While Ford has yet to go all-in with Apple’s CarPlay in-dash system, it’s offering existing vehicles the next-best thing with Siri Eyes-Free.
The automaker is rolling out a software update that adds Siri support to vehicles’ existing voice recognition buttons. The update, available in all second-generation Ford Sync (or MyFord Touch) vehicles from 2011 onward, is available through Ford’s website.
Siri Eyes-Free is a three-year-old feature that lets users access a set of iOS voice controls without taking out their phones, usually through a button on the steering wheel. For instance, users can make phone calls, dictate text messages, get directions, look up points of interest, set reminders, and begin music playback.
Reports of Ford’s Siri Eyes-Free update first emerged in October, with some owners saying they’d already received the new software. Ford has now made it official.
Apple now offers a more ambitious take on in-car infotainment with CarPlay, which lets users plug in an iPhone and view a limited, driving-optimized version iOS on the dashboard. Although Ford is one of many auto makers that intends to support CarPlay, the company has said that it doesn’t want to give up its own Sync in-dash system, and is looking at ways to integrate the two offerings.
Why this matters: The lack of CarPlay support is a moot point for existing Ford owners, who have no way to add Apple’s in-dash system without installing an aftermarket solution. While repeat Ford customers might hope for tighter Apple integration down the road, at least they’re getting some added capabilities on their current vehicles in the meantime.