Ultimate Guide to SYNC 4

Ultimate Guide to SYNC 4

Last Updated October 13, 2021 | Meghan Drummond
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SYNC 4 debuted in the 2021 Mustang Mach-E as the fourth generation of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system. It was made in partnership with Blackberry, just like its predecessor, SYNC 3.

Like all SYNC systems, the primary goal of SYNC 4 is to keep drivers connected to their phones without having to take their hands off the wheel. SYNC 4 is more of a mixed bag in how well it achieves that goal compared to previous versions. Although it boasts an impressive list of features, the larger screens and extra menus make it a bit more complicated than SYNC 3.

This guide will walk you through setting up your phone with SYNC 4. It'll also teach you how to access its features and navigate the system more easily.


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SYNC 4 Features

For the most part, SYNC 4 offers many of the same features that SYNC 3 does, only slightly improved. You can use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay on either system. But while you need to keep your phone physically plugged in for them to work on SYNC 3, SYNC 4 can connect wirelessly. SYNC 4 also offers over-the-air updates, an improvement over SYNC 3’s WiFi updates.

SYNC 4 Feature Highlights:

  • Hands-Free Calling and Texting
  • Natural Voice Control
  • Cloud-Based Nav with Real-Time Traffic and Weather
  • Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Over-the-Air Software Updates
  • Machine Learning Capability
  • FordPass Connect
  • SYNC AppLink
  • Built-In Navigation (Optional)
  • Digital Owner’s Manual

SYNC 4 vs SYNC 4A

There are two versions of SYNC 4: SYNC 4 and SYNC 4A. They share many of the same features but offer different screen sizes, console integrations, and display layouts.

A picture of SYNC 4 on top and SYNC 4A underneath

It’s not possible to upgrade the SYNC 4 system to SYNC 4A, or vice versa. Though the features are similar, the hardware is entirely different, so you’re stuck with whatever version your vehicle came with.

SYNC 4 vs SYNC 4A
System Screen Orientation Dashboard Integration Available Screen Sizes Adaptive Dash Cards Feature Bar Status Bar
SYNC 4 Horizontal In-Dash 8” and 12” No Yes Yes
SYNC 4A Vertical Floating 12” and 15.5” Yes No Yes

Screen Designs and Sizes

The most obvious difference between SYNC 4 and 4A is how their touchscreens are integrated into the dashboard. The SYNC 4A systems have a vertically-aligned screen that floats in front of the dash. The design is similar to the Tesla Model Y, which isn't surprising given that SYNC 4A debuted in the 2021 Ford Mach-E (a direct competitor to the Model Y).

The SYNC 4 system is horizontally-aligned and seamlessly integrated into the dashboard. Aside from larger screen sizes, it looks a lot like SYNC 3, sitting alongside the air vents and other control knobs and switches.

SYNC 4 systems come in both 8-inch and 12-inch screens, while SYNC 4A systems come in 12-inch and 15.5-inch screens.

Touchscreen Features

The biggest functional difference between the two systems is that SYNC 4A features new adaptive dash cards, while SYNC 4 lacks this feature. Instead, the SYNC 4 system has a feature bar similar to the one in SYNC 3 that the 4A system doesn’t have. Both SYNC 4 systems have a status bar at the top of the screen.

You can learn more about these features in the next two sections.

SYNC 4 Touchscreen Layout and Controls

The SYNC 4 Touchscreen is divided into two sections. The main area is to the left. This shows the details of whatever feature you’ve selected on the feature bar. On the right is the Information on Demand section.

Main Screen and Feature Bar

For the SYNC 4 system, the main way to navigate its features and options is by using the feature bar. Pressing the icons will display information for each of these options on the main screen.

  • Audio - Your music and entertainment options including radio, SiriusXM, Bluetooth, and USB.
  • Phone - Where you’ll be able to see and access your contacts as well as make and receive calls.
  • Navigation (Optional) - If equipped, this is where you’ll access the built-in navigation for directions and points of interest.
  • Favorites - A customizable menu where you can store the features you use the most as easy to access tiles.
  • Apps - Where you can access your SYNC AppLink apps like Pandora, iHeartRadio, FordPass, and more.
  • Settings - Where you’ll adjust vehicle and SYNC-related settings, like your screen display, ambient lighting, system updates, and personal profiles.
  • Features - Takes you to vehicle-specific features and settings, like driver assistance options and exterior lighting, as well as your digital owner’s manual.

