Ford Mustang Apple CarPlay

Ford Mustang Apple CarPlay - featured image

Since 1965, Ford’s pony car has held a special place among car enthusiasts worldwide.

But has it changed to include modern conveniences? Does the Mustang offer Apple CarPlay?

Mustang supports Apple CarPlay for models with Ford Sync 3 starting from 2017, including the all-electric version. Setup is relatively easy, and most Mustang owners have little to no issues operating the infotainment system.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Ford Mustang Apple CarPlay.

I’ll explain how to set it up and give pointers on how to troubleshoot if it isn’t working normally.

Which Ford Mustang Models Offer CarPlay

According to the official Ford website, Apple CarPlay has been available for Mustangs since 2017. Connection to Apple CarPlay is via Ford’s in-vehicle communications system, Ford Sync. However, only vehicles with Ford Sync 3 or newer can run Apple CarPlay. 

Note that in most regions, Ford Sync 3 is only available for customers who purchase the premium trim. These are the specific Mustang models that offer Apple CarPlay support:

  • Ford Mustang 2017 onwards
  • Ford Mustang E-Bach (Fully Electric Vehicle)

Enabling CarPlay for Older Mustangs

Many people ask if it is possible to install Apple CarPlay on older Mustang models. Well, there’s certainly no place for it on a 65′ pony car, because you need an infotainment system to run the application. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, you need Ford Sync 3 to connect to Apple CarPlay. 

Ford offers upgrades to Ford Sync 3 (or newer) for Mustangs manufactured in 2017 or later. If your Mustang is older than 2017, there is no way of upgrading your infotainment system to enable Apple CarPlay other than opting for an aftermarket retrofit.

While this is probably not worth it for most people, it could be a good option to get additional features such as wireless CarPlay. 

Mustang Apple CarPlay Setup Guide

wired carplay connection for comparison vs wireless carplay

Once you’ve established that your Mustang is compatible with Apple CarPlay, here’s how to set it up:

  1. Firstly, access the settings on your infotainment system and enable CarPlay. Without this step, you will not be able to set up your Mustang Apple Carplay 
  2. Connect your iPhone to your Mustang via the Ford USB port. Only use a high-quality CarPlay Lightning-to-USB cable
  3. Once connected, the Ford Sync screen will show a prompt asking if you agree to set up Apple Carplay with the connected device. Tap “Agree”, and you’re all set. 

 

As you can see, Ford’s infotainment system makes it very easy to set up Apple CarPlay on your Mustang or other vehicles that support the service. 

If you’d like to make your connection wireless and more speedy the next time you use CarPlay, consider purchasing a wireless CarPlay adapter.

Troubleshooting Errors with Mustang Apple CarPlay

ford mustang with logo in frame - compatible with carplay

If your Ford CarPlay is not working, fixing these problems requires you to consider the following:

No Data Plan

In order for Ford Sync to function properly and connect to the CarPlay service, your iPhone needs internet access. More often than not, people tend to forget that they used up their data plan or have it turned off, which would stop Apple CarPlay from working. 

So, before you move on to more complex troubleshooting routes, check the internet connection on your iPhone (or other Apple device) to make sure that the data plan is still operating. 

You should also check that your data plan has enough bandwidth to cover the connection. For example, using Spotify via CarPlay will drain your data plan faster than using it to answer calls.

Data mast symbolizing CarPlay data usage
 

Connection Problems 

There are two connections that you need to consider when troubleshooting Apple CarPlay on your Ford Mustang.

  • Physical connection: Your Apple device is connected to Ford Sync 3 via Apple’s Lightning cable, which is a USB connection. If the cable is damaged or not plugged in properly, the physical connection between your vehicle and device is severed. This will certainly stop CarPlay from working. Another common one is lint or “fluff” in the ports; make sure to clean them out!
  • Network connection: Even with a good data plan, there are still some areas with the bad network coverage. In that case, you might experience temporary disruption in the connection, and CarPlay will stop working. Luckily, it will get back online if you drive into an area with better coverage. This is usually only a problem in rural areas. 

Privacy Restriction on Apple CarPlay

If this is your first time using CarPlay on your iPhone, there is a chance that the App is restricted. This is also possible if you are using a brand new Apple device, or recently upgraded/formatted your device. 

In any case, it’s easy enough to fix the issue. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to your device’s Settings.
  2. Click on Screen Time, then Content & Privacy Restrictions
  3. Make sure that Siri and CarPlay are under “Allowed Apps”

 

As I’ve mentioned earlier, you should ensure that CarPlay is enabled on your Ford Sync settings. Otherwise, removing the privacy restriction on your device is not going to help.

Software Updates

Although very rare, you might find that Ford Sync 3 or Apple CarPlay on your phone needs to be updated. Most of the time, these updates are automatic. However, if, for some reason, your device and vehicle fail to update their software, that could potentially stop Apple CarPlay from working on your Mustang. 

Usually, these updates are set to run automatically. But if there’s a glitch in the update process, you could find CarPlay isn’t working as per usual. Manually checking if there are any updates available for both your iPhone and your infotainment system will help you solve this issue. 

Final Thoughts

Mustang owners can enjoy convenient access to apps such as iTunes, Spotify, and other CarPlay apps. CarPlay is relatively easy to set up, so if your model offers support, consider using it. 

Picture of Alex
Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder StereoUpgrade.com
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