Ford Authority

Poll: What Are Your Thoughts On The Vertical Sync 4A System?

Ford Authority has covered Ford’s latest Sync 4 operating system extensively in recent months, including its basic features and how to use them. That coverage also includes Sync 4A, which is exclusively used on models that have vertical infotainment screens, such as the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E that Ford Authority is spending some time with this week. And that had us thinking – what, exactly, do our readers think about the vertical Sync 4A system?

Currently, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Ford Edge come equipped with Sync 4A, while the 2022 Ford F-150 Lighting, 2022 Ford Expedition, and 2022 Ford E-Transit will soon join those models. Meanwhile, the Ford F-150, Ford Bronco, and Ford Super Duty offer the regular Sync 4 – designed for horizontal infotainment screens. Sync 4 is closely related to 4A, as the names suggest, though there are a few notable differences between the two.

Both Sync 4 and 4A feature available enhanced conversational voice recognition, cloud-based connectivity, Ford Power-Up software update capability, wireless Sync AppLink, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and customizable touchscreen options. However, 4A adds adaptive dash cards and automatically places frequently used dash items at the top of the screen.

Adaptive dash cards are interactive cards that take the place of traditional menus, that allow users to do all sorts of things such as pause or skip songs directly by using the audio card, operate the GPS navigation, and make calls or hang up the phone using the hands-free communication card. Dash cards are personalized based on which ones owners use the most, as well as the ones that were used most recently, while the card currently in use will appear at the top of the screen for easy access.

If nothing else, Sync 4A is certainly different, as are the vertical screens present in select new Ford vehicles. Thus, we’re curious to hear whether our readers prefer a traditional horizontal screen, or vertical screens running slightly different software. So be sure and vote in the poll below!

We’ll have more on Sync soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

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Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Thurston Munn

    When are they going to address distracted driving with these big screens ??

    1. Chris

      I agree

  2. Jen

    The vertical screen displaces physical buttons to the screen, don’t like it!

  3. Ed Newman

    Ordered it for our 22 Expedition. Wish it had more features or apps. Seems silly to have to install a separate dash cam when the truck already has cameras and a computer (sync) which could record it.

  4. eRock9202

    I really dislike the move to larger screens. I’m happy my Escape’s screen is only 8″ big and has a dark color scheme mode, but I still have to turn it off at night some times because the LED screen strains my eyes. Looks like I’m going to have to buy fabric to cover the screens whenever I buy a new vehicle in the future.

  5. Michael \"Pappy” Harvey

    That’s exactly what turned me off about Tesla’s. No big screens for this Potential Customer.

  6. Tommy303

    I didn’t like it in my Mach-E GT. The navigation screen seemed too condensed and while in the HOME screen part of the entertainment choices would be missing because they all didn’t fit. Furthermore, there’s too much empty space around the edges, the cameras weren’t large enough, (also condensed instead of filling the screen) and have you ever tried to adjust the temp/fan speed while driving down a less-than-perfect street? If we can’t make a return to physical knobs, can the volume knob be used for other features; changing functions via the dial’s center power button? The old Sync 3 system with knobs worked MUCH better.

  7. Drew (Ford retiree)

    I don’t like it for the reasons already stated (loss of physical buttons, distraction, and night glare), plus the disappointment of frail/small fonts on such a large screen.

  8. Mike (Curtis) Taylor

    I don’t like the larger vertical screen sticking up above the dash, much prefer the horizontal.
    Will be ordering my new 2022 lighting soon & like the Lariat but will likely get the XLT because I don’t like the larger vertical screen (doesn’t look correct for a truck) on the lariat & platinum!

  9. Steve Miley

    I like the big screen. To bad my 2020 Edge doesn’t have it. I wonder how much the upgrade would cost

  10. Eternalwinter

    Not a fan of the larger vertical screens either. Have an Explorer with one and it looks out of place in the dash. Functionally, the home screens should be able to be programed to what the user uses most. Having the Nav on the top of the home screen all the time is a bit silly. Should have made it just a little smaller to flow with the interior. between that and the “island” in the center of the windshield (rear view mirror, driver watcher, and forward looking apparatus) the view to right of the vehicle is from the drivers position is limited/broken up and reduced.

  11. Explorer ST

    I like the vertical screen in my ST. I do wish it was a bit more integrated seamlessly into the interior. However, I wish there was more customization within the UI so I could tailor it to my liking. Having shortcuts and ability to rearrange things would have been nice. I guess those are some of the limitations associated with SYNC 3.

  12. John

    Why do so many cars make the center screen look like an add-on?

  13. Mondo

    Love it but Just Wish the screen was horizontal or adjustable between either orientation

  14. Steve Reed

    This is my second Ford Edge, had a nice 2013 with the original sync and I have to say——Ford has regressed with their new sync 4A. Seriously Ford, who do you have designing your software? This new version of sync is a huge distraction and labor intensive to perform the simplest tasks. It takes two, sometimes several more presses on the screen to perform the most basic tasks, such as changing anything on climate. With the 1st sync, you could use voice commands to do several functions, changing temp, fan speed, where you want the airflow to come out, etc.. sync 4a, you can only change temperature!! So, not only does Ford make the software more distracting, labor intensive, they take away your ability to use an alternative like voice control. And the map! Did it cost extra for a little color? That stark white is ridiculous. And the font!! I have 20-15 vision and I still struggle mightily to read street names! Again, these maps are a step backwards to the point of being unsafe. If I had known how poorly this screen and software were designed, that would have been a deal breaker for me.

  15. Zach

    The bigger screens are ugly, I don’t need an ipad slapped to my dash. Just because Tesla did it doesn’t mean it’s cool. I’m in the process of ordering a 2022 expedition stealth and specificly making sure I get the smaller screen and physical buttons

  16. John

    I absolutely hate it! It will be fully of fingerprints in no time. Here’s some advice for Ford when designing dashboards:
    1) The display should never be above the dashboard line. I love my 2020 Escape interior except for that ugly little display that sticks out above the dashboard line. It looks like an afterthought.
    2) It’s hard to reach behind the display without bumping your arm into the stupid little TV monitor (screen).
    3) The display makes it difficult to put up sunscreen shade because it is sticking up so high.
    4) That oversized screen will collect so much dust if you’re out in the woods. It will look even worse than fingerprints.
    5) It’s an additional drain on the battery to power the oversized screen.
    6) It looks very wimpy. Give me dial knobs and buttons.
    7) It’s very distracting to try to fiddle with the controls while you’re driving. It’s actually a safety hazard.
    8) At least delete the screen from XLT and lower trims.
    9) Take a look at 2022 Chevy and GMC dashes to get some ideas on designing dashboards.
    10) The display will break probably right after the warranty ends. Then it’s going to a major expense.
    11) The problem is that a bunch of young millennial engineers are designing your dashboards. The ones that constantly fiddle with their cellphones.


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