How To: Use Handoff Feature Between OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1


Handoff, a part of the Continuity suit, was introduced by Apple earlier this month when it unveiled OS X Yosemite and allows users to start writing an email (for example) on an iPhone and continue that action on another iOS device or a Mac. In order to use Handoff however, you must have OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.0/8.1 installed on your devices, all of which must be logged into the same iCloud account, must be on the same Wi-Fi network, and they all must have Bluetooth 4.0 to support the feature.

The folks over at OS X daily have put up a handy tutorial on how to enable and use the Handoff feature between OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1. Just follow the steps below:

Step 1:

First of all, enable the Handoff feature in both OS X and iOS:

  • On Mac: System Preferences > General > Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices
  • On iPhone / iPad: Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps > Set Handoff to ON

Enable handoff for mac os x

Enable handoff ios

Step 2:

Now turn on Bluetooth on both Mac and your iOS device and join the same Wi-Fi networks. Make sure both devices are logged into the same iCloud account.

Step 3:

Now open an app like Safari, Mail, Pages, the iWork suite, etc. that supports Handoff on your Mac. For this example, we’ll use Safari.

Step 4:

Have Safari on the Mac loaded with a webpage and active as the forefront application. Pick up the iPhone or iPad and look at the lock screen – you should see a little Safari icon in the bottom left corner indicating Handoff is ready to pass the Macs Safari session off to the iOS device.

Handoff icon on lock screen ios 1

Step 5:

Swipe up on that icon from the corner of the lock screen to open the webpage from the Mac onto the iOS device.

Handoff shown in multitasking screen ios 449x800 1

In case you can’t get Handoff to work, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Make sure devices are on the same Wi-Fi network
  • Quit and relaunch the app(s) trying to use Handoff
  • Disable and re-enable Handoff (the feature is often enabled by default but doesn’t immediately work, toggling off and ON again often resolves that)
  • Disable and re-enable Bluetooth
  • Log out and back into iCloud accounts on devices
  • Reboot the Mac; Reboot the iPhone or iPad

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.


  • Jayy Battad

    On Mac: System Preferences > General > Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices
    I don’t have that option, does that mean my macbook air is not compatible for handoff?

  • bspence88

    And you’re on Yosemite? That’s odd.

  • Jayy Battad

    yeah I’m on yosemite too, I’m thinking my macbook is too old. its a mid 2011 model.

  • Sheldon Torres

    “MacReboot” should be “Mac” on the last bullet point?

  • Chrome262

    Also, if you have a router with dual bands, I find it has less problems if you are on both the same band. i.e. both on the 2.5Ghz,

  • Chrome262

    Yeah I don’t see it on my Air that is that old but do on my retina, its not that it cant do it, its just with that network card it doesn’t support it. In the Airdrop folder there is an option for older macs so thats at least supported.