OS X Yosemite (Handoff, Mac-iPad 001)

Handoff, arguably the coolest feature of the upcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite, may not be available to all Mac users. In case you’re not familiar with Handoff, it’s part of Continuity, a new feature designed for seamless transitioning between iOS devices and Macs.

“Now your Mac knows the last thing you were doing on your iOS device and vice versa,” Apple’s Yosemite webpage explains. “So you can start something on one device and instantly pick it up on another.”

As noted by a German blog, Handoff relying on short-range Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity is a strong indication that you’ll need a relatively new Mac model in order to take advantage of the feature…

German blog Apfeleimer [Google translate] notes that Continuity/Handoff need power-efficient Bluetooth 4.0 supported on both ends, for proximity sensing.

The Bluetooth 4.0 requirement would make the following Mac models Handoff-compatible: the mid-2011 MacBook Air, mid-2012 MacBook Pro, late-2012 iMac, mid-2011 Mac mini and late-2013 Mac Pro and above.

OS X Yosemite (Handoff, Bluetooth 4.0 Apfeleimer 001)

As the iPad 2 lacks Bluetooth 4.0, its owners won’t be able to enjoy Handoff. Speaking of which, the iPad 3 was the first tablet with support for the protocol. On the iPhone side of things, the iPhone 4s and later models support Bluetooth 4.0.

AirDrop is similarly limited to devices that support Bluetooth 4.0. However, AirDrop comes with the added baggage of modern Wi-Fi chips that support the secure peer-to-peer Wi-Fi Direct wireless transfer protocol (which Handoff does not need at all).

Apple on its part has yet to list Handoff hardware requirements.

For what it’s worth, many people are reporting difficulties getting Handoff to work in the first betas of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. I run both iOS 8 and Yosemite, my devices are all Bluetooth 4.0 yet Handoff is refusing to work and I couldn’t get it run properly.

Be that as it may, Handoff is pretty seamless.

OS X Yosemite (Continuity, Phone Call)

After your Mac detects an iOS device within Bluetooth 4.0 range, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite establish a secure connection over which an iOS device advertises a user’s most recent activity, or vice versa.

If a compatible app from the same developer is installed on both devices, users can click a task icon in the Dock – or pull up an app icon in the lower left corner of the Lock screen on an iOS device – to continue right where they left off.

Thanks to Continuity/Handoff, you’ll be able to receive and make phone calls on your Mac, receive and sent text messages on your Mac via the Messages app and enjoy a new zero-configuration Instant Hotspot feature.

In addition to Bluetooth 4.0, Handoff requires all devices to be signed into the same iCloud account.

Apple’s stock apps like Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar and Contacts all have built-in support for handoff, and third-party developers can also integrate the feature directly into their apps using the new iOS 8 APIs.

  • abazigal

    Shucks, looks like my 2011 iMac won’t be compatible, but at least my 2012 macbook air will. :/

    • What I’m wondering is if using a Bluetooth 4.0 dongle would enable features like Handoff, AirDrop, and BLE apps such as Notifyr. If so, I’m definitely purchasing one.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        It’s Apple so without some hacks probably not. Apple is for the most part a hardware company so in their mind to get such features you need to upgrade your hardware. My iPad 3 for example can support blur and AirDrop no problem at all with a few jailbreak tweaks but does Apple enable such things? Absolutely not i need an iPad Air for them features…As an Apple fan I don’t like this attitude but can see Apples motives behind some of the decisions they tale. They are of course a business and businesses both want and need to make money…

      • Brian 

        Definitely not, Apple’s software is set up to enable certain features on specific models only so it detects your model, not if you have things such as that hooked up to your Mac. Would require a hack of some sort.

      • Sicheng Xu

        You can always replace your wireless module anyway…but I’m not sure if it works with Handoff.

      • Robin Keanu Keim

        As for Airdrop and BLE forget the “No, because it’s Apple…” Shit. You can get Airdrop and every BLE like Notifyr, Knock, etc. working with a simple Bluetooth 4.0 dongle that works OOB with OS X! I’m using one on my old 2011 Mac Pro and a friend of mine uses one with his Hackintosh. That being said I don’t know if Handoff will be working… maybe it can be activated with a terminal command like Airdrop, maybe it will work just fine OOB or it won’t work at all… For now we just have to wait for Handoff to work as intended in the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite betas, then we can test to see if it works on older Macs.

