​Ford revs up Apple Siri for five million vehicles back to 2011

Owners of SYNC-equipped vehicles sold between 2011 and 2016 are getting Apple's Siri Eyes-Free in a software update available from Ford.

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Ford's software update integrates Siri-based voice recognition with SYNC-MyFord Touch connected vehicle features, such as the microphone and speakers. Image: Ford

Millions of Ford car owners across the globe will be able to activate Apple's iPhone assistant Siri with the press of a button on their steering wheel, thanks to a SYNC software update released today by the car manufacturer.

The software update, available through Ford's website, will enable Apple's Siri Eyes-Free feature in over five million vehicles equipped with its SYNC infotainment system.

SYNC is known in North America as MyFord Touch and the update is available for all SYNC-equipped models sold between 2011 and 2016.

The update, which targets Ford's customers who own an iPhone, integrates Siri-based voice recognition with SYNC-connected vehicle features, such as the microphone and speakers.

Once the update is installed, drivers will be able to activate Siri Eyes-Free with a long press of the voice-recognition button on the steering wheel, mirroring the action required to activate Siri on an iPhone.

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Siri Eyes-Free lets drivers use voice commands to get directions from Apple Maps, make calls to contacts, look up phone numbers, send and receive audio text messages, select and play music and ask about the weather.

"SYNC, Ford's entertainment and communications system, was designed to be flexible and updatable, just like other mobile technologies, so our customers are able to get the most out of their smartphones while behind the wheel," Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering director Sherif Marakby said.

"Siri Eyes-Free is another great voice-activated feature that not only adds convenience but helps our customers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel," he added.

Ford actually released an update to SYNC, version 3.8, in October that included Siri Eyes-Free support, AppleInsider noted at the time. MyFord Touch featuring Sync ran on Microsoft's Windows Embedded operating system and has been available in Ford vehicles sold in the US since 2011.

However, late last year Ford announced that its new SYNC 3 platform would instead be built on BlackBerry's QNX operating system and will support both Apple's Car Play and Google's Android Auto.

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