Microsoft Ford Sync, iPhone 3.0 OS and bluetooth streaming (Sweet!)

I just accidentally found out that the new iPhone 3.0 OS has given me the ability to stream music from my iPhone to my car stereo. Quick review – if your car stereo and your phone is paired, then it should be easy.

  1. Give your sync the voice command “bluetooth audio”
  2. Press the play button on your iPhoe

That’s it. Of course if you haven’t paired your phone yet (why haven’t you), you’ll have to do that first.

The good: The sound quality is quite good.

The bad: There is no text support and you’ll have to switch songs, playlists, albums, etc through the iPhone itself.

The ugly: Your battery life after running your phone on 3G and streaming music wirelessly.

The two images below show you what the iPhone screen looks like while streaming.

More information about Ford Sync by Microsoft at Syncmyride.com

  • Mark

    I was disappointed in the lack of tesxt support too, but If you hit the voice command button, you can say “play”, “Pause”, “next track”, “previous track” to run the ipod on the iphone. The problem I have is that there are ‘skips’ in the audio feed. It sounds as if someone hits pause, then hits play again a half a second later. This happens about every 45 seconds to a minute. Is it the iphone or the Ford Sync? Does anyone else have that problem?

    • Tom

      Tom I have the same condition of skipping.This is the reason I am on this site. Any input from anyone will help

    • http://www.facebook.com/dougwachowski Doug Wachowski

      I"m having the same issue, Mark.

  • Brian

    Originally Posted By MarkI was disappointed in the lack of tesxt support too, but If you hit the voice command button, you can say “play”, “Pause”, “next track”, “previous track” to run the ipod on the iphone. The problem I have is that there are ‘skips’ in the audio feed. It sounds as if someone hits pause, then hits play again a half a second later. This happens about every 45 seconds to a minute. Is it the iphone or the Ford Sync? Does anyone else have that problem?

    Yeah! I have this same skipping problem. I was totally stoked to be suddenly surprised by bluetooth streaming support, but the skipping is more than annoying. What’s even more annoying is that the bluetooth streaming overrides the USB, so when you try to play tracks through the USB, there is NO sound (unless I’m missing something here). Any help on getting this taken care of would be huge!

    • Spencer

      Brian – I haven’t had any issue using my USB connection with connection. Just use the media button or give the voice command “USB” and my iPod starts playing.

      When I first started using the bluetooth streaming, it would autoplay whenever I started the car – regardless of what was playing when the system was last played. I turned off auto playing and then turned it back on while in the USB mode (so that the USB player will autoplay). Seems to work fine now.

  • Spencer

    I can confirm this problem – I got a good run with it in my car and you’re right, like every 45 seconds or so if clips. I wonder if if this is a problem with any other bluetooth audio systems?

  • Kevin

    I’ve also experienced this skipping as well. I’ve heard rumors that it happens with Sync version 1.2, but 1.3 is supposed to fix it. I tried upgrading, but I screwed it up somehow, so I’m not 100% sure which version I’m on now. I’m taking it into the dealer tomorrow for other issues, and I’m going to ask them to upgrade the Sync to version 1.3 to make sure. We’ll see if that fixes it.

  • Spencer

    Originally Posted By Kevin
    I’ve also experienced this skipping as well. I’ve heard rumors that it happens with Sync version 1.2, but 1.3 is supposed to fix it. I tried upgrading, but I screwed it up somehow, so I’m not 100% sure which version I’m on now. I’m taking it into the dealer tomorrow for other issues, and I’m going to ask them to upgrade the Sync to version 1.3 to make sure. We’ll see if that fixes it.

    This reminds me – I did upgrade to the most recent version, but the dealer screwed it up and it didn’t take. I’ll let everyone know when I have them do it again.

  • Ellen

    Spencer, how did you turn off autoplay?