      • Anymore information on this? I’d happily buy a Bluetooth dongle if it enabled any of the above features, particular AirDrop and Handoff with iOS.

  • Drew Pitchford

    Time to upgrade my early 2011 MBP

    • Elias Chao

      It’s a great feature [Handoff], but my Early 2011 MBP runs seamlessly, so buy a new Mac because of 1 feature, for me, not worth it.

      • I’m hoping it can work with a bluetooth 4.0 USB adapter

      • Brian 

        Might as well start saving for a new Mac, because that wont happen

      • Elias Chao

        It will be probably a Jailbreak Tweak + Mac App to people with ‘old’ Macs, in order to can use a Handoff-like feature.

  • Bkfraiders7

    I asked this when it was announced and was laughed at being told that “Apple wouldn’t not allow your Macbook the features of Yosemite if its supported that quick like they do iOS devices”. Guess I was right.

  • Guest

    does Handoff include answering a call and SMS on the ipad?

    • Kyle

      Yes, it does. Now it’s as with FaceTime & iMessage: All your Devices Ring when Phone Call, SMS, iMessage and FaceTime.

  • iDB

    does this mean i won’t be able to answer to calls and sms on my ipad 2? 🙁

    • Framboogle

      iPad 2 can’t call or SMS…

      • Brian 

        Framboogle, how are you going to come and comment on an iOS 8 article if you clearly have no knowledge on this

  • Thanh

    Updated my 13″ retina a couple days ago but the photo booth app doesnt work. Everything else is fine

    • Kyle

      Yeah that (useless) App was cut, at least for the first DP. We may see a return later, like the Voice Memo App, with was first reintroduced with iOS 7 beta 2 last year.

  • Framboogle

    My Mac made it! Yes!

  • pauleebe

    Handoff and Continuity are integral components to Yosemite. Without this feature set, a lot of users will be missing out. I don’t updgrade my Mac like I do my iPhone.

    • Valerie Cudnik

      Actually without those features there is not even a smidgen of a reason to upgrade.

  • Time to upgrade t old 2009 Macbook

  • Dennis

    Damn. I have a mid-2010 MBP. Works flawlessly (with SSD and 8GB of RAM), so I won’t be upgrading just because of one feature.

    • nyangejr

      yes u will, wait till fall comes

    • Lucus Bendzsa

      Maybe a Bluetooth 4.0 USB extender would. Fix this…….”

    • Saudor

      Same. Runs like a champ even with two displays attached!

  • Jeff Ramirez


    • Mozaik

      Battery is gonna suffer even if it is possible , main point of ble 4.0 was that its a good battery saver.

      • Ethan Humphrey

        Unless you have a ble 4.0 ios device and a desktop Mac without it EDIT: Nevermimd, I see your point

  • highNiggaPie

    Wooooo made the cutoff by a year nice

  • Toan Nguyen Duc

    That was like the biggest feature in yosemite and I was really looking forward to that…damn…

  • photo dog

    It seems that a simple solution would be to use a third party bluetooth dongle or in the case of a desktop model like iMac the internal bluetooth card could be upgraded. Will the bluetooth card from a 2012 iMac work in a 2011 model? That is all I would need to do.

  • Claude

    Wasn’t handoff working with the iPad 2 which is only Bluetooth 2.1 compatible?

  • Aceshigh87


    This was the feature I was most excited for after finally switching to iOS last December. Now I come to find out that my 2011 iMac (which still runs flawlessly) won’t be able to take advantage of it? Why should I be bothered to upgrade the OS? So I can get a new spotlight and design? No thanks.

    Would be nice if they’d offer a version that goes based on WiFi network for older devices but, of course, apple wants us running all the latest and greatest so that won’t happen.

    • TheShade247

      More likely they want our money again

      • Claude

        Of course they do, they’re a for profit company. Still, if you can solve it by buying a compatible Bluetooth 4.0 dongle (Apple doesn’t sell those) for 10-20 bucks then it’s not a big problem.

      • Aceshigh87

        I get that but boasting these new features (and very little else) without bothering to mention that 80% of their consumers can’t use them is kinda a piss off.

        Hopefully the dongle does work, I’ve seen it brought up. I’m fine taking up an extra USB slot for these features if that’s what it takes. I’m not so fine forking over $2000 to replace my iMac that isn’t even out of warranty yet.

