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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
80 months ago

Time to upgrade people!


says the person with unlimited income?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
80 months ago
As long as the SMS & Calls work over Wifi I'll be happy.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
80 months ago
This is beta for a reason, file a bug.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
80 months 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.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
80 months 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.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
80 months ago
Really sucks for those that don't have a 'newer' Mac.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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