Ford Sync Update Won’t Install? [Here’s How to Fix]

The Ford Sync update won’t install with the wrong USB drive format. System errors, installation errors, extraction errors, INSTL errors, and Memory errors can cause the problem as well. A frozen touch screen, Bluetooth issues, incomplete file transfer, or improper hardware can also affect the update. 

But, that’s not all. Keep on reading to find out all the necessary details about Ford sync update won’t install

Ford Sync Update Installation Error- Reasons And Solutions!!

There’re a lot of reasons why you might face installation issues with the Ford sync update. Let’s get to know all of them in detail:

Reason 1: Wrong USB Drive Format

If the USB drive is in the wrong format, you’ll face installation issues. This is because your vehicle won’t be able to read the files in any other format. There’s specific USB drive partitioning for different versions of the sync. 

For example, Sync 3, 4, and 4A require a USB drive formatted in the exFAT file system. Older versions than the Sync 3 require a FAT32 file system USB drive.

Solution: Use exFAT And FAT32 System

The solution here is pretty simple. Use the right format depending on your Sync. 

In Windows 10, follow this process:

  1. Insert the USB drive into your computer and select ‘Start’. 
  2. Open ‘File Explorer’ and click on ‘This PC’. 
  3. Right-click the USB drive to select the format. From there, choose exFAT or FAT32. 

For versions before Windows 10, go to ‘My Computer’> USB drive> ‘Properties’ >choose exFat or FAT32. 

Finally, for Mac, open ‘Finder’. From there go to ‘Applications and Utilities’ > ‘Disk Utility’. From there, select the flash drive and erase it. Rename it and select exFAT or FAT32 from ‘Format’. Lastly, select ‘Master Boot Record’. 

Reason 2: Wrong Procedure

If there’s a mistake in the procedure, then of course, it won’t be able to install updates properly. The installation guide has to be strictly followed. 

Solution: Follow The Right Procedure Strictly

Here, follow this procedure step-by-step to correctly install the update: 

For Newer Model Vehicles (2017- Now): 

Step 1: Start up the vehicle and connect the USB drive. Make sure that the updated files are present on the USB drive. 

Step 2: Go to the Sync-settings from the ‘Menu’ option. Select ‘OK’.

Step 3: Go to install on Sync and confirm. The Sync will reboot for about 10-20 minutes. 

Step 4: Verify if the Sync is rebooted properly from the Sync settings and Info. If the update was done, the latest version will be displayed on the screen. Report the installation process to finish. 

For Older Model Vehicles (Before 2017): 

Step 1: Start the vehicle and keep it running for about 30 minutes. 

Step 2: Turn the Bluetooth in your phone off. Then, connect the USB drive with the Update files in the vehicle’s USB port. 

Step 3: Press the phone button on the Sync screen. Then, go back and press ‘Ok’. 

Step 4: From the ‘Advanced’ option, press Ok. Then, go to ‘Install Application’ and select ‘Ok’ as well. 

Step 5: The Sync will display the message ‘Install Application?’. Press Ok.

Step 6: If the update is done, it’ll take about 15-20 minutes to reboot the system. 

Step 7: After the Sync has updated successfully, press the Menu option on the screen to exit installation mode. Then, you can remove the USB drive. 

With that, you’re done with the update. 

Reason 3: System Error

Sometimes, there might be a random error in the system that causes the update to fail. 

Solution: Install Again

If the update procedure fails due to a random error, then, just simply redo the steps. Delete the Update files from the USB drive and download them again. Then, reinstall the Sync update. The update should complete successfully. 

Reason 4: Frozen Touch Screen

The touch screen might get frozen while updating. It’s a common problem with Sync 3. It may happen due to some software bugs in the system or corrupted data. Lastly, too many apps running in the background can also freeze the touch screen.  

Solution: Reboot System

The solution here is to reboot the whole system. Just hold the power button and forward-skip button at the same time. The screen will turn off. Then keep on pressing the two buttons. After 10 seconds, the screen should come on with the Ford Logo.

With that, your system will be rebooted. The touch screen should be working again and you’ll be able to update the Sync. 

Reason 5: Incomplete Transfer of Sync Files

‘Windows error 0x80004005’ occurs if the transfer of update files to the USB drive is unsuccessful. Thus, the Sync update fails. 

Solution: Download and Transfer Again

Delete the Update files from the USB drive and your computer. Download the Update files again and transfer them to the USB drive. Be sure that the transfer process is complete. Then, you can try to update the Sync. 

Reason 6: Sync Files Extraction (LST) Error

Sometimes there might be an error while extracting the Sync Update files. This is called the ‘LST error’. The extraction process can go wrong if the downloaded files are corrupted or in an incompatible format. 