  • Spencer

    Assuming you have the non-navigation system, while the bluetooth is streaming, there’s a selection, I believe under the system settings menu to turn off autoplay (hit the menu button and scroll until you see system settings, hit ok, scroll until you see advanced (I think), hit ok, scroll until you see Autoplay, hit ok, scroll to turn autoplay off.)

    I’m doing this by memory, so I apologize if I screw up the location of the menu selection. If you also use a traditional iPod, then switch to the USB source, and then turn the autoplay on for it).

    Let me know if it works.

  • http://www.larryhymes.com Larry

    with Bluetooth audio playing > menu button > media menu > media settings > auto play (last option) > toggles on/off

  • Keith

    I too have the skipping problem. I called Sync Tech Support, and was told Apple was aware of the problem and was working on a fix. I called to confirm with Apple (Tech Support) and the rep from Apple said this was the first he has heard of any such problem. I just upgraded to the latest Sync version, and still skips . . .

  • Spencer

    When you say latest version – do you mean the dealer installed version that includes the 911 Assist?

  • Keith

    I have installed Sync version 3.0, which gives you the new Services features (traffic, directions and information). This version also includes 911 Assist.

  • BB

    Same skip problem here, I’ running Iphone 3.0 and synk 1.3, still skip, In order to fix it I have to turn it off then on ( the Iphone) and it gets solved (sometimes). I wrote Syncmyride.com and they told me that the problem it’s apples.

  • Keith

    Does anyone know how we might collectively report this issue with Apple, so that then they might start working on a fix? As I said above, their Tech Support reps (on their 800 Support line) are saying they know nothing about this problem, per a search of their Support KnowledgeBase.

    Also, it would be really interesting to know if anyone out there is able to bluetooth audio from their iPhone to Sync, and not have the consistent skips. Thanks.

  • Spencer

    I think another interesting question is whether or not the issue is noticed when streaming to other bluetooth audio devices. Anyone?

    I think posting a message to Apple’s discussion group makes sense as well as do the same with Microsoft.

  • Zoe

    I found out about the media stream by accident also after updating my iPhone. I get the skipping. I also am not able to use the wheel controls or radio controls to change songs. I contacted Sync and they said to upgrade Sync and reboot the phone and reinstall my bluetooth connection. Did not work. I have an ’08 so my Sync is updated to 2.0 and my iPhone 3G has the current update. Maybe this is just not meant to be?

  • Emmster

    Same skip problem here. Glad to hear it’s not just me. I don’t think my husband’s phone (not an iPhone) has that skip problem in my car, so it sure does sound like it’s Apple’s problem.

  • Zoe

    I went to the Sync site and printed out the tested media players sheet. Under iPhone is says that it does not support the wireless playing. It obviously works somewhat, but with skips and without radio controls what is the point. The whole point of the steering wheel controls and voice commands is so we arent screwing around with our MP3 players while driving. Oh well.

  • Spencer

    The radio control is an Apple thing – Apple only opened up streaming with OS 3.0 – controlling is not possible through any bluetooth device.

  • Aaron Corneail

    Same skipping problem here. I am using Sync version 2.0. The bluetooth audio works fine with my bluetooth headset but skips with Sync. Wouldn’t this suggest it’s a Sync issue? I am using a Jabra BT8040 with no skipping.

  • Duncan

    Skip is probably due to something pushing data to the phone. I am going to try disabling Push, Wifi, and Navigation services. Skip on mine is every approx. 25 seconds.

  • Duncan

    Settings did not help, but I have fixed it.
    What I had to do was hard reboot my iPhone. Hold Power and Home button till Apple logo appears. No skipping! Too much stuff running in the background I suspect, so the skip will come back with extended use of phone. Iphone 3G here. I suspect the 3GS will not be (as) affected.

  • Zoe

    I rebooted too, per the Sync help people. I even downloaded the Sync update and reinstalled my bluetooth. No good. I have a 2008, could it be that it only works on the newer Sync systems, 09-10? And I have a 3G phone.