Information On Demand

The Information on Demand section shows a secondary app function in addition to what’s on the main screen. For example, you could have your music controls on the main screen and your GPS running off to the side, or vice versa.

To change which function is displayed, use the arrows at the bottom of the screen to scroll through your options. You can swap what information is on each section by dragging the Information on Demand card to the main area.

You can double-tap some Information on Demand cards to get a full-screen view. Simply tap the button on the far right to switch the view back to normal.

Status Bar (On Both SYNC 4 and 4A)

Whether you have a SYNC 4 or SYNC 4A system, the top of the screen will be dedicated to the status bar. The bar gives important information about your vehicle’s features and is divided into two areas: The “Status Area” on the right, and the “Action Area” on the left.

Status Bar Information
Symbol Meaning
Picture of slashed-out microphone Cell Phone Microphone Muted
Picture of slashed-out speaker Audio System Muted
Wifi symbol WiFi Connected
cellular strength bars with an R in front Cell Phone Roaming
Two conversation bubbles Text Received
emergency icon with slash through it 911 Assist Off
bars in order from smallest to largest Cell Phone Network Strength
Action Area Information
Symbol Meaning
system update symbol with a clock beside it System Update Activating
system update symbol beside a lock Additional Consent Needed
Vehicle Update symbol with a bell beside it Vehicle System Activation Reminder
A line with an arrow pointed to it System Update Installed
System Update symbol with an exclamation point beside it System Update Not Successful
A larger system update symbol System Update Reminder

SYNC 4A Touchscreen Layout and Controls

The SYNC 4A system features a vertically aligned touchscreen with a physical dial for system volume. The top portion of the screen is where you’ll find the status bar. On the right hand side, you’ll see the same status info you’d find on the SYNC 4’s status bar. You’ll also see a picture of your vehicle in the far left corner and an Apps Drawer button in the center.

The Vehicle Drawer

Selecting the image of your vehicle will open the “Vehicle Drawer.” This is where you’ll be able to access the Controls and Settings menus.

The Controls menu lets you select drive modes, parking and driver assist features, and more.

The Settings menu is where you can adjust all your preferences for sound, display, network, phone, updates, etc.

Mach-E gauge sceen
Sync 4 Settings screen
Mach-E Driving Modes

The Apps Drawer

The center icon opens your “Apps Drawer,” where you’ll find a collection of SYNC features like audio, phone, navigation, and the owner’s manual.

At the top, you’ll see a bar beside your profile where SYNC will suggest the apps you use the most at different times of the day.

The app you select in the Apps Drawer will show up on the main screen. You can also customize the Apps Drawer icon with a custom image if you’d like.

A picture of a SYNC 4 A screen with the app drawer open
The App Drawer

Main Screen

The main screen area will display whatever app or system functions you have open at the time. For example, if you’re using navigation, it’ll be dominated by a large map view. Likewise, if you’ve got the radio on, you’ll see options for AM/FM, seek buttons, and presets. If you decide to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead of SYNC, the main screen will be overtaken by those interfaces.

Adaptive Dash Cards

The middle portion of the screen is for adaptive dash cards. Adaptive dash cards display underneath the main screen. The adaptive dash cards function much like the feature bar does for the SYNC 4 system. But instead of being a simple icon that takes you to the feature menu, some aspects of each feature can be controlled by the dash card itself.

Adaptive dash cards make it possible to hang up the phone, play your music, and check out your trip data without ever changing screens. The tiles will change based on the features you use most often.

The SYNC 4A screen with adaptive dash cards

Digital Climate Controls and Volume Knob

The bottom portion of the SYNC 4A screen is dominated by a physical volume dial with a power button in the center. On either side, you’ll find the climate system and temperature adjustments for the driver and passenger. You can turn the temperature up and down with a slider.

