A Closer Look at 'Handoff' and Other New iOS 8/Yosemite 'Continuity' Features

During yesterday's WWDC keynote, Apple launched several new "Continuity" features to improve the cross-platform integration of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. One of the new abilities designed to allow better transitions from iOS devices to Macs is Handoff, which allows users to start a task on one device and swap to another nearby device.

As described by Apple, Handoff can be used for several different activities, including email and web browsing. Users can begin writing an email on an iPhone, for example, and then switch to a Mac to finish. Websites work similarly, allowing users to browse the web on one device, and then continue looking at the same website on another device. While this is already possible via iCloud Tabs, Handoff makes the entire process easier and extends the functionality to other apps.

handoffiosyosemite

We believe you should be able to use the right device for the moment. We want the transitions between these moments to be as absolutely natural and seamless as possible.

When you're working on your Mac, your devices around you in proximity are aware of each other and are aware of what you're up to.

As demoed during the keynote, iOS devices and Macs are "aware" of each other, and can pick up a task when nearby. When composing an email on a Mac, for example, users will see an icon on the screen of their iPad or iPhone that can be tapped to allow them to continue writing on the iOS device. Similarly, an iPhone near a Mac will cause the activity to automatically pop up on the Mac's dock, allowing for a seamless transition between devices.

Handoff currently works with the following Apple apps: Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts. There's also a Handoff API for developers, which will likely see Handoff capabilities added to a range of different apps.

The enhanced Continuity between OS X and iOS also allows Mac devices in close proximity to an iPhone to both place and receive calls, leveraging Bluetooth and WiFi with the iPhone serving as a relay. Users can answer a call made to their iPhone on their Mac, a useful feature when an iPhone is across the room charging or otherwise inaccessible.

During the keynote, Apple's software chief Craig Federighi used the calling feature to contact new Apple employee Dr. Dre on his Mac, demoing its ability to place calls.

Similarly, iPads and Macs are now able to receive SMS messages from non-Apple devices, a function previously limited to the iPhone. iPads and Macs are also able to utilize an "Instant Hotspot" feature that allows them to connect to an iPhone hotspot with just a click, and AirDrop is also cross-platform.

Currently, Handoff and the other Continuity enhancements are features limited to developers who are using both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, but it will be available to the general public in the fall after the official release of the new operating systems.

Top Rated Comments

Parise Avatar
96 months ago
Yet another feature taken from Android.

False. While you can send texts or make calls from Hangouts, you must do so using a Google Voice number. This utilizes your actual phone thus not requiring someone to have more than one number for you.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
96 months ago
Does the iPhone have to actually be paired to the Mac? Meaning that I can't use a Bluetooth speaker and use continuity? Or does Bluetooth just need to be on on both devices?
No pairing, it's almost certainly iBeacon based tied with iCloud.

----------

Yet another feature taken from Android.
What????:confused:


Where in the world does Android offer this? Sarcasm?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newagemac Avatar
96 months ago
These are the types of unique features that make being in the Apple ecosystem so nice. I can see Microsoft moving in this direction as well but it's going to be hard for Google/Android since they don't have the vertical integration, don't have much control of the final software, and don't have a major desktop OS to integrate with in the first place. With Chrome OS being a glorified web browser, they are still trying to catch up with Microsoft and Apple were doing decades ago on the desktop.

Really looking forward to seeing more integration between mobile device and desktop OS from Apple and Microsoft. This is the future and unfortunately it looks like Android is going to be left out of the party.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
96 months ago
Jeez, it was as around the time that Craig flung an email from his iPad to his Mac that I realized we're on the precipice of something that is going to be indispensable for posterity. "Believe it or not, your computer didn't always know when you had your phone with you… No, no, I'm not joking, guys, seriously!"
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Essex711 Avatar
96 months ago
Shibby

Really can't wait to try this feature out, I'm sure this will make some more Android users switch too.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
96 months ago
I hope this doesn't get all crazy confusing when you got your friend over or a are living with other people and their devices. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of little things popping on the corner when it's not my device.

It's gotta be tied to iCloud. Unless your computer has their Apple ID on it I don't think it'll be an issue.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

beats updater

Apple Officially Retires Beats Updater Utility in Favor of Over-the-Air Firmware Updates

Wednesday September 30, 2020 2:30 am PDT by
Apple has officially retired Beats Updater, the software utility that lets users update the firmware of their Beats Wireless headphones, earphones, and speakers. Beats Updater allows users to plug their Beats product directly into the USB port of their computer to check for firmware updates online, but with Apple's growing tendency to deliver over-the-air updates to wireless products via iOS ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...