We’ve all been there: you update your smart phone’s software and find that a piece of software you’ve come to rely on no-longer works with the new operating system.
From both the end user and the developer’s point of view, that’s a nightmarish scenario. Worse still if it’s an App you rely on daily, like one you might use for example to communicate with your brand new EV.
That’s exactly what U.S. Ford Focus Electric owners face however, after an update to Ford’s MyFordMobile iOS app — which requires users to upgrade to Apple’s recently-released iOS 7 operating system before it will even download –hangs on startup.
Worse still, once owners have upgraded their iPhones or iPads to iOS 7, an automated feature within the operating system may upgrade their MyFordMobile app automatically in the background, replacing an older, functioning copy of the app with one which doesn’t even work.
The problem seems to have arisen when Ford pushed a broken version of the App to the Apple Store. Only compatible with iOS 7, the version was supposed to offer users a plethora of new features. Instead, it simply hangs on any iOS 7 device, and refuses to work.
To further compound the matter, iPhone owners can’t easily downgrade their phones back to a working version of the app in iOS 6 — unless they completely erase and restore their phones from a working backup.
Since becoming aware of the issue, the Focus Electric version of the MyFord Mobile EV app has been removed from the iOS App store, preventing existing owners who have yet to update from becoming victims of the broken release and retaining the functionality of the old version of the app installed on their device.
New users however will have to survive without an app at all, however: because of the way the Apple App store works, older versions of applications are normally deprecated when a newer version is uploaded. And because the app has been temporarily pulled from the App store, it’s difficult to get the previous version.
In an email to Ford Focus owners yesterday, Beth Profit, MyFord Mobile Manager of Connected Service at Ford Motor Company, appologised for the fault as well as a related fault on the web-based mobile portal for MyFordConnect. Her email reads as follows:
“This email is being sent to inform you that we were unable to execute the changes of the MyFord Mobile website and mobile app that we had previously informed you would occur. We will now be making the aforementioned changes at a later date.
You may see the new version of MyFord Mobile in the app store or pushed to your phone as an update. Please do not use this version and continue to use the version you have been.
We apologize for any inconvenience as we make this change, Should you have any issues, please call the Customer Relationship Center at 1-800-392-3673. After the language prompt, please select option 3 and then option 4 to be connected with the team that interacts with customers on Ford’s In-Vehicle Technology. The hours of operation are 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM M-F and 11:30 AM – 5:00PM Saturday (ET).”
As Brian Henderson, who alerted Transport Evolved to the issue, there are no notices in the iOS 6, working version of the App to warn users to not update. In addition, while the Ford Focus EV version of the app is broken, a similar variant of the app, designed for owners of the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, works correctly in iOS 7.
Of course, Ford isn’t the first to have problems with a smart phone telematics app for an electric car. Nissan’s Carwings system, used to connect owners with their LEAF electric car, is so unreliable that Nissan recently cancelled plans to charge customers for the feature after three years of LEAF ownership.
But perhaps more concerning however, is the fact that as of now, there’s no news as to if or when the software will be fixed. For now, the best solution is to ensure you don’t have automatic enabling set up on your iOS 7 device — or perhaps live without the app for a while. To disable automatic updates, go to Settings>iTunes & App Store>and ensure the “Updates” slider (under Automatic Downloads) is slid to the LEFT)
Alternatively, there are a number of alternative apps available which should connect to your Focus EV, including GreenCharge from Xatori.
Do you have a Ford Focus EV? Are you suffering from the flawed app release? And have you found a work-around? Let us know in the Comments below
Hat-Tip: Brian Henderson
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