Understand how voice commands work

Nearly every SYNC® with Voice-Activated Navigation feature can be simply activated with voice commands. You can use your phone, play music, and access many other SYNC features. Of course, you're still able to use the touchscreen and buttons surrounding it when you prefer them to voice commands.27

Voice command modes

SYNC with Voice-Activated Navigation works like a remote control for multiple devices, such as your Bluetooth®-enabled phone or USB media player.  Since SYNC controls many systems, it needs to know which system you want to interact with.  To make it clear to SYNC which system you need, the first part of a command is the "mode."48

The command mode can be communicated to SYNC in different ways, for example which entertainment system is active. However, with some voice commands, you must tell SYNC which mode you want and wait for the prompt ( > ) before telling it the task you want to complete. 

Voice Command Formulas


Modes and Tasks


(AM/FM radio,
USB/SD Card,
Bluetooth Audio,
CD player)34
If the system is playing, say only the task: 

Ex.: "Tune FM 107.7"
Ex.:  "Play artist Beethoven"

If the system is not playing, say the mode and the task:

Ex.:  "Radio" | pause | "Tune FM 107.7"
Ex.:  "USB" | pause | "Play artist Beethoven"
Phone For calls, say the task only:

Ex.:  "Call John at home."

For text messages, say the mode "Messages":

Ex.:  "Messages" | pause | "Listen to text message"
Climate Always say the mode, "Climate":

Ex.: "Climate" | pause | "Temperature 68 degrees"
For SYNC Services say "Services," then follow the voice prompts129
To initiate a Travel Link connection, say "Travel Link," then follow the voice prompts

Understanding how SYNC signals

SYNC uses four tones to signal important transitions in the voice dialogue.



Chimes SYNC acknowledges your request; the voice session has started
Single Tone SYNC is ready for you to speak
High pitched, positive tone SYNC had heard you successfully
Low pitched, negative tone SYNC can't hear the command, or the command is invalid

SYNC also uses five icons to communicate the status of the dialogue (in lower left corner of touchscreen).

The best way to speak to SYNC

  • Enter contacts into your phonebook with both first and last names to increase the system’s ability to select the correct contact 
  • Ensure the vehicle interior is quiet (e.g., windows are closed, passengers aren’t making noise)
  • When you speak, tilt your head in the direction of the SYNC microphone
  • Speak in a smooth, confident, and natural voice, avoiding “ahhs” or “umms” 
  • Say all words in a command in the correct order, for example, say “Phone” before giving phone commands, and "Radio" before giving radio commands 
  • Say all names and titles exactly as they are listed on your devices; if your phonebook entries show last name first, say last names first when giving phone commands


SYNC is listening for your command


SYNC is paused and can’t hear you 

Try Again

SYNC couldn’t understand your command   


SYNC has completed your command


SYNC didn’t hear a valid command in time and ended the voice session