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'Continuity Activation Tool' Enables Handoff on Older Macs

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Apple introduced "Continuity," a set of features designed to allow for deeper integration between Macs and iOS devices. Unfortunately, some Continuity features are limited to Macs with Bluetooth 4.0, which leaves many older Macs unable to access the new features.

Additionally, even though the 2011 MacBook Air and 2011 Mac mini include Bluetooth 4.0, Apple has opted not to allow them to access Continuity features. Luckily, many resourceful members of the MacRumors forums have come up with solutions to allow them to enable Continuity on their older Macs, and discussion on our forums has led to the creation of a set of instructions and a Continuity Activation Tool that should get Continuity working on Macs unable to explicitly support the feature.

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Created by Dokterdok (based on instructions compiled by UncleSchnitty) and available on Github, the Continuity Activation Tool is designed to activate Continuity by doing a compatibility check, creating backups of original System drivers, and disabling a Mac-model blacklist in the Bluetooth code that prevents Continuity from working on ineligible Macs. From there, it also whitelists Mac board-ids within the Wi-Fi code to get the feature working.

The tool can be downloaded as a zip file from Github and is installed by double clicking the app and following the instructions provided on the screen.

The Continuity Activation Tool will enable Continuity on the mid-2011 MacBook Air and the mid-2011 Mac mini with no additional hardware required, as both of those devices include Bluetooth 4.0. That means installing the tool should get Continuity up and running on those machines in just a few minutes.

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On older Macs that do not come equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, new wireless cards will need to be installed, which makes it more difficult for casual users to get access to Continuity. USB dongles that provide Bluetooth 4.0 will not work with the Continuity Activation Tool, and a list of wireless cards that will provide Bluetooth 4.0 for each older Mac can be found on the MacRumors forums.

Both MacRumors forum members and Redditors have confirmed that this method is able to successfully enable Continuity on a variety of Macs, including the mid-2011 MacBook Air, the early 2011 MacBook Pro, and the mid-2011 Mac mini.

The Continuity Activation Tool appears to enable all Continuity features when used successfully, allowing older Macs to access Handoff, Instant Hotspot, SMS forwarding, and Mac phone calls without an issue. Some of these Continuity features may work already on older Macs as they use a variety of different connection methods ranging from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi, but the tool is confirmed to get Handoff and AirDrop, both of which require Bluetooth, to work.

Users should exercise caution when using the Continuity Activation Tool, as it moves around low level files and there's a possibility it could cause problems. A backup is recommended before attempting to install the tool.


Top Rated Comments

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22 months ago
Can't believe they crippled capable older devices on purpose. Also not allowing them to function with Bluetooth 4.0 adapters... But yeah I have Bluetooth shut off all the time, yet I still get annoying phone calls on my Mac because it works through Wi-Fi instead.

Glad this hack was released for other users.
Rating: 28 Votes
22 months ago
Apple can not close this down soon enough. Allowing this goes against their new business model - anti-green planned obsolescence. All wrapped in "Going Green" NON recycled wrapping paper.
Rating: 26 Votes
22 months ago
Hands off Apple for being stupid pricks.
Rating: 26 Votes
22 months ago
Been seeing some traffic on this. Looking forward to trying on my mid 2011 Mac Mini. My only concern is that later patches may break this, much like some of the tricks for TRIM support, and other Grey hardware.

Will have to watch The threads here, and in the OSX86 communities.

This is such a horrible chart! 'No' actually means 'Yes - this device works'

(The macbook airs and mac minis mid-2011 WORK with continuity)


The no, indicates no hardware changes are required, the header defined that in the chart.
Rating: 17 Votes
22 months ago

I have a 2011 macbook air and I was so disappointed by the fact that I couldn't use the feature I was most excited about. Cannot wait to go home and set my baby up.


With two top-spec 2011 MBA's (purchased in early 2012) in the family we are disappointed in Apple.

Feels like being taken for granted by a greedy or lazy company.

Each time a company does smth like this it leaves a bad memory, makes it harder to recommend that company, and opens up space for competitors.
Rating: 15 Votes
22 months ago
However...

What is the actual "limitation"? What is Apple's justification for not allowing this out of the box on those models? I have a 2011 MBAir.

Is this a dick move like not putting 2 GB of RAM on new iPhones, 16 GB of storage, etc.?
Rating: 14 Votes
22 months ago

What is the actual "limitation"? What is Apple's justification for not allowing this out of the box on those models? I have a 2011 MBAir.


BTLE (aka: 4.0). That's pretty obvious if you've even remotely been paying attention.

Is this a dick move like not putting 2 GB of RAM on new iPhones, 16 GB of storage, etc.?


Take it however you want, but your 2011 MBA does everything today that it did on the day you bought it. My Early 2009 Mac mini isn't any less functional five years later, even if it doesn't get all of the new Yosemite features.
Rating: 13 Votes
22 months ago

Trying to make Continuity work on that much wider range of systems would have added to the development and testing costs, made it take longer, bloated the code and jammed the support phone lines.


Yeah, god forbid the richest tech company in the world would go be financially crippled by expanding support to other devices.
Rating: 13 Votes
22 months ago
Please stop with all the crying about it not working on older Macs and that Apple's doing it on purpose to make more money. Duh - they're a business and the objective is to make money.

There's a reason we all love our Macs - they simply work better than Windows PCs. And its decisions like these, to only support recent generations of hardware with a limited set of cards and drivers, that make our computers work better. Trying to make Continuity work on that much wider range of systems would have added to the development and testing costs, made it take longer, bloated the code and jammed the support phone lines. Plus I'd bet the feature would have not worked as well for everyone including those with the officially supported machines.

Both of my Macs don't aren't supported but I'm OK with it. It's not going to stop me from trying these hacks though :D
Rating: 10 Votes
22 months ago
This is such *********. I just don't know Apple any more. I'd love to hear their response as to why they disabled it on seemingly perfectly capable hardware.

I pretty much hate the company now.
Rating: 10 Votes

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