Underneath the volume dial is a bar that shows the settings and options for the climate control settings. Heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheels, fan speed, and window defrosters are all located here. This bar isn’t altered by switching to the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto displays.

SYNC 4 Steering Wheel and Voice Controls

Besides the touchscreens, SYNC 4 can be controlled via steering wheel buttons, voice commands, or physical dials for things like volume. SYNC is primarily designed to be a voice-based system though, as that’s the safest way to use it.

The steering wheel and voice control options are going to be the same for both SYNC 4 and SYNC 4A.

Steering Wheel Controls

Steering wheel buttons are available so you can easily access necessary functions. These include buttons to answer and end phone calls, mute audio, adjust volume, and seek through menus. You also have the voice button, which activates voice recognition. In addition to using the voice button, you can also use wake words to initiate voice commands.

SYNC 4 Steering Wheel Buttons
Button Icon Action
Voice Ford SYNC voice control activation button Activates voice recognition for voice commands.
Media Ford SYNC Media button Lets you select your audio source.
Seek Ford SYNC seek and arrow selection buttons Moves through menu options.
Volume Ford SYNC volume control buttons Adjusts the volume.
Phone Ford SYNC phone answer/end call button Brings up the phone menu. Can also be used to accept or end a call.
Ok Ford SYNC OK control button Confirms menu selections.

SYNC 4 Voice Commands

Natural voice control means that you no longer have to memorize uncomfortable phrases. Instead, your SYNC 4 system will try to understand what you need. You can simply say the FM frequency or satellite radio station name you’d like SYNC to turn to. Even phrases like “find me the cheapest gas” will return results.

Using the system more will help teach it your preferences, and over time its results will become custom-tailored to you.

Using Wake Words

Wake words are phrases that tell a device with voice recognition to “wake up.” “Hey Siri,” “Okay Google,” and “Hey Alexa” are all famous wake words. You don’t need to hit a button on an Amazon Echo device to tell it to play your favorite song, which is part of what makes it convenient.

SYNC 4 follows suit by allowing you to set up wake words.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Find the “Wake Words” option.
  3. Enable the Wake Words feature.
  4. Choose which phrase you’d like to use.

With Wake Words enabled, initiating voice controls will be as easy as saying “Okay Ford.”

Pairing Your Phone to SYNC 4

To use most of the features of SYNC 4, you’ll need to connect your phone via Bluetooth. This will let you use hands-free calling, texting, voice controls, and more.

To pair your phone, you’ll need to have your phone, vehicle, and SYNC system turned on. Your vehicle will also need to be in park.

  1. Enable Bluetooth through your phone’s settings menu. Make sure your phone is discoverable.
  2. On the SYNC 4 system, press the “Phone” button on the Feature Bar. For SYNC 4A, tap the vehicle icon in the top-left of the screen, select “Settings,” and go to “Phone List.”
  3. Press “Add Phone.”
  4. Scan for devices in your phone’s Bluetooth settings.
  5. Select “SYNC” when it appears.
  6. Wait for a six-digit PIN to appear on your phone and SYNC screens.
  7. Confirm that these two numbers are the same and your phone and SYNC will be paired.

After pairing, SYNC will walk you through downloading your contacts and setting up 911 Assist. You can do this later, but it’s easier to just set up your preferences now.

Hands-Free Calling and Texting

Once your phone is connected, calling functions the same as it would in any connected vehicle. During a phone call, your main screen will show the contact name and number. If you get a text message, SYNC can read it to you and you can dictate a reply.

In the “Phone” menu, you can access your saved contacts, favorite numbers, and a recent call list. You can also set up “Do Not Disturb” functions.

Phone screen pulled up on a SYNC 4A system

Downloading Your Contacts to SYNC 4

In past SYNC versions, downloading your phonebook or contacts list involved extra steps. With SYNC 4, it’s been baked into the phone pairing process.

When you first pair your phone to the SYNC 4 system, you’ll be asked if you want to download and update your contacts through your phone. You can simply choose the settings you want by following the prompts on your phone’s screen. You won’t need to change any other SYNC settings.