  • Keith

    I have the newer Sync v3.0 in my 2010 Fusion, and still get the consistent skips. I have the iPhone 3G also.

  • Laurence

    reported the skipping problem to Apple, a tech tried everything over the phone with me. Apple is aware of the problem but not willing to face up to it. Funny thing happened after much fussing with apple I connect my phone to the wife’s Ford Flex and it played flawlessly as long as if I did not Sync any of the other features (i.e. phone book and calling history) I will reinstall my 3G to my Ford focus but not Sync all the features. Look for update tomorrow

  • Marshall

    I noticed the skipping problem with my 3G phone and sync, skipping about every 30 seconds. I upgraded to a 3GS and now the skipping is at 3 minute, 30 second intervals.

  • Michael Orlando

    I have an iPhone 3Gs (16GB), and I installed an Kensington Liquid AUX bluetooth A2DP adapter in my car, fed to the line in port. I ALSO have the same problem as described above, the phone will skip when playing music about every 20-1:30. The audio just drops out for about a second, the song does not actually stop playing. I can switch between the built in speaker and bluetooth A2DP and the speaker has no issue playing smoothly.

    Furthermore, I have TWO bluetooth devices paired with my phone, one is the device above, the other is my built in handsfree device in my car. The phone will switch and use the correct device and have no problem with the handsfree profile.

    I was able to reset the phone using the “hold power and home for 10 seconds” and it worked after I did it twice, but only for a little while. I have gotten it to stream for over 15 minutes with no skips, so there is hope.

    Looks like the root of the problem is the phone.

    This is the post of my install for more details: http://www.landoblog.com/2009/07/bluetooth-a2dp-in-my-tiburon/

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  • http://higgaion.heardworld.com Christopher Heard

    Brian wrote: “What’s even more annoying is that the bluetooth streaming overrides the USB, so when you try to play tracks through the USB, there is NO sound (unless I’m missing something here). Any help on getting this taken care of would be huge!”

    On your iPhone, enter iPod and look at the bottom right (I think) for a little Bluetooth symbol. It should be near the back/play/skip buttons. Tap that to bring up a window where you can select the output (speakers, SYNC, headphones, etc.). For USB you want “Dock Connector.”
    .-= Christopher Heard´s last blog ..Signs of the times =-.

  • Craig R

    Chris … you are right. Every time I start up the car, the ipod starts playing and the Bluetooth always overrides the USB. I don’t want to use the Bluetooth! I want to use the USB and I don’t want it to start playing unless I direct it to. Very annoying!!

    • Jill

      Craig, did you ever figure out how to keep the ipod from coming on every time you start the car? I have a new Ford Edge and an iPhone. It does the same thing. I have to manually turn off the ipod every time I get in the car. If not, it runs my battery down on my phone!!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/speener speener

        Something changed the last time I updated my sync os. Used to be able to turn off autoplay for just the Bluetooth device individually of a wired iPod but no longer.

        Anyway – if you turn off autoplay, it shouldn't start playing automatically.

  • Albert

    Same problem with skipping – iphone 3G with 3.0.1 software and newest sync in a new 09 Mercury Mariner. I got it to work when I first bought it about a month ago – lasted at least 10 – 15 mins but that was all – now about every 30 seconds it skips. We can’t even get an iphone to play audio to our cars, or a computer that doesn’t crash – no way we’re getting the cool flying cars or hoverboards from the Jetsons at this rate!!!

  • Tampa Bo

    I have a 2010 Ford Focus. I get that annoying skipping deal while using my iphone. I used to use my ipod mini in my old car via FM transmitter. Until I can get the skipping fixed can I use a ipod and Bluetooth at the same time?

  • Bryan

    I didn’t read every response but for those of you have skipping problems, try unpairing and re-pairing the device. A co-worker had the same trouble. He upgraded to the latest synce load and still sipped. After unpairing and re-pairing, problem is gone. He uses an iPhone 3G.

