Continuity and Handoff
Make your life easier with Yosemite and iOS 8’s major features
ontinuity is Apple’s name for a suite of services which allow Yosemite and iOS 8 to work closely. It incorporates AirDrop, the ability to make and receive phone calls and text messages on a Mac or iPad, and Handoff.
Handoff allows you to, say, start working on a document on a Mac and continue it seamlessly on an iPad or iPhone, without ever having to close or save it or think about how to switch to another device to carry on.
CHanding off a task
There's a guide to using Handoff below, but the basics are straightforward. Whenever a Handoffcompatible app (which includes many of the apps preinstalled with iOS, the iWork suite, and some third-party apps) is open on an iOS 8 device, that device is on the same network as your Mac, both have Bluetooth switched on, and they’re signed into the same iCloud account, the app’s icon appears to the left of the Mac’s Dock (provided the Mac version of the app is installed).
The other way around, with a compatible app running on your Mac, and the above conditions met, the app’s icon appears on an iOS device’s Lock screen or leftmost in its app switcher.
Third-party apps with Handoff support include Wunderlist, Things, Pocket and iA Writer Pro. All of these apps allow you to swap between a Mac and an iOS device without saving or syncing data. Microsoft’s Yammer messaging tool also supports Handoff, kind of – you can ‘hand off’ from an iOS device to a Mac, but this opens Yammer in a web browser, not a native app.
Handoff is not just a new feature, it’s an entirely new concept and that can make it a little confusing. Specifically, it sounds a lot like cloud syncing, where your documents and data are pushed up to the cloud and then pushed to every device linked to your account. Many of us are familiar with this concept from email apps and tools like Evernote and, latterly, Apple’s iWork apps. But there’s a key difference between Handoff and syncing. When you switch between devices where data has been synced, you need to open the relevant app on the second device, locate the document you were working on, or the email message you saved as a draft, and then open it. With Handoff, when you move from one