      • drgonz0

        This article is alarmist bs. At first on my 2010 iMac features weren’t working, but now calling is working. Hoping for application handoff…

    • Valerie Cudnik

      There isn’t a reason to upgrade. None. Zip. The only benefit will be that you’ll quit getting upgrade notifications.

  • Mounish MN

    that sucks

  • I have a MBP 2010 and handoff works perfect on Yosemite and iOS8 ..
    There is no indication that this wouldn’t work in the future, otherwise it would not work at this moment.

    • Claude

      I’ve read some reports of devices with Bluetooth 2.1 working just fine with Handoff. I don’t think this was based on evidence but a simple speculation.

    • Cisco

      Are you sure?? All the Continuity features with your Bluetooth 2.1 on your MacBook 2010 ?!?

      • Haven’t tested continuity .. But handoff works perfect

      • Cisco

        Sorry, but is very important for me:

        are you able to answer a call on your MacBook?
        are you able to start writing an e-mail on your device and then finish it on your MacBook?

      • Like I said: Handoff works perfect, so calling and texting works perfect.
        I haven’t tested continuity (e-mail) simply because I don’t use the Mail app on both my mac and iphone

      • Cisco

        Jeffrey = hope ^_^

        thank you!

      • Murilo Herrmann

        Same here. SMS and Phone Calls working in a MBP Early 2011. But continuity (email, pages, other apps,…) not working on Public Preview 3

    • Manuel

      It feels so good to read that. I have a Macbook Pro Late 2011, and I was really disappointed when I read handoff would not work for me.

    • M Ch

      You are the first and only person on the internet who says this works. I so hope you’re right.

  • Norbi Whitney

    Aaaaaand we all knew it was coming. Stunningly efficient late 2011 MBP, 16GB of RAM, and custom fusion drive by replacing the optic drive with an SSD…not compatible.

  • Leonard Wong


  • TheShade247

    So what if we use blutooth 4.0 usb dongle?

    • Brandon

      i was just about to ask the same…

  • Thought it uses Wi-Fi only for this feature. “Now you can make and receive phone calls on those devices as long as your iPhone running iOS 8 is on the same Wi-Fi network”

    • Indeed, this article is full off crap and nonsense. Handoff works perfect on my MBP 2010 with yosemite ..

      • Ben

        I am running a Mid-2010 MBP with yosemite and a 5S with iOS 8. I can not get handoff or airdrop to work. What did you do to get it to work?

      • Nothing, worked right out of the box. But if you’re a developer you can check Apples Developer forum for similar problems

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      What if you’re not on Wi-fi though? Would you have to create an Adhoc network or would it just fallback to BlueTooth?

      • Well, something has to happen. I’m sure Apple has though this thorough. Let’s wait and find out.

  • rosssimpson

    My mid-2011 MacBook Air will work?! WOO :D!

  • TheShade247

    I don’t give a sh!t apple. I wont update my iphone to ios8 until my exotic friends come out with the new jailbreak

  • SteveZ

    Not to mention not all idevices!
    Come on! Apple

  • Jake1047s

    Handoff has been working for me, I don’t always leave Bluetooth on but when it’s on it works really well. I have an iPhone 5s and a 2012 Mac Pro pro retina

  • Chris Gilmore

    Son of a bitch

  • Marcus

    I never needed this feature anyways .-.

  • Sicheng Xu

    What if I’ve replaced my early 2011 mbp’s wireless module with a bluetooth4.0 one?

  • Jerwyn Feria

    I need a new mac. 2010 isn’t cutting it ><

  • popposoft

    Looks like I have some difficulties to use Handoff with my iPhone 5 and my MacBook Air mid2011. Also, Airdrop between those 2 devices does not work at all.

  • I have my Macbook Pro Retina 13 2013 late on OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 2 and an iPhone 4s on iOS 8 Beta 2 . Even though I enable Handoff in Settings >> General > on the macbook and i have wifi bluetooth and icloud account logged in on both devices , handoff and call out from the macbook refuses to work. It says Your iPhone is not available…. and just stays there… Handoff neither works ( logged off, restarted, enabled disabled the option) even reseted the phone… Nothing seems to make it work 🙁 too bad

    • Trevisan

      MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Early 2013) and Preview 2, iPhone 5S and Beta 2. Same problem.

