Sync Workshop: Pushing the Right Buttons

Let’s face it, most car manufacturers are quickly bringing smartphone technology to our vehicle dashboards. Some of us are not sure how to use these systems. This is a workshop focusing on some common problems with the Ford Microsoft Sync system.

For some Ford owners, they may think their Sync system is “acting up.” Sometimes you try to make a phone call and it seems that the Sync system just “isn’t listening.” This is a summary of some common problems and how to overcome them. Most times the problem isn’t the Sync system, it’s our understanding (or lack of understanding) of how the system works.

First of all, let’s push the right buttons!

Ford developed their hands-free system with steering wheel controls. There are push buttons on the right side of the steering wheel. Some of these buttons are “two-sided” so you are either pushing the button down on its left side or its right side. One of the buttons is the “voice” button — it’s got an icon (picture) of a mouth with sound waves coming out of it (or it’s simply marked “Voice.”). This is the button to push to begin a vocal command to make a call, to ask for Bluetooth audio or make other vocal requests.

Push the Voice button and the system’s female voice will come on the vehicle’s speaker system with a statement, such as “Sync, state your command.” Reply by saying, “Phone.” The system will respond with “Phone, state your command.” Then say “Call Name (your contact’s name save in your phone book.) ” For example, say “Call John Smith on cell.” Or say, “Call Bill Henderson at home.”

If you are trying to dial a number, push the voice button, say “Phone” and then say “Dial.” The system will ask for the number. In a moderate volume, just say the number at a normal speed. Speak the phone number as individual numbers such as “Eight-One-Eight, Five-Three-Five, Five-Three-One-Nine.” Don’t try to condense numbers, such as saying “Eighty-One, Eight-Five, Fifty-Three, Fifty-Five, Three-Nineteen.”

Some other buttons on the right side of the steering wheel are for raising or lowering the speaker volume and the “scroll arrows.” These arrows will move you from pre-set station to pre-set station when in the radio mode, or from the start of the track or to the next track when listening in CD or Line In mode.

There is another button with an icon of a Phone receiver, this is the “Phone” button. This button is for answering a phone (by giving it a quick definite push) or for hanging up or cancelling a call (by pushing the button and holding it down for about five seconds). There is another button with the word “OK” on it. This button is used for answering questions the system might place on the LED screen or the touch screen on the dash. For example, when listening to the Sirius satellite radio, if you push the “Menu” button on the center console, the LED display will show the words “Satellite Menu,” then press the OK button on the steering wheel. The LED screen will then display “Category Menu” and then press OK again, then use the scroll arrows on the steering wheel (or the tuning knob) to rotate through all of the music categories available with Sirius. If you select “Comedy” and push the OK, then it will take you right to the first station in that category.

Just pushing the “Phone” icon will not access the “voice” for making a command. It will only access the “Phone Menu.” This menu’s title will turn into “Phone Redial” on the LED screen after a few seconds and then you can use the Seek arrow buttons on the steering wheel, or the Tuning knob to scroll through the phone options, such as System Settings, Phone book or Call History. Push OK to access any of these categories and, once again, use the scroll arrows or the tuning knob to drill deeper into the menu. When you see the word “Return,” then push OK and it will return to the previous menu.

If you do not press the “Phone” button long enough at the end of call, then the “Phone Redial” text may linger forever on the LED display. You won’t be able to access your radio or other audio functions until you press and hold the “Phone” icon for about five seconds.

Obviously, this workshop is just about using a few buttons. For more reference, please see your vehicle’s Sync handbook on the correct vocal requests and other functions. Or, visit Ford’s Sync online support at

Sync Workshop – Edit iPhone and Smartphone Contacts for Improved Sync Access

Editing your iPhone or smartphone contacts can help you improve access with the Ford Sync system.

When it comes to most smartphones, the critical first step is entering the contact data correctly.

If you open a new contact file, put the First Name of your contact in the “First Name” box. And then put the contact’s Last Name in the “Last Name” box. Sound simple enough, but here’s the deal… if you put the name John Smith entirely on the “First Name” line and then, if your phone and your Ford Sync system is set up to search by last name, then guess what? That’s right, you can say, “Call John Smith,” and the Ford Sync system cannot find anything in your phone book. So, take the time to edit your contacts by name and how they are entered.

When it comes to the iPhone 5, be sure to go to your Settings icon. Scroll down to the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” box and give it a tap. Then scroll down to the “Contacts” section. Take notice of your “Sort Order”, you may want to set it on “Last, First” and then look at your “Display Order” and you might want to make that “First, Last.” Otherwise, you might be pushing the Voice button and say “Call John Smith” and the Sync system might say “No such contact found.” But it might if you said, “Call Smith, John.” I don’t know about you, but that would drive me crazy to say Last Name first and then First name last.

Then, take notice of what kind of phone number you are entering on the contact… place their work number in the “Work” number box, and the cell number on the “Mobile” number box. Then, the proper way to set up the call is to tall Sync, “Call John Smith at Work.” Why? If you don’t, and just say, “Call John Smith,” then the system will come back and state “Multiple contacts found, say 1 for Work and 2 for Mobile.” Once again, take some time to edit your phone book to make it so you can make the call without a lot of prompting from Sync.

And, did you know that when you initially Pair your Phone, and give the system permission to download your phonebook contacts, what the system does is Index (review) your contacts. If you make additions or corrections to your phonebook while in your vehicle, the Sync system won’t be able to “see” the updates until you turn off the vehicle, completely power down your Sync system, and then restart (or reboot) your Sync system. Then it will re-index your contacts and “see” the updates.

For those with the MyFord Touch system, you may want to touch the Phone corner, tap the Settings tab, go to the Manage Phonebook tab, and then tap Re-download Phonebook.

Watch out when it comes to using contacts that are entered in all capital letters. The Sync system has to review your contacts by the text you have entered into the contact information line. “John” is reviewed by the system and then it can listen and say “John.” If a contact is entered as “JOHN” then the system can only “find” the name if you say, “Call J-O-H-N.” So, avoid entering your contact names in all capital letters.

It makes sense to take the time to edit your frequently called contacts and make the information so the Sync system can easily understand it.