This is based on information learned by users of the Mach E Forum over the last year and a half and modified for the Lightning.
There seems to be a lot of confusion around Over the Air updates (OTA), better known as Ford's PowerUps. Hopefully this guide will help clear things up.
1) What do the numbers mean?
Power Ups (OTA updates) are numbered, but the numbers mean nothing. They might as well be named Sharon, Bill, and Tim. They can come in any order and do not (necessarily) depend on each other.
2) Can the updates be installed by the dealer (or FDRS)?
Yes, they are being released via FDRS at the same time they are publicly released on OTA. The caveat here is they're not labeled or organized in the same way as the OTA - they just show as a set of modules needing updates. So if you ask your dealer for PowerUp x.x.x they may not know what you're asking for. Instead ask them to run all of the module updates in FDRS.
3) Can I force an update or get the current status of an update?
No. Unlike app updates, they are not available to go "fetch". We are totally at Ford's mercy here. Even if the update has been publicly "released" they still need to specifically send an update to your car, and it has a limited time window to download and install it.
While there's no OFFICIAL way to get more info about updates, it was discovered that hidden in the Ford website you could get a bit more detail on the latest update push for your car. Unfortunately, that information is no longer accessible to users. There is a wiki list of PowerUps found below.
4)Automatic Updates vs Update Schedule (Settings found in Sync)
There are two kinds of updates that can be sent out.
1) Updates that can be installed on the fly while you're driving
2) Updates that require your car to be parked for a while
If you have auto updates turned on it will install "on the fly" updates as soon as it can (probably the next time you drive the car). Scheduling does not apply to these updates.
For updates that require your car to be parked for a while, it will wait until your next scheduled time. If you do not have a schedule set, it will not automatically install. As of power up 2.3.0 there is a button that will allow you to install these updates immediately rather than waiting for the next scheduled time.
5) How do I know which updates I have?
There's no good way to tell. If your car has had an update, the most recent one will show under "software updates" on your sync screen or FordPass app. Beyond that, only your dealer can access the update history for your car.
6) What caused my update to fail and how do I fix it?
There are a plethora of reasons an update can fail but here are some of the more common ones I've seen on the forum
- Download failed or interrupted due to weak cell signal or wifi anomalies
- 12v battery level on car is too low
- Car was not driven enough times during the update window and update timed out
- Ford botched the update and sent out a corrupted file (this has only happened a small number of times, mostly to people in the early access program)
If the update failed there's not much you can do besides making sure your battery is charged and you are driving your car. In most cases your car will automatically try again in the coming days or weeks
7) What updates have been released?
Rather than listing them here, I'll refer you to this comprehensive wiki of Ford PowerUps. This applies to all Ford vehicles using Sync 4/4A:
8) What are Ford's official statements about PowerUps?
As for what Ford has said about PowerUps on their websites and Sync screens, here's the latest guidance Ford has published:
FordPass > Vehicle > Features & Settings > Software Updates
FordPass > Vehicle > Features & Settings > Software Updates > Automatic Updates
- You’ll get most updates in the background over-the-air. Keep Automatic Updates on so you won’t need to approve every update.
- For certain updates that require your vehicle to be powered off, set a schedule that is ideal for you and we’ll remind you ahead of installation.
- Connect your vehicle to your go-to trusted Wi-Fi networks, like home or work, and you’ll get updates as soon as they are available.
- Connecting the vehicle to Wi-Fi can help download updates faster
FordPass > Vehicle > Features & Settings > Software Updates > Recurring Schedule
- Set up automatic updates for the best Software Update experience. Once you have the schedule set and Wi-Fi connected, you’ll get most updates automatically. Some updates may require your review, and we’ll be sure to ask you first.
- Only certain updates that require the vehicle to be powered off are scheduled. Other updates are installed right away.
- Remember you can update your schedule in-vehicle at any time or select Update Now to update right away.
- Certain updates require your vehicle to be parked with the ignition off. You can plan ahead by scheduling these updates to happen overnight or whenever it’s convenient for you.
- WHY DID MY FRIEND/NEIGHBOR/ETC. RECEIVE A FORD POWER-UP SOFTWARE UPDATE AND I DIDN’T?
- Software updates are released on a rolling basis, and by default your vehicle will start the process when that version is released.
- You may need to take action to progress the update. Look at your in-vehicle screen for icons to see if you have an update pending
- WHY DO I HAVE TO SCHEDULE A FORD POWER-UP SOFTWARE UPDATE?
- Some updates require your vehicle to be parked with the ignition off for a short period of time. When you set a recurring schedule, you can ensure that these types of updates will occur when it’s most convenient for you (e.g., overnight, during work, etc.). You’ll get an in-vehicle and in-app reminder before the update takes place.
- CAN I CHANGE MY FORD POWER-UP SOFTWARE UPDATE SETTINGS?
- Yes, but it’s not recommended. With Automatic Updates ON, you’ll have a more seamless update experience, and you’ll receive the latest features and enhancements without missing a step.
OKAY, so put all those puzzle pieces together, and here are FIVE KEY TAKEAWAYS to optimize receipt of OTA updates:
- Some updates will seamlessly complete in the background. More complex updates might require your vehicle to be parked with the ignition off for a short period of time in order to complete. For these types of updates, you will choose a recurring schedule that is most convenient for you.
There is an update available. This icon will only appear if Automatic Updates are turned off (Manual setting).
A previously scheduled update is about to occur.
An update is available but needs to be scheduled.
An update is available but needs your permission to proceed.
An update has failed to complete.
An update has completed and is ready for your review.
- The more you can keep car connected to Wi-Fi, the better, but this seems to relate only to speed of downloading updates as opposed to availability.
- OTA updates come in two different flavors: those that can be installed “hot” while the car is On and even driving, and those that require the car to be Off.
- Ford recommends that you enable Automatic updates.
- Ford also recommends that you set a schedule for those updates that require the car to be Off.
- You don't have to choose between enabling Automatic Updates and setting a Schedule. You can do both. If you set a schedule, you will still receive the “hot” updates automatically.
So, now I've got both Automatic Updates enabled, plus I set a schedule for every night of the week at 10:00pm to capture any updates which require the car to be off, plus the car is connected to my home wi-fi when parked in the garage. I think that's the best I can do.
If anyone has any suggested changes to my guide within a guide, please let me know.