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I recently had the chance to sit down in an F-150 and demo it's 12in Sync 4 infotainment system from head to toe. I was pleasantly surprised! The truck isn't just about its rugged good looks or its ability to haul and tow it's rated 13,900 lbs (XLT 3.5l twin turbo ecoboost w/max tow package); it also has an equal level of technology built-in, particularly its advanced infotainment system. Let me dive into the nuts and bolts of what makes the Ford F-150 XLT's tech tick, particularly with the upgraded 12-inch touchscreen on this 2021 XLT. Note this is meant to be a quick summary of what I walkthrough in the video above. Be sure to check out the video for the full details.

A New Era: Sync 4 System

The new generation of F-150 has taken a significant leap from its predecessor by incorporating the Sync 4 system. It's a a considerable upgrade over the Sync 3 system. The first thing that I noticed is an immediate difference in speed. The Sync 4 system isn't just faster though; it's now capable of operating across Ford's full range of touchscreens, including the massive 15-inch screen available in some F-150 models and lightnings.

Navigating through things like maps, music sources, settings, and truck features is incredibly responsive with little to no lag – it's just a more powerful system and great upgrade over the previous systems in the past. As it should be!

Navigating the Interface

We thought that one of the unique aspect of the Sync 4 system is its departure from the traditional home screen. Instead of having a dedicated screen that acts as a ‘home', it springs to life showcasing the last audio source or feature you engaged with. Whether you're a CarPlay user, an Android Auto aficionado, or someone who sticks to the built-in system, the interface greets you with familiar content right away. I think this is great for getting out of the truck to go to the store, grab food or fill up the tank and then getting back into the truck and picking up exactly where you left off on the head unit without lifting a finger.

Split Screen and Info Cards

A standout feature of the Sync 4 system that I personally love is its split-screen functionality, coupled with what are referred to as info cards. This cool design allows you to navigate through various truck features on the right side of the screen via ‘cards' without leaving the main screen on the left. Check out the video where I demonstrate this.

Whether you're looking to activate the bed camera, mess around with the multi-zone lighting features, or access the navigation – everything is available at your fingertips without having to navigate multiple steps deep in the interface. It's a great feature that adds a both safety and convenience while you're driving. One of the cool features I used it for was to display the bed camera to see the trailer I was towing, while using my Google Maps app on Apple CarPlay simultaneously.

Over-the-Air Updates and Connectivity

Another awesome addition to the Sync 4 system over Sync 3, and a necessity in my opinion for any modern infotainment system, is over-the-air updates. Thanks to the unit's 4G LTE connectivity, the system is capable of receiving updates directly from Ford, and can automatically introduce new features without the need to visit a dealership. A great example of this was Amazon Alexa compatibility. In 2021, this feature didn't exist but by 2023, it was downloaded and functioning on this system. And it did it from the garage!

This capability not only ensures that your infotainment system stays current but also significantly enhances the overall user experience by adding new functionalities and ironing out any potential kinks remotely.

Exploring Key Features

Multimedia Mastery

From AM/FM radio to Sirius XM and Bluetooth audio, the Sync 4 system checks the boxes. For the most part, these are all pretty standard but what I did like was the personalized “For You” tabs in SiriusXM. This section adapt to your listening habits, providing a tailored listening experience and recommendations for stations to listen to.

Navigation at Its Finest

Even though most people probably prefer their phone's maps and connectivity via CarPlay or Android Auto, it's worth noting that the navigation system in this F-150's Sync 4 system is a huge upgrade over the Sync 3 as well. It's more responsiveness and the maps are much more detailed. I actually liked using the native navigation on it, rather than switching back to my CarPlay's Google Maps and leaving with a sense of disappointment, I thought the interface was intuitive and easy.

The system also allows for quick searches of points of interest, categories, and even integrates Yelp reviews for an informed selection process, ensuring that your journeys are not just about reaching your destination, but enjoying the voyage as well. Adding the Yelp reviews in-line with the points of interest was a really cool touch.

Smart Integration

Critically, CarPlay and Android Auto work seamlessly, whether wired or wirelessly, maintaining all the functionality you'd expect, from accessing your favorite apps to hands-free calling. Moreover, the inclusion of Amazon Alexa brings the convenience of your home assistant into your vehicle, extending voice command capabilities to your driving experience.


The Ford F-150 XLT's Sync 4 infotainment was a refreshing update to walk through. It felt lighter, quicker, more powerful and had a ton of great new features that are functional and tie well into the use of the truck – for example towing. I love the split screen features and the fact that updates as large as Alexa Integration can download and update from your garage and I thought that the features of the truck – like the onboard power inverter or zone lighting – were very well integrated. Thumbs up!

Be sure to check out the video for the full walkthrough and fine details. And don't forget to leave us a note below in the comments section.