Turning Text Notifications On or Off

Sometimes text notifications may not display through SYNC due to your phone’s default settings. To fix this issue, you’ll need to adjust the settings on your phone.

If You Have an iPhone

  1. Go to your phone’s Bluetooth settings menu.
  2. Look for your vehicle under “My Devices.”
  3. Select the information icon to the right of the vehicle name.
  4. Toggle “Show Notifications” on or off.

If You Have an Android Phone

  1. Go to your phone’s Bluetooth settings menu.
  2. Look for your vehicle in the devices list.
  3. Select the gear icon next to the vehicle’s name.
  4. Toggle the setting for text message notifications on or off.

If you’re using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you’ll be able to use the messaging apps associated with those products.

text messages on a SYNC 4A screen

911 Assist

In the event of an airbag-deploying accident, 911 Assist alerts local first responders using a paired phone. If the primary phone is disabled following the crash, the system will try any other phones it’s been paired with.

If this feature is triggered by accident, then you will have the option to override and cancel the call.

The 911 Assist feature defaults to off and must be turned on through the “Settings” menu. If the 911 Assist feature is turned off, you’ll see a small alert in your status bar.

Entertainment with SYNC 4

Most of the audio options for SYNC 4 are the same as previous generations. AM/FM radio are standard, and SiriusXM is available with subscription. You can also use apps through either Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or SYNC AppLink.

Swapping between these is easy. When you select the audio icon from the feature bar you’ll be taken to a new menu. There, you’ll see all available sources. If you have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto set up, they’ll appear in the same block. In SYNC 4A, just use your Apps Drawer.

Setting Up Radio Presets

If you already know your favorite stations, then you should set them up as presets. Having presets makes it easier to switch between the stations you enjoy.

To set a preset, just press and hold the preset button while you’re on a radio station you like. You’ll hear the audio temporarily fade. That indicates that your preset is saved.

Unlike SYNC 3, SYNC 4 allows you to save your favorite radio stations to the same bank of presets regardless of whether they’re AM, FM, or satellite.

SiriusXM 360L

Sirius’ new XM subscription platform has a lot of new features. In addition to new content and some exclusive channels, there are new personalization options.

If you share your car, then one neat feature is the ability to set up individual listener profiles. This is especially valuable since Sirius now works to provide recommendations that are based on what you’ve been listening to. This feature helps Sirius compete with popular apps like Spotify and Pandora.

Satellite radio can be paused and rewound on the SYNC system. You’ll also see a bell icon appear on songs as they’re playing. If you’re really enjoying a particular song, hitting the bell icon will alert you when that song plays in the future, even if it's on a different station.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Though the SYNC system has a lot of benefits, many prefer an interface they’re already comfortable with. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay give you access to many of your phone’s apps with an interface you know. And now with SYNC 4, they work without a wired connection to your car.

In SYNC 4A, the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto screens only take up the main screen area as well. All the adaptive tiles, climate controls, and other SYNC features remain in place. In SYNC 4, you’ll still keep your Information on Demand screen as well.

Apple CarPlay shown on a SYNC 4 System

Once you’ve got Apple CarPlay or Android Auto setup, you can also use their voice commands. If you hold the voice button down, instead of pressing it, it will switch over to Siri or Google assistant.

Many people use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for calls, messages, music, and navigation. You can replace almost all SYNC functions with more familiar ones if you’d like.

SYNC AppLink

SYNC AppLink allows you to launch some apps through your SYNC system. You still need to download the apps to your phone to access them. If you don’t download any apps, then only the FordPass app will show up. AppLink gives you access to lots of apps including Pandora, iHeartRadio, Acast, Cityseeker, Ford+Alexa, and many more. To see a complete list of the apps available, check the Ford SYNC AppLink Catalog.

To launch AppLink, select “Apps.” In SYNC 4 systems this will be one of the icons located on the feature bar. For SYNC 4A systems, select the Apps Drawer from the top of the screen.

