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OS X Yosemite first look video: Handoff

post #1 of 76
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One of the more exciting features shown off at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference was Handoff, a piece of technology that lets OS X Yosemite recognize what a user is doing in an iOS 8 app and seamlessly transfer that action to Mac.



Handoff is one of four tentpole features -- alongside SMS, phone calls and Instant Hotspot -- in Apple's next-generation OS X and iOS operating systems the company is collectively referring to as "continuity." Baked in to OS X 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8, continuity features let Macs recognize actions on nearby iOS devices to enable a new level of integration and cross-platform connectivity.

With Handoff, a Mac running OS X 10.10 Yosemite will monitor for iOS 8 devices via Bluetooth. Tying in iCloud as a registration backbone, OS X doesn't need to pair with an iPhone or iPad to log it as a viable target device, making the proximity-aware feature utterly seamless for users with properly configured Apple IDs.

Once the Mac establishes a connection with the iOS device, it appears to enter a low-power "listening" mode until an appropriate call signal is received. As seen in the video above, the iPhone sends out a call whenever a Handoff-capable app is opened, which in turn invokes an icon of the corresponding OS X version of the app to appear next to the Mac's dock.

Clicking on the Mac-side pop-up opens the app and transports the user's most recent action data from the iOS device. For example, users can start reading a webpage on an iPad and pick up where they left off on the Mac.

In the video, we demonstrated this "last action" transfer with Safari and Maps. While Safari took us to the relevant webpage, Maps was more granular in its assessment of most recent iOS device activity and navigated to the correct area and zoom level last displayed on our iPhone.

We also tested the feature with Mail, which returned a new message window with all data fields filled down to the last letter typed. Similar results were found with all supported apps, including Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts.

It should be noted that the feature was working only from iOS to Mac at the time of this writing, but Handoff should be completely two-way compatible at launch. When a Mac sends an appropriate call to a listening iOS device, a small icon of the app is displayed on the iPhone or iPad's lock screen. Swiping up on the icon will take users to the last action performed on the Mac side.


Handoff of Mail on iOS to Mac.


Looking more closely at the tech behind Handoff, we found the setup to be similar to AirDrop, which seeks out nearby devices via Bluetooth and transfers files over a higher-bandwidth ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection. With Bluetooth turned off, our Mac was not "aware" of the nearby iPhone and opening supported iOS apps would not trigger the Handoff mechanism.

Even in its beta form, Handoff is an impressive feature that fits seamlessly into Apple's multi-platform software environment. Further, Apple has provided the appropriate APIs to third-party developers so they can integrate Handoff in their own apps, opening the door to a completely connected ecosystem of Mac and iOS apps.

Aside from a few connectivity issues that required us to toggle our iPhone's Bluetooth on and off, Handoff worked as demonstrated on stage at WWDC by Apple SVP Craig Federighi. By the time Apple's next-gen operating systems hit the App Store this fall, the feature should be ready for action.

For more information on Apple's new push in cross-platform integration, see AppleInsider's hands-on iOS 8 videos.
post #2 of 76
I hope that older devices will support this option, such as 2008 iMac. I don't see why they wouldn't.
post #3 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDBA View Post

I hope that older devices will support this option, such as 2008 iMac. I don't see why they wouldn't.

I suspect 2010 or later.. unless you add a Bluetooth 4.0 device that supports Bluetooth LE.. I think BT LE is the key to the feature...

 

In theory you could add a BT 4.0 USB adaptor and this would still work on your 2008 iMac

post #4 of 76
BT low power state? BT 4.0 only then?
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post #5 of 76
Nice from iOS to Mac

Just wonder if there is Mac to iOS.
post #6 of 76
I've gotten the connection of my iPhone 5s to my iMac (late 2012 21") for things like phone calls, but the email side and even Safari web handoff has not worked. That being said, this is most definitely a feature that is worth upgrading hardware for if you use your iPhone, iPad and Mac laptop or desktop for work.

The seamless connectivity between devices makes way more sense than Microsoft's idea of trying to make a single device that is a jack of all trades, master of none.
post #7 of 76
What I would really like to know is if I can use the same functionality between a Mac desktop and a Mac laptop, because I want to work in the office on a Mac desktop and then take a laptop out with me on site. I want to have the same documents working the same way (sync) on both.
Can anyone confirm this is possible?
post #8 of 76
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
Clicking on the Mac-side pop-up opens the app and transports the user's most recent action data from the iOS device. For example, users can start reading a webpage on an iPad and pick up where they left off on the Mac.

