Ford marries its SYNC system to Apple’s Siri using Bluetooth

The infotainment system in vehicles can now access iTunes music and other functions via Bluetooth

Ford SYNC Apple iTunes

Apple iTunes music connected via Siri and Bluetooth in a 2013 Ford Escape SE.

Credit: Lucas Mearian

Ford today announced a software upgrade to its SYNC infotainment system that lets iPhone users wirelessly access Siri Eyes-Free capabilities over Bluetooth.

Siri Eyes-Free allows drivers to activate Siri with a long press of the voice recognition button on the steering wheel, similar to way Siri is activated on an iPhone.

Previously, iPhone users needed to connect their smartphones via a USB cable to their Ford vehicles to use iPhone functions such as messaging or iTunes.

All SYNC-enabled vehicles -- model years 2011 and newer -- can take advantage of the software upgrade by downloading it to a USB drive to update the in-vehicle entertainment and communications system.

The software upgrade takes about 25 minutes to complete. During that time, the vehicle can be driven, but the infotainment system will be offline.

SYNC is installed in more than 12 million vehicles today and was the first to use the  system to offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones.

With the new software upgrade, vehicles with SYNC can use Siri's voice-activated functions to:

  • Make phone calls to contacts in their address book
  • Look up phone numbers for restaurants or other points of interest
  • Set a reminder or alarm
  • Ask about the weather
  • Select and play music
  • Audibly send and receive text messages
  • Get directions through Apple Maps

"Siri Eyes-Free is another great voice-activated feature that not only adds convenience but helps our customers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel," Sherif Marakby, director of Ford's electronics and electrical systems engineering, said in a statement.

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