A screen with round app icons pulled from SYNC 4

For many, AppLink ends up feeling redundant with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The main advantages to using AppLink are that you don’t have to switch between UIs and all of SYNC’s features remain accessible.

How to Personalize Your SYNC 4 System

The “Settings’ option offers basic settings as well as more vehicle-specific options. Using the “Settings” menu, you can create a truly personal feel for your ride. For the SYNC 4 system, the “Settings” icon on the feature bar will take you to this menu. For SYNC 4A systems, you’ll have to tap the Vehicle Drawer icon in the top left of the screen, and then select “Settings” next to “Controls.”

Change the Display Settings

SYNC 4 and 4A systems give you quite a few options for adjusting the color and brightness of your screen. Through the display menu you can opt for “dark” or “light” modes. Dark mode is easier on your eyes, especially while driving at night. There’s also an auto setting that will switch between the two depending on the time of day.

If you’re worried about being distracted by the screen, you can also swap to the “Calm Screen” setting. The calm screen minimizes the information shown while you’re driving. You can even turn the display off.

Picture of SYNC 4 in dark mode on top of SYNC 4 in light mode

Set Up Driver Assist Features

Most new vehicles will be equipped with some form of driver assist technology. These features help you stay in the center of your lane, monitor your blind spots, and can adapt your cruise control settings based on surrounding vehicles. But driver assist technology that’s too sensitive, or not sensitive enough, can be irritating or unsafe.

SYNC 4 lets you adjust the sensitivity of the driver assist tech so that it’s helpful, not annoying. You can also tie these settings to an individual profile if multiple people drive your vehicle.

Create Personal Profiles

If you let someone else drive your car frequently, then personal profiles will help make your individual driving experiences more enjoyable.

To set up a personal profile, just select the “Personal Profiles” option from the Settings menu. Personal profiles will remember individual settings for temperature, radio, ambient lighting, and even seat positions.

You can also tie driver settings and restrictions through MyKey.

Create a MyKey

MyKey lets you program one of your key fobs to have certain restrictions and preferences any time someone drives with it. It’s a feature that is especially appealing for people with teenagers. You can set a top speed restriction, limit radio volume, and prevent drivers from turning off safety features like traction control or 911 Assist.

In order to reset a MyKey, you’ll need the administrator key. Without an administrator key, nothing can reset a MyKey. Not even a master reset.

Over the Air Software Updates

SYNC 4 is the first SYNC system where software updates can be done automatically without WiFi. No more USB drives or trips to the dealer required.

Vehicles with SYNC 4 and 4A will receive software updates directly via the onboard modem using the FordPass Connect Service. This service is complimentary for remote features excluding WiFi hotspot. You can also download the updates by connecting your vehicle to a WiFi network.

Either way, as long as you have Automatic Updates toggled on in your System Updates settings, your SYNC system will download and install updates in the background. Automatic Updates are enabled by default in the settings menu.

If you’d prefer to not have your software automatically updated, then you can turn them off. You can also still get updates installed at your local dealership if that’s what you prefer.

Connecting to a WiFi network is your best bet to make sure your vehicle can reliably download SYNC updates.

How to Connect SYNC 4 to WiFi:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select the “Connectivity” option.
  3. In the “Connectivity” menu you’ll find an option for “Manage WiFi networks.”
  4. You can either view the available networks or add a network if your WiFi is hidden.
  5. Select the desired network.
  6. Enter the network password to connect.

Schedule Updates

Sometimes, updates can take a while or require the vehicle to be turned off to install. Fortunately, you have the option of setting an update schedule to download and install the updates when it’s convenient for you. Just make sure you’re able to reliably connect to AT&T’s network (for Ford Connected Services) or your WiFi network wherever you plan to do the updates.

Screen for scheduling SYNC 4 Updates

How to Setup Your SYNC 4 Update Schedule

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select “System Updates.”
  3. Tap on “Schedule Updates.”
  4. Select a day of the week and time that works for you.
  5. Save your settings.

You’ll get a notification before any software updates are actually installed. This allows you to adjust if your schedule changes.

If for some reason you’re driving during your scheduled time, your vehicle will wait until you’re parked before updating.

