CarPlay is an awesome functionality that I have wanted since it was launched. I have used iPhone since its launch in 2007 and when Apple announced CarPlay I was extremely excited. Recently I purchased a 2016 F150 and unfortunately, the 2016 lineup did not include Apple CarPlay at launch. After doing some digging I found a video on YouTube that showed that I could get this functionality installed on my truck with a simple piece of hardware and while this started me down the right path, I wanted to share my process as I am sure many others have tried and failed due to some of the same issues.
The video I found on YouTube went over the process and made it seem to be as simple as installing a different USB module into the center console of the truck. While that is a part of the process, it is not the complete process. The issue I ran into required two things, one – I would need that USB module, and two – the Sync 3 Version installed in the truck was very out of date. The software version that was installed was Version 1.0. CarPlay and Android Auto were added in Version 2.2, and the current (as of 2019-07-09) build of Sync is Version 3.
When following the basic video process, I ordered the part (HC3Z-19A387-B) on Amazon, and immediately on receiving the part I attempted the quick install and was greeted with an error message saying something along the lines of “USB Hubs are not supported”. I was frustrated, but continued to research.
What I noticed was the software version in the video was something long the lines of Version 3.0, and when inspecting my software, I saw that the version was Version 1.0. I read online about how to update, and that the system has the ability to automatically update when connected to WiFi, so when I returned home from work I connected the system to WiFi and waited for a bit. Nothing happened so I turned the truck off and went in to eat dinner. When I came back a bit later and turned the truck on it read that it last checked for updates to Sync on the current date, and approximately an hour earlier. Nothing had changed though.
I then began the process of going to owner.ford.com and downloading the update to a USB drive, then forcing the update. Nothing again. After this failure I got on a chat with Ford and after a bit of conversation the issue that I ran into was that the Mac Archive Utility unpacks the updates from the Zip file incorrectly. When using the software recommended by the Ford provided instructions (Stuffit Expander – found on the Mac App Store) the files were structured correctly after being unzipped. After redoing the USB stick setup, I plugged the drive into the USB ports again and the Sync System immediately began the update. The system will let you know in the black bar at the top of the screen when it is updating.
From there, the system added better App support right off the bat, but still did not allow CarPlay. Looking online, Android Auto would work at this point, however, there is an issue with the stock USB module that came on this model year that causes the Apple CarPlay support not to work. At this point I installed the new USB Module again and plugged in my iPhone and immediately was given the CarPlay prompt screen.
At this point it was only a matter of clicking the Continue button and from there, I was shown Google Maps on the CarPlay screen.
Overall, the process was not too bad, and definitely is better than buying a new head unit, or living without the functionality altogether. The truck does not have built in Navigation, and while it is not something I would have used (built in navigation usually lacks when compared to Google/Waze/etc), having navigation by either Waze, or Google Maps, built into the vehicle is a massive feature. In addition, having access to everything from messages, to the phone, without having to use the phone itself while driving is a huge help.
I do not know for sure whether this is an issue on other Models from the 2016 Lineup, but definitely look into this if you have a 2016 Ford that doesn’t support CarPlay or Android Auto. These features are huge, and definitely worth an hour or two of time.
- Goto owner.ford.com and follow their process to upgrade Sync Software past Version 2.2 (Update it to most recent version)
- Install part HC3Z-19A387-B (Able to be ordered from Local Ford Dealer for ~$60-80 (I bought the part on Amazon, but to ensure you receive the correct part, I would recommend going through Ford directly)
- Plug in iPhone
- Accept the Sync/Carplay prompt