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Bluetooth LE Adapters Don't Enable OS X Yosemite's 'Handoff' on Older Macs

Over the past few days, we've been exploring some of the system requirements for Apple's Continuity features such as Handoff, noting that an apparent requirement of Bluetooth LE support for Handoff would leave out a number of older Macs that are otherwise compatible with OS X Yosemite.

mail_handoff
In discussing the limitations for Handoff support, some MacRumors forum members suggested that adding an inexpensive third-party Bluetooth LE adapter to an older Mac might be enough to add support for the feature. Unfortunately, several forum members have discovered that this does not appear to be the case.

One forum member has shared details of their testing, noting that in tests with a 2010 MacBook Air that does not include built-in support for Bluetooth LE, adding IOGEAR's Bluetooth 4.0 USB Micro Adapter works out of the box to add Bluetooth LE support to the machine, but does not enable support for Continuity features such as Handoff or AirDrop.

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System information for 2010 MacBook Air with IOGEAR Bluetooth LE adapter

While OS X Yosemite remains in beta testing and things could change before final release, it appears that Bluetooth LE support alone is not sufficient to enable Handoff and that Apple is instead enforcing a stricter requirement for built-in Bluetooth LE support, perhaps by defining specific models that are able to use the feature.

Beyond Handoff, Apple is also adding a number of other features under the Continuity umbrella, not all of which require Bluetooth LE support. For example, the new phone relay feature that will allow users to make and receive iPhone calls right from their Macs relies on Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth, meaning that more devices should be compatible with this feature and it is likely to work over longer distances.

OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 are scheduled to launch to the public in the fall of this year, likely around the September-October timeframe.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Top Rated Comments

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23 weeks ago

Time to upgrade people!


says the person with unlimited income?
Rating: 14 Votes
23 weeks ago
This is beta for a reason, file a bug.
Rating: 12 Votes
23 weeks ago
As long as the SMS & Calls work over Wifi I'll be happy.
Rating: 12 Votes
23 weeks ago
It's a bit ridiculous that if you spent thousands on a new Mac Pro in early 2013 that you can't use this feature even if you get an adapter. I understand why it only works on Bluetooth LE, and it should remain that way because of the low energy usage, but it definitely should work with an adapter. The adapter is completely pointless on a laptop, but for iMac and Mac Pro it should be an option.
Rating: 11 Votes
23 weeks ago
Really sucks for those that don't have a 'newer' Mac.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 weeks ago
I know Apple is in the business of selling computers, but I don't see this as a sole reason to upgrade machines. Maybe a slight reason, but still nice try Tim Cook.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 weeks ago
I imagine a bit of mucking around in terminal will enable it. If not, there's a good chance a software workaround will come out.
Rating: 8 Votes
23 weeks ago
Like Power Nap with 3rd party SSDs
Rating: 8 Votes
23 weeks ago
(http://s219.photobucket.com/user/Ian2TG/media/ScreenShot2014-06-18at233703_zps1c514905.png.html)

My 2011 MacBook Pro 15 has a 2012 bluetooth/Airport card in it, as that was all I could get when I repaired it. I get this in System Profiler on 10.10 DP2, so it looks like some Macs will be somewhat upgradable hardware wise.

Interestingly I remember hacking Airdrop back on Lion on an upgraded 2006 iMac with a 2008 Airport card in (so I could have wireless n) it and that worked flawlessly!
Rating: 7 Votes
23 weeks ago
but mac os x isnt a closed system like iOS is. shouldnt it be possible to simply enable it using some 3rd party trick in the future? (not that i need it, mine is supported but still wondering)
Rating: 6 Votes

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