Big deal.

 

The question is whether they also send over the content of edit fields, like the one I'm typing into now.

 

My major workflow issue is starting a response on a web page on my iPhone, and then deciding I'd like to move to the desktop because it's going to be long.

 

If they solve that problem, I'll buy another iPhone.

post #9 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post

Big deal.

The question is whether they also send over the content of edit fields, like the one I'm typing into now.

My major workflow issue is starting a response on a web page on my iPhone, and then deciding I'd like to move to the desktop because it's going to be long.

If they solve that problem, I'll buy another iPhone.

What do you mean, "starting a response"? "Hello Mr. Glockenspiel,"...then decide? Or type several paragraphs, THEN decide?

The assumption is that as long as you are using an iWork app or presumably a program like Mail, it is taking snapshots of whatever information you've entered and will be reflected on your alternate choice of device as long as you are logged in.

I'm a bit curious to see this in action myself.

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post #10 of 76
Expect handoff to be supported on the 5S or 5, and not the 4s, etc. All the macs that support Yosemite will hopefully support it, but who knows?

Apple did not announce which features will be supported by which devices. It's likely that the coolest ones will not be on the 4S.
post #11 of 76
How do you do the phone calls hand off?
post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by 65C816 View Post

How do you do the phone calls hand off?

I don't believe they promised the ability to handoff a call in progress, just the ability to select which device you prefer to answer the call with while it is ringing.

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post #13 of 76
If I have three half finished emails and two Numbers document open and in progress in my work Mac.... How will this transfer to my iPhone? And when I get home will I be able to open Mail and Numbers on my home Mac and continue work? Anybody know?
post #14 of 76
It doesn't work on my 4S and Macbook Air (late 2011).

Is the video made with the Preview version? Or a special version available at WWDC? Because on https://appleseed.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/ is is stated:

"Since the beta software is unfinished, some new features will not be available, such as phone calls, SMS, Handoff, Instant Hotspot, and iCloud Drive."

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post #15 of 76

How does the SMS part of continuity work? Are they synched between devices similar to iMessages or are they only available when the iPhone is connected to / in reach of a Mac/iPad?

 

I wish they would create a unified messenger API other providers could tap into and/or make open iMessages to other OSs...

post #16 of 76

It's already the case on iOS that you have to write code to save the state of your app to a file, and code to read this file and restore the state again. This is because if the user switches to another app, and that app needs all the memory, your app will be purged by the OS, and will need to restore it's state later if it's switched back to.

 

So it should be fairly easy for developers to implement Handoff. All they need to do is use the same format of state file on both the Mac and iOS, and when the time comes for a handover, just transmit the state file over the provided BTLE link. If that is in fact how it works.

post #17 of 76
If Continuity is successful the bottom line results will be considerable. With Swift, the same code base will be used to write osx and iOS applications. More apps will become available to the Mac, more macs will be sold. Less likely will people use an iPhone and Windows. The tie in into the apple world will become a lot more sticky.
post #18 of 76
5S on iOS 8 beta 1 and Macbook Pro 15 2010 on Yosemite beta 1 would only do calls on the Mac. I could not handoff safari, iMessage or anything else. Hopefully will be fixed in next beta. Early days.
post #19 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post
 

I suspect 2010 or later.. unless you add a Bluetooth 4.0 device that supports Bluetooth LE.. I think BT LE is the key to the feature...

 

In theory you could add a BT 4.0 USB adaptor and this would still work on your 2008 iMac

2010... I dunno, with the Macbook Pro try 2012 cause that's when they started to add Bluetooth 4.0.   My Late-2011 MBP only has 2.1  It would be strange to see Apple feature out a system they sold just 2 years ago, but then again they do this often with their iOS devices so it's definitely possible.

post #20 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalle View Post

It doesn't work on my 4S and Macbook Air (late 2011).

Is the video made with the Preview version? Or a special version available at WWDC? Because on https://appleseed.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/ is is stated:

"Since the beta software is unfinished, some new features will not be available, such as phone calls, SMS, Handoff, Instant Hotspot, and iCloud Drive."

