upload a new handful of wallpapers, but I expected this.

Not much difference in the voice recognition. it still does not recognize anything other than its hardcoded commands.

Touch screen response is better though. Didn't find myself having to poke visual buttons more than once to get a response from the system yet though so that is a marked improvement. Not quite capacitive response, but certainly more usable than previous versions.

Thanks for the Reminder
By HopJokey on 8/6/2013 3:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
Going to try out the new upgrade on my Focus.

RE: Thanks for the Reminder
By HopJokey on 8/6/2013 10:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
Just upgraded, it is a lot better. The UI is much faster and the touch screen is more responsive - almost like a capacitive touch screen (it is resistive). Of course I needed to resync my phone like the article mentions, but no biggie.

Ford SYNC problems stem from the source
By kep55 on 8/6/13, Rating: 0
RE: Ford SYNC problems stem from the source
By Griffinhart on 8/6/2013 9:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
The patch is for My Ford Touch, which is done internally by Ford. MS only does the Sync feature

By Monkey's Uncle on 8/7/2013 10:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
Where did you get that Idea? Did you actually try to install it?

The patch includes both MFT and includes a Sync fixpack.


My Ford Touch = UI components only.
Sync = Operating System that drives it.

The Stall aren't the patch
By Griffinhart on 8/6/2013 9:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
The stalls at 5% and 38% are in the download process. The actual patch time was a bit less than 30 minutes for me. I did have to repair my phone. That took all of a few moments. I had to reload my wallpaper as well. No big deal. they are just JPGs on my USB flash drive anyway. It's still early on, but it feels a bit snappier than before. Overall, the upgrade was problem free for me.

By Monkey's Uncle on 8/7/2013 1:06:38 PM , Rating: 2
I had the same experience upgrading my Focus.

By villageidiotintern on 8/6/2013 5:57:52 PM , Rating: 2
I would prefer a active smartphone dock. But thanks anyway Ford.

I did the update 8/5/13
By boatfun42 on 8/6/2013 9:17:50 PM , Rating: 2
Everything seemed to work ok after the upgrade yesterday and today I could push the voice button and nothing would work. I stopped and cut off the car and opened the door and started the car back and still nothing. Deleted my phone and repaired it and still nothing. I could receive calls once I used my iPhone to have someone call me but again could not use the voice command button to place a call. I tried Services and they could not understand me and then hung up on me. Hoping it was a problem on Sync side and not from the upgrade.

By flyingpants1 on 8/6/13, Rating: 0
By rudolphna on 8/7/2013 12:43:08 AM , Rating: 2
I lost about 10 IQ points reading this post.

By Dukeajuke on 8/7/2013 10:00:44 AM , Rating: 2
So I just checked the Ford Sync website and it says that my current version is uptodate. I'm currently running Gen1 -v4.1.4.T. So I guess Ford F150 owners are out of luck?

Download delays
By rayjr66 on 8/12/2013 8:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
The 5% and 38% download delays are quite long. Mine was on 5% for about half an hour and on 38% for almost an hour!

Bad Install Procedure
By JackMarse on 8/28/2013 1:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
I installed this in a Lincoln MKS 2014. The install took about 33% longer than stated. Then the set up program did not mark the install file INSTALLED so you have to remove the install files from USB to play its music! No where did the directions say to do this but the install program should at least mark a FLAG file INSTALLED so it doesn't keep trying to install. I left install files in my music USB since I learned on MS desktop to keep install files around for a few weeks in case they are needed again. Ford needs to improve the install process for home users that are not technical.

By flyingpants1 on 8/6/2013 10:29:06 PM , Rating: 1
You must be new here.

By greenchinesepuck on 8/6/2013 7:33:11 PM , Rating: 1
then he reads about iOS 7 push into cars infotainment systems

then he starts predicting the same thing that happened with WinMobile crap - it has been relatively effortlessly terminated by iOS

and you know what? I observe how MSFT fucks up itself with unbelievably dumb idea of Windows RT, and I realize that Tony is right in this case

MSFT is soft and ripened to be ass fucked again by Apple, just wait and see the exact same story repeating here as it was with iPods, iPads and iPhones

I can't help but feel sorry for poor dumb MS being violently raped by Apple again and again and again in various markets

if not for Windows RT debacle I'd be probably NOT siding with Tony on this one but... sorry Tony gotta state the truth here, you'll understand for sure ;)

terrible idea
By Argon18 on 8/6/13, Rating: -1
RE: terrible idea
By InsGadget on 8/6/2013 9:41:19 PM , Rating: 1
Actually most of the recent problems with MyFordTouch are when they went further from the base MS software in the 2010 models, I think it was. My 2009 Escape has been pretty solid, even though the interface doesn't look as smooth.

RE: terrible idea
By OoklaTheMok on 8/7/2013 1:05:17 AM , Rating: 1
The problems came when Ford decided they could do it on their own. Then in order to fix their mistakes, they had to go back to Microsoft for help.

Ultimately, I think where Ford went wrong is integrating the HVAC controls into the system. It added unnecessary complexity to the system. Honestly, if they hadn't integrated that, they could have created a product that they could have licensed/sold to other companies.

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