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2021 Ford F-150 Will Have Digital Owner’s Manual

Digital owner’s manual will be standard for all 2021 Ford F-150. The owner’s manual will be available on both 8 and 12-inch touchscreens on all trims of the 2021 Ford F-150. Ford claims this will save 290 tons of paper every year, as a result.

Remember the days of opening your glove compartment box (when they used to hold gloves) and consulting your owner’s manual. How many of you have ever leafed through your owner’s manual? Would you even know where it is?

My guess is the majority of today’s drivers don’t know where their owner’s manual is, or if they do, they haven’t consulted it. So if my hypothesis is true, that’s a monumental waste of printed paper by all auto manufacturers. In my experience as an automotive journalist I’ve seen some manuals that could rival a Harry Potter or War and Peace in the number of pages. So thank you Ford for doing away with this waste!

So, it was nice to hear that Ford has announced that the 2021 Ford F-150 will have a paperless owner’s manual.

Ford's digital owner's manual F-1502021 Ford F-150 Digital Owner’s Manual
According to Ford Truck Communications Manager Dawn McKenzie, the digital owner’s manual is a new feature that will work on the Sync 4 screen (both 8” and 12” screens).

“Customers can search topics and view tutorials, graphics and animations to learn more about the truck’s features,” she said. “ There will be full printed copies of the Owner’s Manual available for purchase by customers, but we will not be supplying any full printings with vehicles.”

Both the owner’s manual (full version) and supplemental owner’s guide (reduced paper version) will be available online in both PDF and HTML versions, McKenzie said.

The supplemental guide is 25-30% of the full owner’s manual.

Ford released a fun infographic that showed that this digital owner’s manual will save 290 tons of paper every year which is the equivalent weight of 122 F-150s. They estimated that the saved paper comes out to a stack that would be roughly 18,000 feet high.

I’m 100% on board with more electronic interactions. Restaurants are going with QR code menus so there’s no reason manufacturers like Ford can’t go digital when it comes to the owner’s manual. This will all be part of the Ford Sync 4 system.

2021 Ford F-150 Sync 4Sync 4 Features
Ford is claiming the 2021 F-150 will be the most connected F-150 ever thanks to advances in the new Sync 4 system. I’ve written about updates to the Live Traffic features, over-the-air updates, as well some navigation features off the beaten path in the next-generation F-150.

The all-new F-150 is North America’s first full-size pickup with standard over-the-air updates, helping customers’ trucks stay at the forefront of purposeful technology. These updates are bumper-to-bumper, and can include all-new functions and additional features throughout the life of the truck. They can support preventative maintenance, reduce repair trips, provide improved performance and ultimately result in more vehicle up-time. The majority of updates will be completed in under two minutes and can be performed at times customers choose, so they won’t have to put their lives on hold.

All-new SYNC 4 is standard, helping keep owners connected and make their days more productive with more natural voice control available as well as real-time mapping and customizable information on demand. The technology builds on more than 10 years of SYNC innovation by helping minimize distractions with hands-free voice control as well as core features such as making phone calls and selecting music. With twice the computing power of the previous-generation system, new SYNC 4 can wirelessly connect smartphones without the USB cord for seamless integration of Apple CarPlay or Android Autocompatibility as well as SYNC AppLink apps like Waze and Ford+Alexa.

Customers can access more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content, live channels, ad-free music, sports, entertainment, news and personalized recommendations, and they can search for related content with available SiriusXM with 360L satellite and streaming service.

The new eight-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen is available starting on F-150 XLT, while the optional 18-speaker B&O Unleashed system with speakers in the headliner and front headrests is available on F-150 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum, and standard on Limited.

Ford offers complimentary technology including 911 Assist that automatically alerts emergency responders in the event of an accident, and FordPass, a mobile device app that allows Ford drivers to start or unlock their vehicle from a distance, as well as control new truck-focused features like Zone Lighting, Trailer Theft Alert, Trailer Light Check and Pro Power Onboard.

So will you miss having an owner's manual? Are you embracing this technology or fearing it? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.


Edward Cook (not verified)    October 13, 2020 - 4:56PM

I actually use the owners manual for my Flex. I also have the pdf version on my phone. I wish I could upgrade Sync 3 to Sync 4 and add Wi-Fi. believe in technology and want to make my driving experience easier. It's a pain having to plug the phone into the USB to use the Google or Wayze maps and while I do not have factory nav, everyone I know who has it says Google Maps or Wayze are more accurate and easier to use.

John M. (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 11:41AM

Subaru has had this option for years. There is a full owners manual in my 2019 Outback that is accessible through the infotainment screen.

Donna Daven (not verified)    January 15, 2021 - 2:39PM

I think the digital manual should be an option, nor standard. My 80 year old BIL just bought a new 2021 F150. He does not use a computer and has no clue how to access the digital version. It would be great to have a printed booklet. I still refer to mine and I am quite capable of using the digital version. I just prefer to thumb though the pages.

vern (not verified)    March 19, 2021 - 9:58PM

dont care how much paper no book saves i am not happy about no book. the least ford could have done is made it possible to download the manual so could print it off. not a happy f150 owner

Michael L Casebolt (not verified)    October 12, 2021 - 8:34PM

I just purchased a ‘21 F150 lariat and would pay if I could get an owners manual for it so I can sit at home and read through it !

Dean McDonald (not verified)    November 30, 2021 - 1:33PM

I have a 2021 Limited Hybrid and would prefer to have a printed manual. I really do not care how many thousand feet of paper Ford saved, for the price I paid for this vehicle I wanted a printed manual to review as needed without having to be sitting in it.

Mike Casebolt (not verified)    August 5, 2022 - 10:03PM

I would like to purchase a printed copy of owner’s manual for ‘21 F150 Platium, are they available?