If you want to see if your system is up-to-date, you can check the “Update Details” In the “System Updates” menu.

For SYNC 4, Ford has added more functionality to their navigation systems with help from Inrix and Garmin. Inrix provides relevant information in real-time. Thanks to this data, SYNC navigation can show you the nearest parking spots, their costs, and update you on parking garage vacancies.

Because of the natural voice command functions, you also don’t have to worry about remembering specific commands. You can just say an address and get turn-by-turn directions. With the Connected features, you’ll even get weather and traffic updates, as well as restaurant reviews. For electric vehicles like the Mach-E, you can also find nearby charging sites to top up your battery.

Navigation on a SYNC 4A screen
SYNC 4 Navigation displaying parking information
nav showing narrow bridges and weight restrictions

Connected Navigation vs Connected Built-In Navigation

Depending on your vehicle, you can choose between Connected Navigation or Connected Built-In Navigation. They're both optional upgrades, and the cost varies based on the vehicle and if they're grouped into any packages.

The major difference between the two options is that Connected Navigation gets all its GPS data from cell service. If you can’t get a cell signal, you won’t be able to use your GPS. Connected Built-In Navigation has its own GPS unit inside the vehicle, so it can still provide map data and directions even without a cell signal.

"Connected" refers to the fact that both options can receive live traffic, construction, parking, and weather updates via cell service. It’s a lot like the extra information provided by the SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link apps from SYNC 3.

Connected Navigation comes with a 90-day free trial subscription. After the trial period, you’ll need to subscribe via FordPass to continue getting maps, directions, and other live data. Connected Built-In Navigation includes three years of complimentary Connected service.

SYNC 4 Connected Navigation Options
Option Trial Period Ongoing Cost
Connected Navigation 90 Days Monthly Subscription
Connected Built-In Navigation 3 Years Only Pay for Map Updates

Towing Navigation

If you tow frequently, you likely know the frustration of planning a trip. Just because the GPS says a route is good, that doesn’t always mean it’s good for trailers.

But the SYNC 4 and 4A systems took that into account. You can set up a trailer profile and get trip recommendations and alerts based on that. That means advanced notifications for bridge weight limits, narrow roads, and obstacles you may want to avoid.

You can even get recommendations for trailer-friendly rest areas along your route.

Third-Party Navigation Options

You don’t have to use the default SYNC navigation system if you don’t want to. And if your system didn’t come with built-in nav, there are still plenty of options through SYNC AppLink, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

SYNC 4 Third Party Navigation Options
System Waze Google Maps Apple Maps
SYNC AppLink
Android Auto
Apple CarPlay

Waze

One of the most popular third-party map apps is Waze. Waze is a community-sourced navigation app where users can add info about the roads around them, like speed traps or accidents. Notice a construction site? Add it to the map so others can avoid the area.

Unfortunately, because it is a community-sourced app, there’s no oversight for information quality. If there aren’t a lot of users in your location, information might not be up-to-date. Other cities have struggled with Waze sending significant traffic down roads set up for local use only, causing accidents. Just ask your neighbors if Waze works well in your local area.

When you first open your navigation system, you’ll have the option of using Waze instead of the SYNC data. You can also use Waze through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or SYNC AppLink.

Google Maps

Another popular navigation app is Google Maps. This easy-to-use app is available on Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You can use voice commands with Google Maps to safely adjust the volume settings, traffic information and routes. You’ll also be able to use voice search, which makes it easy to enter addresses and change destinations.

Google Maps isn’t a native SYNC application, but it can be launched from Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Apple Maps

If you use an iPhone, then Apple Maps is probably your default navigation app. It’s not that different from Google Maps or Waze. You’ll find lots of similar features, like voice commands, adjustable volume, and route options. You’ll also see easy to interpret icons for red lights and speed cameras.

Apple Maps is only accessible through Apple CarPlay.

Getting the Most Out of Your SYNC 4 System

SYNC 4 has a ton of useful settings and features, but there are a few that will help you get the most out of this innovative infotainment system.