But if the update files and the format are OK, the extraction process itself might be the problem.

Solution: Use Unarchiver App Or Windows Explorer

First, make sure that the files are proper and in the right format.  Then, for Windows, you can use the Windows Explorer. And, for Mac, you can use the Un-archiver app.  

For Windows, follow this process: 

  • Open File Explorer and locate the zipped folder. 
  • Right-click the folder to select ‘Extract All’ and follow the instructions provided. 

For the Unarchiever app, you can use the built-in Archive Utility, Keka, or the Unarchiever. The process is similar for all of them. 

Here, simply select the files in sequence and right-click to access the flyout menu. From the Flyout menu, select ‘Open With’ to select the Keka app. It’ll extract the files for you. 

Reason 7: Slow USB Stick Read Speed

Normally, it takes about 30-35 minutes to update the Sync. But, some users complain it takes too long to update the Sync. 

The most common reason for this problem is using a slow-read-speed USB stick. It’ll read the Update files comparatively slowly, and the update will take longer. 

Solution: Use Fast USB Sticks

The solution here is to simply use a faster USB stick for the update. 

For example, you can use a Kingstone USB 3.0 or a Corsair 3.0 exFAT drive. Theoretically, every 3.0 USB should provide the same speed. But, these are especially recommended by users for their quality. 

It’s also recommended to do a dull format on the USB drive before putting the installation files in it. 

Reason 8: Bad Installation File Error

It’s quite a common error while installing Sync updates. It’s a system master setting error. 

Other than corrupt and incompatible files, it can happen due to interruptions in the installation process. For example, network connectivity and device disconnections. 

Solution: Master Reset

To solve this problem, you’ll need to perform a master reset. Then, the system will return to its factory settings. Here’s how you can do a master reset on Sync 3: 

Step 1: First, park your vehicle and ensure the ignition is on. 

Step 2: Go to the ‘Settings’ option in your Sync screen. From there choose ‘General’. 

Step 3: Scroll down to find the ‘Master Reset’ option. A message will appear saying if you want to confirm the reset. Press ‘Continue’. 

The system will turn off and the screen will go blank. Then, the system will reset in a few minutes. Now you can try to update the Sync again. You can also visit the Ford official website for master reset instructions for different Sync models.

Reason 9: Memory Error Message

It takes some time to start the installation process. If you remove the flash drive before the installation starts, this error will occur. It’s also called the ‘mem_003’ error. 

Solution: Master Reset

Here again, conduct a master reset in the same manner for your Sync model.

Reason 10: INSTL Installation Error

The INSTL error represents a factory setup error. You’ll get the error message while updating. Here, there’s nothing you can do as a customer. 

Solution: Contact Dealership

The only option here is to contact the dealership. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and fix it. 

Reason 11: Update Not Compatible

Sometimes the Update just isn’t compatible with your vehicle model. Some users have complained that they can’t update the Sync from 3.0 to 3.4. It’s because their vehicle hardware doesn’t support Sync 3.4. 

Solution: Ensure Right Hardware

If you don’t have the right hardware for a Sync version, there’s nothing you can do. Rather than going for an update, make sure which Sync version is right for you. You can check the Ford official website to see which Sync version you need. 

Basic Necessities for Ford Sync Update

For a smooth update, some requirements need to be fulfilled. For example:

  1. During the whole update, make sure there are no interruptions. 
  2. The flash drive you’re using has to be at least 8 GB and partitioned to the right format. 
  3. Lastly, you’ll need the VIN number. Provide it during the update to ensure the correct update files are installed. 


Why Isn’t Ford Sync Working After Update? 

The Sync might not work after the update because of a cell phone malfunction. You can try turning the phone off and on and removing its battery if possible. Verify that the microphone for the Sync isn’t off. If some contacts stored in the sim are missing in the Sync, try moving them to your cell phone. 

What Is The Latest Ford Sync Version?

The latest Sync version available is Sync 4. It has a bigger screen size of about 8 to 12.5 inches. Also, unlike Sync 3, it allows complete wireless access. It is currently used in vehicles like the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, Bronco, F150, etc. 

Does Sync 3 Have GPS?

Yes, the Sync 3 has GPS. It uses Ford’s satellite navigation system. With it, you can reach your destination while constantly monitoring traffic updates. 

Bottom Line!!

Hope you enjoyed reading our article about the Ford sync update won’t install.

Still, there’s something you need to know. If Sync doesn’t understand what you’re saying review the cell phone voice commands.

Thanks for reading the whole article.

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.