  • Billy

    Skipping is related to the 3G checking for emails.

  • Chris

    I have a 3Gs and a 2009 Frod Flex… not sure about which software, but the iphone is 24 hours old :) and i have no skipping, but the USB when I plug it into the the phone says the iphone is not meant to be hooked up through there???

  • Randy

    A SYNC rep told me that disabling WiFi can help cure the problem for some. If that doesn't help, I would try disabling other things just to zero in on the cause.+

  • Jack

    Mine works great with 1.3 sync on my 2008 for focus, but when i plug in the USB my phone says its not meant to work with this device, and the IPOD says dock connector, and won't let me access skip, pause, buttons… and the audio still doesn't come out the car stereo even when its set to dock connector.

  • Matt

    3Gs and 1.3. No skipping and USB works fine for me. I get that warning, but if I click okay, it works per normal.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/speener speener

      It's not the USB sync people have issues with, it's the bluetooth connection. That's where the skipping is.

  • J.Adams

    I disabled WIFI on my 3g and SYNC 2.1 and it worked great, then I thought what happens if I turn back on WIFI…but just disable "ASK TO JOIN NETWORKS"…. that was it !!! now I can still get on my "preferred networks" and BlueTooth streaming works.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/speener speener

      This has been working for me since I upgraded to sync 2.1.

      Sent from my iPhone

  • Georgy

    I tried my iphone 3gs (version 3.0) and it does NOT skip. But with iphone 3g (with update 3.1.2) and sync 1.0 it skips….

  • Georgy

    I tried my iphone 3gs (version 3.0) and it does NOT skip. But with iphone 3g (with update 3.1.2) and sync 1.0 it skips….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/speener speener

    Same for me – no issues with skipping since I upgraded Sync 2.1 and iPhone 3.1 (or whatever the latest is). I still get intermittent skips, but nothing like what I was getting before.

  • marc

    I concur with the above i.e. I disabled "Ask to Join Networks" on the iphone settings. Bluetooth steams without any skips !!! Yipeeee !

  • Russ

    I get the skipping problem on my Iphone but not on a blackberry, so I think it's an apple issue

  • Patrick

    I agree w/ duncan. Sounds like there is another phone operation that is momentarily taking precedence over the bluetooth streeming audio. Could be push from e-mail, sync w/ address book, phone checking for available 3g connection etc. The thing that I cnat stand is that my ipod feature starts auto playing as soon as I turn on the Truck. Thanks to Spencer and Larry for pointing out a fix.

    By the way I use a 2Ft mini plug to the headset jack to control my Ipod while I'm driving. ( only at stops and while parked of course)

  • jason

    the 3gs has no skipping. Its apples problem.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/speener speener

      Definitely Apple's problem – I think the 3G was too overburdened to stream via bluetooth. My iPhone 4 doesn't have a problem with this.

  • Jeff

    I am getting the skipping about every 30 seconds with my 3rd gen ipod nano over USB. SyncMyRide chat says it is a known problem with some ipod models. A soft reset did not fix it. Guess it is time to upgrade to a Zune!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/speener speener

    So I purchased the new iPhone 4 – and the skipping is gone. I've used it for hours without a problem. This leads me to believe that my 3G just didn't have the bandwidth to handle Bluetooth streaming along with all of the other phone functions.

  • Dan

    I have upgraded my IPhone 3GS to the IOS 4 and since then my phone no longer works through the USB connection. Bluetooth still works seamlessly, but I liked the USB connection simply because it kept the phone charged. Now it wont even charge via the usb. Is anyone else experiencing this? AT&T nor Mac has heard of this problem, so they say!

  • Diane

    I have an IPhone 4 sync with my 2010 Ford Edge. I tried to select messaging on my car and it tells me that is is not supported by my device. Does anyone know about this?

  • Brent

    I have the newest version of the iPhone. How do I get it to send text messages through sync?