Messages for OS X Yosemite

When iOS 8 launches for public consumption next Wednesday, text message relaying will not work immediately from day one because Apple plans to enable the feature in October, according to the just-refreshed iOS 8 webpage detailing the Continuity feature that was first spotted Friday morning by iLongue.

Now listed as ”coming in October”, the delayed launch coincides nicely with an upcoming October release of the free OS X Yosemite update. A discussion thread at MacRumors corroborates iLounge’s findings, suggesting Apple has disabled SMS relaying on its servers in the past couple of days, likely until Yosemite is officially released.

This development isn’t surprising to us given that iOS 8 and Yosemite are more dependent on each other by Continuity than previously.

It’s interesting that Apple has gone through a few iterations before settling on a final name for this feature. The first couple of betas referred to the feature as “Continuity SMS” until Beta 5 came along and replaced mentions of “Continuity SMS” with “SMS Relay”.

iOS 8 Gold Master has once more re-christened the feature from “SMS Relay” to the more logical ”Text Message Forwarding”. Speaking of which, the gold master edition of iOS 8 has also disabled Siri’s Shazam-powered song-matching feature.

That the Shazam feature seems to have been disabled on Apple’s servers rather than removed completely from iOS 8 tell us it’s only temporary, until Apple flips the switch back again following iOS 8’s release next Wednesday.

Text Message Forwarding (or SMS Relay, or whatever you want to call it) uses iOS 8’s Continuity capabilities to relay text messages from your iPhone to other iPad, iPod touch and Mac devices. Text messages appear right inside the stock iOS 8/Yosemite Messages application.

iOS 8 (SMS Relay, iPhone and iPad 001)

Not only can you elect to receive text messages on these non-SMS-capable devices, you can also send SMS replies right from your Mac, iPad or iPod touch. In a nutshell, the feature uses Continuity to beam the contents of your message to an authorized iPhone which in turn sends it over the cellular network using the SMS protocol.

“So when a friend texts you from any kind of phone, you can respond using whichever device is most convenient,” Apple explains. “You can also start a conversation from your iPad or Mac by clicking a phone number in Safari, Contacts, or Calendar”.

Having been using iOS 8 and Yosemite on my production hardware since day one, I must admit that SMS relay strikes me as a killer feature, one definitely worth waiting for.

Imagine your daily computing without the frustration of those green chat bubbles appearing on your iPhone, but not on Macs or iPads. Users need and expect from Apple a unified messaging solution so the ability to communicate on any device, using both iMessage and SMS, shall certainly be viewed as a huge boon for novice users who are not necessarily tech literate.

In Apple’s parlance, “it just works”.

Are you looking forward to this feature?

[Apple via iLounge]

  • Jose Gonzalez

    I have the gm for both my iPhone and iPad but can’t seem to place any calls with the iPad. Says “Call Using iPhone Failed”. Any one experiencing this? I was able to do it during the other betas though so I don’t know.

    • Do you have T-Mobile? Apparently if you have WiFi calling, it disables continuity for phone calls.

      • Jose Gonzalez

        Yeah I have tmobile but i didn’t turn on wifi calling. I did however come across another toggle in the FaceTime settings panel that would of seemed to have fixed it but it also didn’t work. Guess Apple needs to flip the switch.

    • James Collins

      Working fine here between an ipad 4 wifi and an iphone 5

      • Jose Gonzalez

        Yeah its working now.

  • Daniel Yong

    Wait… doesn’t it work already and is still working? I’m on the OS X Yosemite beta seed programme and it works.

    • Yeah, I have it still working on Yosemite and iOS 8.

  • David J Delgado

    I reset my iPhone to iOS 8 GM and the feature was disabled. The Beta 5 still allows it. I guess I will have to wait until October to use it again.

  • TonyVee73

    This is one of my favorite new features on iOS 8. I can’t wait.

  • Linton Findlay

    personally gonna wait a couple of months until i update and lose my jailbreak. will hopefully allow time for keyboards to start showing up in the app store and any bugs to be squashed

    • Jason Frost

      Keyboards are scheduled to be released on the 17th (iOS8 official release date)

  • Eikast

    Well Apple made it easy for me not to try out the Yosemite beta (I have an iOS developer’s account so they gave me access to Yosemite).

  • jalexcarter

    Definitely like this feature. I just use Remote Messages tweak to do this now but won’t be able to until iOS 8 gets jailbroken. C’mon dev team work your dark magic quickly pretty please!!

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    Can’t wait

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Damnit! I was wondering why this stopped working since the GM version. That sucks

  • Anona Mouse

    Will Text Message Forwarding work from iPhone to iPhone? (Same user, same Apple ID) Does this need WiFi (local devices sharing) to work? Or in other words, you have two iPhones (for various reasons), different models/different numbers, and want to completely forward voice/text from one to the other (depending on which iPhone you’re carrying as your Primary at the time, and you don’t carry both). Can TMF take care of forwarding all the SMS from one to the other in that situation? (We can already forward voice calls number to number but can’t forward SMS.)

    • Ekitchi

      I don’t think the whole “Continuity” thing will work from one iPhone to another.
      It needs Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (no pairing needed) to work.

      • Anona Mouse

        Not talking about the ‘whole’ Continuity thing, just SMS.
        Update: Working with a friend of mine… his two iPhones, 4s and 5s, same Apple ID, iOS 8.x …it was temperamental, but we got SMS Forwarding set up, and stable (stopped asking for codes).
        And now… non-Apple/non-iMessage SMS texts will forward both ways; a non-Apple/non-iMessage SMS sent to iPhone A(4s) will forward to iPhone B(5s), -and- a non-Apple/non-iMessage SMS sent to iPhone B(5s) will forward to iPhone A(4s)… even after we turned bluetooth OFF. However, when I used MY iPhone 4 iOS 7.x and sent txt (going via iMessage) to both his iPhones, we only achieved forwarding from the 4s to the 5s… iMessages sent to the 5s didn’t seem to forward to the 4s (but one could turn iMessage off to force cellular SMS).