Wow Yosemite and iOS 8.1 are pretty cool when it works

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Well, this is so typically Apple, when it works it just works, but when it doesn’t who knows why. I just updated to Yosemite OS X 10.10 (when are they finally going to OS X 11 I wonder 🙂 and iOS 8.1. Things seem to be going very well and amazingly after a little delay, the Continuity features are working.
It is amazing how seamless it is (when it does work). The main issue is discoverability as they don’t throw a huge dialog in your face. But basically you need a late model Mac (with Bluetooth LE, so Macs circa 2012) and then I think you need to turn Wifi and Bluetooth on, but am not sure.
Then you need a late model iPhone (5 or better I think) and you need to turn on wifi and bluetooth on. And make sure your iCloud identities are the same on both devices. 
So what happens automagically:

  1. You can send a text message from the Messages application on your Mac (or iPad for that matter). For those of us at a desk all day, it means the big screen is more convenient. Or if you have an iPad Mini, you really don’t need a data plan and can send email and now texts from there (if you have any friends who *don’t* have iPhones and are not iZombies 🙂
  2. You can turn your Mac into a speaker phone. Just right click on a phone number and it dials and you are in. How convenient is that! You do have to be on the same Wifi network for the phone and the Mac.
  3. You can (finally) Airdrop a photo from your phone to your Mac. This is a little hard to find. You basically go to the share button (the box with the thingy sticking out) and you will see at the top row a list of Airdrop contacts. When you click on it, your Mac wakes up and you can get the high resolution photo. 
  4. There is this funky feature called Handoff. A new icon appear on your lock screen. When you swipe up, you can see the document you were working on or browsing on your Mac and on the Mac, if you Command-Tab, you can see the application you were looking at on your phone. Nice to be able to “grab and go” from your Mac when you have a meeting. Also nice to get into the office and look at CNN o your big Mac or on your iPad when you get off the bus.
  5. If you are out of Wifi and need your phone to hotspot, you can now do it from the Mac menu (ok that is just a small savings over having to turn on your phone, but I guess the scenario is now the phone sits in your bag and you can do all from the tethered Mac or iPad).

The biggest issue is what happens if it *doesn’t* work. Basically you are kind of SOL. There aren’t any diagnostics. For about 30 minutes, my iPhone didn’t show up and it wasn’t clear how to make it work.
And now it worked for a second and is gone again. I don’t think the Bluetooth Le signaling is flawless yet. But here is what is happening:

  • Airdrop works (but only if it is set to discover everyone)
  • SMS works
  • Calling from Mac works
  • Handoff works from iPhone to Mac but you need to make sure you are in the application when you check from the Mac
  • Handoff works if you on a Safari screen (but not if you are in browser extension like Scribefire)
  • Wifi hotspot turn on doesn’t appear

 
 

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