Good question.

I'm a paid developer for both iOS and Mac OS X and I can't get any of the Continuity features to work, except SMS from my Mac, but that's really just sending a tagged iMessage that will then be forwarded as an SMS once it reaches your iPhone.

I can't figure out how to make a voice call from my Mac, get any apps to handoff, or figure out how to create a hyperlink of an item in iCloud. Ally my devices are on the same network connected via an AirPort Extreme. I have a Late-2013 MBP, iPhone 5S and Retina iPad mini. I thought it would be automatic with WiFI but I also tried to connect them via Bluetooth but that didn't work.

So what am I missing?

PS: I also can't figure out how to enable Dark Mode.

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post #21 of 76

I still don't understand why I can't click on a phone number on my iPad and have it dial from my iPhone...

post #22 of 76
I would assume it works over wireless and maybe both bluetooth as well. I think its stupid if you need bluetooth with it when you don't need it for AirDrop. Hoping it works either way.
post #23 of 76
The only question I would have about it is if it would work from mac to mac. An example being going from a MacBook to an iMac. That would be a great addition.
post #24 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigzaj View Post

I still don't understand why I can't click on a phone number on my iPad and have it dial from my iPhone...

That's what Handoff will resolve.

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post #25 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by cashxx View Post

I would assume it works over wireless and maybe both bluetooth as well. I think its stupid if you need bluetooth with it when you don't need it for AirDrop. Hoping it works either way.

Isn't that because airdrop drops between say your mac and other colleagues, whereas handoff is only between ones own devices...
post #26 of 76

Does it?  I've only read about call options between Macs running Yosemite and iPhones with iOS8.  I have not read anything about handing off between iPhone and iPad for phone calls...

 

"One of this unique feature is making calls through Mac, using the cellular network in the iPhone. If your Mac is running OS X Yosemite, it can identify that your iPhone is nearby (the phone can be in your bag or in the same room) and then can allow you to accept calls or messages on the big screen. Similarly, if you are browsing the web page of a beauty parlour on your Mac and then wants to make a call to it, you can do so directly from the Mac. The Mac will automatically connect to the iPhone and make the call."

post #27 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squuiid View Post

5S on iOS 8 beta 1 and Macbook Pro 15 2010 on Yosemite beta 1 would only do calls on the Mac. I could not handoff safari, iMessage or anything else. Hopefully will be fixed in next beta. Early days.

I hope this isn't a sign that the 2010 15" MacBook Pro won't support all of this. If so, it looks like I'll have to upgrade as soon as financially possible... 

 

At least you have calls working. I guess that's a good sign. Let's hope beta 2 of at least one of them gets it working correctly. 

post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigzaj View Post

Does it?  I've only read about call options between Macs running Yosemite and iPhones with iOS8.  I have not read anything about handing off between iPhone and iPad for phone calls...

"One of this unique feature is making calls through Mac, using the cellular network in the iPhone. If your Mac is running OS X Yosemite, it can identify that your iPhone is nearby (the phone can be in your bag or in the same room) and then can allow you to accept calls or messages on the big screen. Similarly, if you are browsing the web page of a beauty parlour on your Mac and then wants to make a call to it, you can do so directly from the Mac. The Mac will automatically connect to the iPhone and make the call."

Ah, I see, you specifically mean your iPad, and they only demoed and mentioned doing this from the Mac. I see your point. If they don't allow this from the iPad that would be strange as I see no reason they can't make iOS does the same handoff as the Mac back to the iPhone. I think it's using the FaceTime Audio protocols over a LAN with the heavy lifting being on the iPhone which will have to repackage the audio going to and coming off of the cellular network.

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post #29 of 76
It works so smooth! I love it.
post #30 of 76
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
What do you mean, "starting a response"? "Hello Mr. Glockenspiel,"...then decide? Or type several paragraphs, THEN decide?

Technically, there's no difference.

 

Indeed, it appears that this system works on file exchange, and therefore would not work with web forms.

 

But think about how much you type into web forms these days. Like this one.

post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post


Isn't that because airdrop drops between say your mac and other colleagues, whereas handoff is only between ones own devices...


