Ford’s Sync 4 brings bigger screens and over-the-air updates
The next-generation Sync infotainment system plans for the future
Since Ford’s Sync infotainment system debuted in 2007, it’s gone through serious changes to make it more effective at playing your favorite podcasts while guiding you to the nearest Taco Bell. Now Ford’s rolling out the biggest change yet for 2020: Sync 4. The next-generation Sync system will bring over-the-air updates, massive infotainment screens and a stronger focus on voice commands than previous iterations.
Screen size might be the most obvious change for Sync 4: The smallest 8-inch screen will carry over from Sync 3, but two new screens will make their debuts with the system. The two larger screens will come in 12-inch and 15-inch formats, with the biggest screen doing away with physical controls — save for a massive dial used for volume control. The larger screens will be loaded with new features, the best feature being the customizable displays. The smaller 12-inch unit has one customizable panel, while the larger screen has six different “cards” or app previews that you can cycle through. Oh yeah, and cloud-connected native navigation and streaming SiriusXM 360L will be better with the big screen.
Cloud-connected? Yeah, the new system will be constantly connected to the internet. This allows up-to-date traffic information and over-the-air updates to come right to you, without having to connect your car to a Wi-Fi network. While the live traffic information might be the most user-friendly addition to the Sync lineup, the over-the-air update could be the best.
With over-the-air updates, Ford has done something interesting for owners down the line. Software features that might not be present on your system, could be added (likely for a fee). The same goes for any features that don’t require any extra hardware. Ford also mentioned that possible software-related recalls could be repaired through this update.
Ford wants to make the updates and downloads to be as seamless as possible and not greatly affect the user experience, so you can help manage when the new updates will hit your car. So, you might have fewer problems with your future Ford than you did shutting down a computer from 1998.
Ford says Sync 4 will debut in 2020 but didn’t specify a vehicle or a specific time. Considering the new system is a significant hardware change over Sync 3-ready cars and trucks, it might not come to every product in Ford’s portfolio immediately. We can say for sure, it’s not coming to the Flex (RIP).