CarPlay Ford Sync 3 Intermittent CarPlay Connectivity

dwfaust

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 3, 2011
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I have been experiencing an intermittent failure of CarPlay to launch/connect to my 2020 Ford Escape Titanium. My wife has a 2019 Ford Edge w Sync 3, and it never fails to connect/launch CarPlay as soon as the phones are plugged in. I have tried two iPhones (my Xs Max and her iPhone 11), multiple cables - Apple OEM and Anker MFi of varying lengths... and I cannot seem to solve the problem. There are no firmware updates for Sync 3 on the Escape... but it continues to fail about one out of 5 or 6 attempts.

Interestingly, once it fails, there is nothing I can do to make it connect during that trip... but if I shut the car off, run into a shop (or whatever) for as little as 5 minutes, it connects perfectly the next time.

Even when the CarPlay functionality fails to launch, Sync 3 successfully connects to my phone for use with the Sync 3 system - so I can make/receive phone calls through the Sync 3 interface... but no CarPlay functionality (navigation, messages, music apps, etc).

Neither Ford nor Apple has been any help in trying to resolve this issue - both blame the other... has anyone experienced similar? If so, have you been able to solve the problem?
 

bransoj

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2013
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Out of interest have you tried your phone with your cables in your wifes Ford Edge? If it works properly every time in there then you know its an issue with the software on your car and it probably needs a software update\reinstall as such to sort it.

It almost sounds like it fails, gets stuck and when you stop and restart the car its rebooting the software on the car as such so it works again for a while.
 

dwfaust

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 3, 2011
6,013
6,798
Out of interest have you tried your phone with your cables in your wifes Ford Edge? If it works properly every time in there then you know its an issue with the software on your car and it probably needs a software update\reinstall as such to sort it.

It almost sounds like it fails, gets stuck and when you stop and restart the car its rebooting the software on the car as such so it works again for a while.
I have long suspected that it's the head unit, as it's the only new piece in this puzzle. And in my experience, shutting off the car for a longer period of time (can't say how long, but much longer than just stopping and then restarting immediately) does seem to clear the issue when it happens - but when I get in my car, it's typically because I have somewhere else to be, so I cannot usually afford to just shut it off and wait.

I have tried the same cables/phone in my wife's Edge, and they do work as expected. Likewise, nothing has changed (phone/iOS/cables) since I got the Escape... and they worked almost flawlessly with my previous car (Mazda MX-5 with aftermarket Alpine ILX-107). I have suspected that the issue is the Ford Sync 3 head unit all along. I could count on one hand the times I've had connectivity issues with both the wife's Edge and the Alpine head unit over the past 12-15 months.

With all of that said, suspecting the head unit in the Escape and being able to get something done about it are to different things. Neither Ford nor Apple are willing to 'own' the issue and provide more help than blaming other things - Ford points to the cable and the phone; Apple blames the car or an aftermarket (Anker) cable.

I did manage to find a sequence for manually rebooting the Sync 3 unit, and will try that the next time it happens. If anyone is experiencing similar and wants to try the reboot process, you have to press and hold the VOLUME/POWER button and the NEXT TRACK (>>|) button for 5 seconds.
 

bransoj

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2013
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274
I think you can be pretty sure its the software\head unit in the Escape thats the issue, i see both cars have Sync 3 so are they on the same software version? I suspect there is a way of checking. If possible i'd be rolling up at the dealers and trying to replicate the issues to show them its the head unit in the Escape.

Car Dealers are a pain in the backside when it comes to fixing things...if its any consolation my Vauxhall Insignia, would be a Buick Regal in the US, went into the dealers on the 12th December for a problem with it randomly going into limp mode that has been traced to a throttle pedal issue. I've not got the car back yet and no sign of getting it back any time soon. Apparently 1200+ cars across the UK with the same problem and no parts to fix them.
 

dwfaust

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 3, 2011
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I think you can be pretty sure its the software\head unit in the Escape thats the issue, i see both cars have Sync 3 so are they on the same software version? I suspect there is a way of checking. If possible i'd be rolling up at the dealers and trying to replicate the issues to show them its the head unit in the Escape.

Car Dealers are a pain in the backside when it comes to fixing things...if its any consolation my Vauxhall Insignia, would be a Buick Regal in the US, went into the dealers on the 12th December for a problem with it randomly going into limp mode that has been traced to a throttle pedal issue. I've not got the car back yet and no sign of getting it back any time soon. Apparently 1200+ cars across the UK with the same problem and no parts to fix them.
Yeah, I checked version numbers and the Edge is Sync 3 v3.3, build 19052... the Escape is Sync 3 v3.4, build 19200... there is currently no upgrade for either the Edge or the Escape... so I just have to deal with this... not even the dealer can do much if both devices are up-to-date with the software version. Of course, they can do the diagnostics to ensure that there is no other issue (bad parts, wiring issues, etc)... will continue to fight with them and see what happens.
 

dwfaust

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 3, 2011
6,013
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Just an update... the issue happened again this morning... and I used the reboot keypress sequence on the radio (hold Volume/Power and Next Track >>| for 5 seconds)... the radio rebooted, and CarPlay connected... frustrating issue, but at least there is now an effective work-around.
 
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