Do You Know How to “Pair” a Cell Phone to a Bluetooth Vehicle System?

Today an auto owner needs to learn how to “Pair” a cell phone to a Bluetooth hands-free phone system in order to show that they are embracing technology. Nowadays a driver needs to be tech savvy! Your friends may ask, “can you pair a cell phone to the Bluetooth system?”

So open your minds to the new technologies and let’s use this lesson to learn how to do this task.

Ford Motor Company has the Microsoft Sync in most of their vehicles now. These instructions are for a non-navigation Bluetooth system found on the Ford Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Escape, Explorer, Expedition, F-150, F-250 and F-350.

First, let’s look at your cell phone. Is it Bluetooth compatible? To find out, go to the phone’s main menu and look for the toolbox, the settings or the connectivity folder. Then look for the option that says “Bluetooth” and set it to on. We’ll come back to this setting in a moment.

Sync will NOT pair a phone while a vehicle is in motion. Plan on doing this procedure while parked in the driveway. Turn the vehicle on and turn your radio on. On your steering wheel you will find some toggle buttons. One will have a mouth (let’s call it the “Voice” button), another will have a phone icon (let’s call this one the “Phone” button). On the other side of the Phone button will be another button with the word “OK” on it. This button is used to confirm certain commands. On top center of most dashboards will be an LED screen that will tell you the radio station settings and the phone settings or menu. On the center console will be the radio on/off and volume know, as well as the tuning knob. Other buttons will pertain to CD, AM/FM, Sirius or AUX. You will also find corresponding Phone and OK buttons.

Usually when you push Phone icon on the steering wheel (or on the dashboard), if no phone is paired and active, it will tell you “No Phone Found” on the LED screen in the center of the dash and ask “Do You Want To Connect One?” or “Add a Phone?” or “Add a Bluetooth device?” then hit the OK button. The system will prompt you with the statement “Press OK to begin pairing a phone.”

This starts the Sync system searching for active Bluetooth devices. Go to your cell phone and find the commands to make your phone “Search for a device to add.” Some phones will have additional functions for Discoverability. Be sure to set the phone to be in the “Visible” mode. The vehicle’s Sync system will show a 6-digit PIN code. Look at the cell phone display, if it has discovered Sync, it will prompt you to select this device. The cell phone may ask the question, “Do you want to connect to Sync?” Tell the phone to “pair” with Sync. It should then prompt you to enter the 6-digit numeric code displayed on your dashboard LED screen. Then hit enter or OK on the phone. Within a few seconds the Sync system should respond with a successful pairing notice. Sometimes the cell phone will respond with the question, “Do you want to pair with Sync?” Respond with OK on the phone.

The Sync system will ask if you want to make this phone the Primary phone. Press the OK button if you want this as a Primary, otherwise, use the tuning button to switch the dashboard screen from showing YES to NO, then press OK. On some Ford vehicles Sync will then ask to you want to set the 911 Assist ON. Just press the OK button on the dash or steering wheel to accept, this is a valuable safety application.

Just a note, when you push the Phone icon, it will display the Phone Menu on the dash LED screen. Use the Tune knob to move from topic to topic. Press OK to go to that function. Press OK again to affirm that command. Use the tuning knob to move from Yes to No, and so on.

So, back to the Pairing Process… Next, Sync will ask if you want to Download Phone book. Press OK. Sync does not have a hard drive that it stores your contact information with. This process allows Sync to “index” your contacts so that when you call out your contact’s name as you’ve saved in your phone book it will find it. Sync can hold up to 2,000 phone contacts and the download process may take several minutes. When finished, the dash unit will respond with “Download Complete.” Then you can push and hold the Phone icon for three to four seconds and the system will go back to the radio functions. You are now ready to make and receive phone calls.

Push the Voice button, the voice of Sync system will come on and state “Sync, state your command.” After the tone, reply with “Phone.” The system will say “Phone, state your command” Then say “Call (contact name)” and use the name of one of your phone contacts as you have it saved. For example, “Call John Smith.” If the system recognizes the contact it will respond with “Calling John Smith.” Sometimes the system will respond with a question, such as “Call John Smith, on Cell, on Work or at Home?” Just let the system know which one you want to call.

Or, you may push the Voice button and say “Phone”, the system will say “Phone state your command.” Then say, “Dial.” The system will, like an operator, ask you what number, just tell it the whole number in a steady pace in a normal tone. The system will repeat the number. If correct, then say “Dial” and it will call the number. If the number is incorrect, then say “Cancel” and start the process again.

Watch the road while driving and speaking. Adjust the radio volume knob to better hear your side of the conversation. If the person you are speaking too complains that they cannot hear you, then make sure windows are closed to prevent outside noises. Also, by turning up the volume on your cell phone, it increases the sensitivity of the vehicle’s Sync microphone.

When you’re finished speaking, press and hold the Phone icon button for at least three to four seconds. If you are driving and the phone rings, you will see a Caller ID on the dash LED screen to let you know who’s calling. If you want to answer, just give the Phone icon a quick, definite press and start speaking. If you don’t want to receive the call, just press and hold the Phone icon for three to four seconds.

As a note, the Sync system is a “Voice Activation” program. The system cannot differentiate three-letter words. Mom, Tom, and Ron sound too similar for the system to correctly interpret. You may want to revise your phone’s contact list and change “Dad” to your Dad’s first name, or maybe, “Papa John” – this way the system won’t struggle so much with short names.

This system has to be used for you to better understand it. So give it a try. In time you will get used to the hands-free phone system. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will offer more details on using the system.