      • I start to think it has to do something with the differnt ipsws for each iPhone 4s 5 5S 5C … I saw videos on youtube people being able to use handoff and continuity but none were with an iPhone 4s 🙂 I dont know about 5S though …I hope the next beta in 2 weeks time solves this and I can give it a try…definitely the most waited feature for me with Dark mode and widgets together

  • Zia Ismail

    I have a Macbook Pro late 2012. Handoff will work or not?

  • Zia Ismail

    I have a MacBook Pro Mid 2012 but I Handoff doesn’t work!!!! please help me

  • Никита Голоденко

    I’ve just installed on my new 5s + retina 13″ and notihing works on dev preview 2 and ios8 beta2. Bluetooth is on, and handoff is on in settings

    • Im in the same shoes… iPhone 4s on Beta Macbook Pro 2013 late on Beta I enabled Bluetooth Wifi iCloud on both sides and Nothing No Handoff Nor Continuity

  • Just like miracast being restricted to newer WiFi cards on the Windows 8.1 side…that’s fixable via a USB WiFi stick, wonder if this is fixable via a USB Bluetooth 4.0 dongle…

  • Mustafa Rana

    I have a Macbook Air Mid-2012 (Running OS X 10.10 Beta-2) and iPhone 5S running the latest IOS 8 beta – been struggling to get the Handoff / Continuity to work with no success … Any ideas ?

  • Jay

    I’m sure this is accurate but I’m going to give Apple benefit of the doubt since they haven’t put anything in writing on their website suggesting that Handoff will be limited to newer Macs. The only thing that stood out to me was that answering calls on a Mac will work between any iOS 8 and Yosemite devices if they’re connected to the same WiFi network.

  • Dawn Cowe

    I dont think the data is that accurate as i have a macbook air late 2010 without Bluetooth LE and the handoff features work with iOS 8 beta and yosemite?My macbook receives phone calls and texts all without the bluetooth LE

  • Arne

    WTF… That’s completely ridiculous! My 2,5 year old Macbook Pro isn’t supported… However, I think it would run just fine with the previous Bluetooth version too. And why do you actually need Bluetooth 4.0? They said it works with Wi-Fi… They said the only thing that you have to do is connect your Mac to the same network as your iCloud-devices… And why am I able to enable Hand-Off if my Macbook is too old anyway?

  • Rey David Maldonado

    my 2011 mac is getting phone calls from my 4s so its working for me 🙂

  • avery ng

    i just want airdrop, my imac is mid 2011, so i cannot have airdrop for my imac for sure right?

  • Tom McIntyre

    Handoff is not an option in my MacBook Pro system preferences. Is anyone else having that issue?

  • El_cano2008

    You can’t used continuity because you can get the IPhone connecting to Bluetooth! But of course you can receive and make call, SMS because is over wifi! But how can a Mac Mini don’t support the Bluetooth when you used 3partys extensions and use the Bluetooth! Example AirBlue Sharing!

  • Roberto L.

    airdrop – handoff – continuity full work

    macbook pro 15″ mid 2010

    change the airport card and read here
    forums macrumors com/showthread.php?p=19841481#post19841481

  • Michael Bullerdick

    I have two 17″ early 2011 MacBooks. I would love for these puppies to work with my iPhones. I have a work iPhone 4s and a personal iPhone 5.

    FWIW, ODDLY, my 4s rings my MacBook Pro and I’m able to take calls from my 4S there. The MacBook refuses to allow the iPhone 5 to interact however. Soon my work phone will be updated to a 6 Plus so I’m sure unless I can find a bluetooth card upgrade, my newer iPhones will not be able to talk through the Mac.

  • Valerie Cudnik

    Another FAIL by Apple. They need to come out and actually tell people what the requirements are. There was no reason to upgrade to Yosemite with a 2011 iMac. Actually there wasn’t really any benefit to upgrading to Mavericks, which was a POS — as bad as Vista.

    I’ve been an Apple user since 1986. I no longer use the world “loyal”. Nor “fan”. The only reason I’m still with Apple is the vast investment in software I’ve already made. As soon as it’s time to start making any real upgrades in either hardware or software I’ll have to compare operating systems as well as the cost of equipment to see if it’s worthwhile.