Thats true I guess.........they mentioned in the keynote the phone can be in your bedroom though as your else where.  Bluetooth doesn't go too far, 30ft if your lucky.  For me usually 15ft or so.   Be a small house your in for it to work!    Mixed data so not sure, but what you said does make sense!

post #32 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedGeminiPA View Post

I hope this isn't a sign that the 2010 15" MacBook Pro won't support all of this. If so, it looks like I'll have to upgrade as soon as financially possible... 

 

At least you have calls working. I guess that's a good sign. Let's hope beta 2 of at least one of them gets it working correctly. 

 



Sorry, my post was misleading, thinking back to it, calls worked from my iPad Air, not from the 2010 Macbook Pro.
Seems like the 2010 Macbook Pro 15" doesn't make the cut for Handoff functionality, probably due to Bluetooth limitation as others here have pointed out.
post #33 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squuiid View Post

5S on iOS 8 beta 1 and Macbook Pro 15 2010 on Yosemite beta 1 would only do calls on the Mac. I could not handoff safari, iMessage or anything else. Hopefully will be fixed in next beta. Early days.


How did you make calls on the Mac?  I want to try that!  I already have yosemite and iOS 8 betas, so... :)

post #34 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squuiid View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedGeminiPA View Post
 

I hope this isn't a sign that the 2010 15" MacBook Pro won't support all of this. If so, it looks like I'll have to upgrade as soon as financially possible... 

 

At least you have calls working. I guess that's a good sign. Let's hope beta 2 of at least one of them gets it working correctly. 

 



Sorry, my post was misleading, thinking back to it, calls worked from my iPad Air, not from the 2010 Macbook Pro.
Seems like the 2010 Macbook Pro 15" doesn't make the cut for Handoff functionality, probably due to Bluetooth limitation as others here have pointed out.

That's what I was afraid of... grrrr. Oh well. 

 

Someone mentioned adding a Bluetooth 4.0 dongle, but we all know Apple will restrict it based on Mac model. Adding the dongle will only be a waste of time and money. 

post #35 of 76
Video won't play if viewing this site with iOS 8.
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post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Video won't play if viewing this site with iOS 8.

Isn't it Flash-only? Oddly, AI is the only site I frequent that still wants me to use Flash.

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post #37 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Video won't play if viewing this site with iOS 8.

Isn't it Flash-only? Oddly, AI is the only site I frequent that still wants me to use Flash.

Yeah, I didn't notice that!

Also, AI often renders improperly on iOS 8 -- missing content, intermixed markup, content rendered too smLl ....

Likely, this is partially iOS 8 fault and partially AIs fault.

One issue with iOS 8 Safari is that automatic minimization of the page top eliminates the tab bar -- you must scroll down a bit in the forum (losing your place) in order to make the tab bar reappear.
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post #38 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Yeah, I didn't notice that!

Also, AI often renders improperly on iOS 8 -- missing content, intermixed markup, content rendered too smLl ....

Likely, this is partially iOS 8 fault and partially AIs fault.

One issue with iOS 8 Safari is that automatic minimization of the page top eliminates the tab bar -- you must scroll down a bit in the forum (losing your place) in order to make the tab bar reappear.

Go to the WWDC session video page with Safari 8 on Yosemite. I don't get the Download buttons as I should. I have to open the page in Chrome to DL the videos which is either unique to me (or atypical among Yosemite users) or Apple is really dropping the ball with not making sure heir developer page works with Yosemite.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #39 of 76
"It should be noted that the feature was working only from iOS to Mac at the time of this writing, but Handoff should be completely two-way compatible at launch."

Just wait, an analyst is to write an investor piece based on this information, telling his customers to dump Apple stock "based on their inability to innovate beta software."
post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Yeah, I didn't notice that!

Also, AI often renders improperly on iOS 8 -- missing content, intermixed markup, content rendered too smLl ....

Likely, this is partially iOS 8 fault and partially AIs fault.

One issue with iOS 8 Safari is that automatic minimization of the page top eliminates the tab bar -- you must scroll down a bit in the forum (losing your place) in order to make the tab bar reappear.

Go to the WWDC session video page with Safari 8 on Yosemite. I don't get the Download buttons as I should. I have to open the page in Chrome to DL the videos which is either unique to me (or atypical among Yosemite users) or Apple is really dropping the ball with not making sure heir developer page works with Yosemite.

I can't right now, I'm using migration assistant on my Yosemite HD. But, that's why they called it a "preview" release.
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