Sony DAB Radio

Update Ford Audio Bluetooth (with Download)

What It Is

The following guide and downloadable file will help you to update the Bluetooth, Voice Control and USB module in the following Ford vehicles. The release date was November 2012, and was the third publicly released firmware update. According to the Ford documentation the update is valid for the following vehicles and build dates:

  • Fiesta: July 2008 – December 2011
  • Focus: February 2008 – January 2012
  • C-MAX: February 2008 – January 2012
  • Kuga: February 2008 – January 2012
  • Mondeo: September 2008 – January 2012
  • S-MAX: September 2008 – January 2012
  • Galaxy: September 2008 – January 2012
  • Transit: from June 2009
  • Ranger: from April 2009

The Ford Ka is not compatible, because it’s a rebodied Fiat Panda/500 and uses their electronics.

The following instructions and Zip file used to be freely available from Ford at the address www.ford-mobile-connectivity.com as described in the audio system user guide. The website was taken down some time in about 2014, presumably for one of two reasons. Either people were messing up their radios and requiring dealership service, or they realised that they were missing out on a source of service revenue by giving away the updates. I’ll not speculate…

I’ve succesfully carried out the update on two different cars, my Mondeo with Sony DAB headunit, and my wife’s Fiesta with the more basic (orange dot matrix display). The actual Bluetooth/USB module is the same throughout the range, with the exception of a few models.

Please not that if your car does not have a USB port you will not be able to do the update, and the only way to get it is via a visit to the dealership.

What Do You Get?

There are several improvements to be gained from updating your Bluetooth firmware. The level will depend on the age of your vehicle, as models later in the run will have been shipped with more up to date versions. The major differences are:

  • Compatibility. My phone (Sony Experia Z5) wouldn’t connect reliably and take calls properly in my 2011 Mondeo. The update fixed that. The same for the Fiesta (a 2009 model) which wouldn’t connect properly to any smartphone.
  • iPod Useability. The original firmware required use of a special Y-cable, which connected to both the USB port (for control and track name display) and the 3.5mm Aux in socket (for analogue audio). The new version allows use of standard Apple 30pin-USB cables, with the car stereo doing the audio decoding from the digital stream.
  • USB Playback. Allows use of MP3s saved on a USB stick. I don’t know if or how well this worked earlier, I never tried until after updating.
  • Bluetooth Audio Streaming. The update adds compatibility for Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) or Streaming Music in English. This can also be used for Sat Nav directions through the speakers when using Google Maps on an Android device.

How Do I Do It?

  1. Put the kettle on.
  2. Download THIS ZIP FILE, which contains the Bluetooth firmware and voice control files in seven European languages.
  3. Unzip the files to the root folder of a USB drive. (i.e. not in an subfolder) The USB drive should NOT contain any music files, and for best results should probably be blank just in case.
  4. Make yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee and pick up a newspaper or magazine. This stage will come in handy later, trust me…
  5. Get in the car, and switch on the radio WITHOUT TURNING THE IGNITION ON. It may say something like 1 Hour Mode on the display.
  6. Insert the USB drive into the USB port. Depending on your car model this may be in the glovebox (Mondeo), centre console (Fiesta) or armrest. The stereo will display a message saying that no valid files were found to play. This is normal.
  7. Switch on the ignition until the dashboard lights come on (but don’t start the engine). Do this by turning the key to the second position, or pressing the Ford Power button without pressing the brake/clutch for keyless models.
  8. You should now see the message “Update running… Please wait! So now you wait. This is where the hot coffee and magazine come in handy, as the update takes around 20 minutes to complete, and you can’t go back in the house to keep warm because you’d be leaving the car unlocked with the keys in!*
  9. Once the update has finished the display will say “Update successfully finished”. The message doesn’t stay on the screen for long, so keep an eye on it. Once complete the radio will come back on to whichever station was playing before the update.
  10. If something goes wrong and the installation fails you will get a warning on the display. Again, it doesn’t stay on for more than a few seconds, so keep a look out. Just start the process again from the beginning and it will eventually complete.
*Whilst updating my Mondeo the car gave a Low Battery warning, and the radio shut off. I started the engine, and was amazed to see that the radio came back to life with the update still running. It had carried on even with the radio off (the bluetooth module is a separate box behind the glovebox area). I don't recommend relying on this method though!

Here is a very useful summary video. I didn’t make it, so claim no credit for it. It’s also out of date, as it shows the original website up and running, but the update demonstration is very useful if you’re not confident.

Video produced by iNath, over at Ford Owners Club

Any questions, feel free to comment below. Thanks for visiting my site.

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