Blockers to 3.0.x downgrading

What blockers exist to downgrading to 3.0.x series sync versions?

I’ve read that there’s no partitioner tool publicly known for them.

Is the partition geometry unknown as well?

Are there other technical details missing?

Correct, you can dump a eMMC of a non 3.2+ unit and write it to a 3.4 APIM but there is no way of doing it without writing eMMC

As this is beyond the abiilities of most of our users, i just say it can’t be done.

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Can emmc dumps be done via USB port or would the dash need to opened up?

I’m a little ashamed to say that I have not opened up my dash yet! Normally I live by the motto that if I don’t open it, I don’t own it.

I seen a video of some Asian guy in a suit completely replacing the stock screen with like an 14 inch third party Android tablet deal they sell out of California and it doesn’t actually look that hard. He did a full screen replace including remounting the APM in like 20 minutes without exiting the vehicle.

Is the emmc on any sort of removable storage or is it soldered into the APIM?

I’m somewhat inclined to do a full emmc backup before taking mine out of stock fw so I could put it back if I ever had a warranty issue.

You would need direct access to the chip, it is soldered onto the motherboard. You need special tools to connect to the chip and read the flash contents. They also changed the chip/board layout between generations of SYNC 3 boards so the tools you need depend on your model year.

I’ve taken my vehicle in for warranty service and I’ve never had any issues with 3.4 running on my car that used to be 3.0. The technicians and the dealership probably don’t even know what generation of software is supposed to be running on which model year of vehicle. As long as they see a working SYNC system they usually don’t care. The effort involved in taking apart the dash and then the APIM itself to flash software back and forth wasn’t worth it in my opinion, but to each their own.

I’m sticking with the 3.4 branch since it’s still actively supported and developed by Ford. They seemed to have stopped regular updates for 3.0 and are only releasing maybe 1 update every year for that old branch.


The issue isn’t so much with not knowing the partition layout but simply rather the fact that no production signed reformat tool that utilizes that layout has leaked. That is why emmc dumping and flashing is the only solution, it gets around the need to have a production signed tool as it reads and writes contents directly from the flash memory.

Every single script/package/tool that is run on a SYNC unit through the USB port has to be signed with a production certificate in order to execute.


Ford is maintaining support for maps and necessary updates for Sync 3.0 thru 2023. This will be the 5 year required support term for US vehicles based on the last production date. Sync 3.2 arrived in MY18.5, so that will be the next one to retire.

The operative word…

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Phoenix Automotive. There are several of these, mostly made in China and most have compatibility issues with OEM features. They are getting better, but plan to spend time on the phone with their support folks. There are many write-ups on various websites. Very expensive for what you get…

Like @avdonr stated, soldered to the motherboard. There are different daughterboards based on the generations of Sync APIM’s also. The daughterboards contain extended memory for maps, etc. Compatibility issues can arise messing with these.

He is a better option, purchase another Sync unit to modify and save the original. The APIM only with NAV can be sourced from several eBay vendors for about $300-350.00 US.

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keep an eye out and you can get them for much less, here in the UK we see some go for £50-100

Not a bad idea really, especially if I can find one in that price range! I have an '18 fusion energi. Would I stand to benefit from a '20 APIM in terms of a faster CPU or more ram you think? (Fusion wasn’t sold in '21)

Are all APIM’s of a given year interchangeable? or do I need one from another Fusion Energi? I just realised in all of the firmware updating steps, never do I specify vin or even model, so I’m wondering if say, an F150 APIM, would work in a Fusion, simply because there’s state information stored elsewhere in the car that tells the APIM what it’s installed in. If that’s the case I might take advantage of a '21 apim after all?

Apims are not car specific however newer ones are slightly faster

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All Sync 3 APIM’s of a given year are interchangeable, but will need programming for the specific vehicle parameters. There are Sync 1 and 2.5 APIM’s that are not interchangeable with Sync 3.

Just needs programming and the proper mounting hardware.

2020+ APIM’s would not compatible be with your vehicle, or it would take a some wiring to make it so…not worth the effort.

I would recommend a 2018/2019 with NAV. Part numbers will begin with K or 4.

Be careful of the 2020+ APIM models as these have different screen drivers, among other changes. They are in general not significantly different than the 2018/2019 versions as far as hardware, and will not yield any measurable increase in performance over the 2018/2019 models. The difference in the 2020+ model (Sync 3 APIM’s, not Sync 4) APIM’s is the programming and in some cases wiring. Ford added HS4 networking as well as twisted pair ethernet to some models in 2020. (Mustang) This is much wider spread for 2021, and the norm for 2022 Lincoln vehicles, who have adopted Sync 4 across the entire lineup now. This is one of the reasons you will probably not see widespread Sync 4 conversions to vehicles like we saw with Sync 3. It will very much be vehicle specific depending on the year and model, and will need some type of network conversion adapters or replacement of other modules to work correctly. Not to mention the physical mounting challenges…

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Sync 4 apims have the same fitting, also compatible with the same 8inch screens, but no one has got one working properly yet as far as I know.

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I do know that the Sync 4 APIM’s talk real time to the Ford servers for backing up asbuilts thru the FordPass system now. (This is an internal ethernet network in the vehicle.) The servers can push info to the APIM. This is verified by Livinitup at F150Forums. He has published a spreadsheet for the Sync 4 APIM, as well as other modules for 2021+ Ford vehicles.

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