Use Your Digital Owner’s Manual

One of the least talked about but coolest features of SYNC 4 is that it includes a digital owner’s manual. Besides housing all the information found in the traditional owner’s manual, there are several other benefits.

  • It’s searchable. Simply type in what topic you’d like to see info on and it shows up. You can use keywords or look through images if you don’t know the name of what you’re looking for.
  • It’s got how-to videos. You can stream step-by-step instructional videos from Ford directly on relevant manual pages.

Digital guide for the 2021 F-150

To access your digital owner’s manual, select the Features tab on SYNC 4 or the Apps Drawer on the SYNC 4A system.

Download the FordPass App

The FordPass app connects your phone to your car when you're not in the vehicle. Through the app, you can remote start your vehicle, lock and unlock it, plan trips, and check for trip details.

SYNC 4 offers a new feature through FordPass for electric vehicles: Power My Trip. This special feature shows charging stations, charging times, and other factors that might affect your range through the navigation system.

Set Up a WiFi Hotspot

All vehicles that have SYNC 4 or 4A are also “Connected” vehicles. That means they have a built-in cellular modem you can use to create a WiFi hotspot. You'll need to buy a data plan to use the full extent of your vehicle's connected capabilities, though.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Find “Vehicle Hotspot.”
  3. Select “Settings” again. From here, you can see your hotspot’s network name and password.
  4. Make your hotspot visible.
  5. Select the network from your mobile device’s list of WiFi networks.
  6. Enter the network password to connect to the vehicle hotspot.

The very first time you connect, you’ll be taken to a portal that will prompt you to purchase a vehicle data plan.

Once you have a data plan, you can use your vehicle’s hotspot to power all of your connected devices. If you’re worried about data usage, you can find details about that in the Vehicle Hotspot Settings menu.

Don’t Forget to Change Your Network Details

For safety, you should change your hotspot’s network name and password periodically. To do this, simply select edit and “Change Network Name” from the Vehicle Hotspot Settings menu. When you save the name you’ll be prompted to change the password as well.

Troubleshooting SYNC 4

If you're having trouble with your SYNC 4 system, it usually comes down to a syncing issue between your phone and the system, or out-of-date software. Here are some steps you can take to fix a glitching SYNC 4 system.

Restart or Re-Pair Your Phone

If you start having difficulty with your SYNC 4 system, the first thing you should do is restart your phone. This can help reestablish the Bluetooth pairing, which is what fuels most of your SYNC 4 features.

If that doesn’t work, you should try unpairing and re-pairing your phone.

Make Sure Your Phone, Apps, & SYNC Software Are Updated

If you’ve tried restarting and re-pairing your phone, then the next thing to try is updating your software. Your phone, app, and SYNC software should all be updated to the latest version.

SYNC should be receiving over-the-air updates, so make sure it’s still connecting to your WiFi network during your scheduled update time. You can double-check to see if updates are available through the system settings option.

Perform a Master Reset

As a last resort, you can try a master reset on the SYNC system. A master reset erases all the info from your SYNC system. That includes your contacts, texts, paired devices, and saved addresses.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select “Reset.”
  3. Select “Master Reset.”
  4. Wait about 10 minutes for the system to restart.

After a master reset, you’ll need to reselect all your setting options and re-pair any phones you plan to connect.

The Newest SYNC

As the newest SYNC system, SYNC 4 combines some of the best features from the previous generations. You can easily personalize it, but it also allows you to automate features like software updates. You can also opt to use the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay interfaces if you prefer those. The touchscreen is responsive and attractive, and the layout makes sense.

Ford is likely to make changes and updates to SYNC 4 over time as they continue to refine the technology. Be sure to bookmark this page for the next time you have questions about your SYNC 4 infotainment system.

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About the Author

Meghan is a Classic Mustang geek with a soft spot for four-eyed Foxes. She has over 300 in-depth articles to her credit that have been cited by some of the top news sites in the US. Read full bio →

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.

Ultimate Guide to SYNC 4

In 2021, Ford launched the new SYNC 4 infotainment system. With new features, settings, and options, here’s how to get the most out of your SYNC 4 system.