Now that Yosemite is out, with iOS 8 devices you are now able to use Handoff. Handoff will allow you to seamlessly start a task on one device, and pick it up on another device. So for example you start writing a paper on your iPad and then you want to continue it on your Mac, or you start writing an email on your iPhone and want to finish it on your iPad, this is what Handoff does. When signed into the same iCloud account and Bluetooth is turned on, Handoff will allow you to transition your work flow from one device to another.

On the Mac, you will have an additional dock separate from the main dock indicating what is running on the iOS device. On the iOS device on the lock screen you will have an icon indicating the app that is being used on the Mac. Currently it works with Apple’s apps including Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Safari, Reminders, Messages, Maps, Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Developers can also add Handoff to their apps as Things and other apps have already done. In this how-to article, I will discuss how to set up Handoff and how to use it.

For Handoff to work, you did need to have a 2012 iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac or late 2013 Mac Pro. You do need to have an iOS device running iOS 8 with Bluetooth turned on. Since Handoff works via Bluetooth, the devices do need to be within thirty feet of each other. Also, all of your Apple devices need to be signed into the same iCloud account.

Now that we have met the requirements for Handoff, let’s first make sure that Handoff is enabled. On the iOS device go into Settings and select General. Then tap on Handoff & Suggested Apps to make sure that it is turned on.

To check to see if Handoff is enabled on the Mac, open up System Preferences. Then make sure that Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices is checked on.

Now that Handoff is set up and enabled to work, let’s discuss how it works.

In my example above, I said one of the ways you can use Handoff is to start writing a paper on your iPad and finish it on your Mac. To do this, I will be using Notes for iOS and Notes for Mac. I start to write it in Notes on the iPad.

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While I am writing on the iPad there is now a dock that is separate from the main dock on my Mac. In that new separated dock it shows the Notes app with an iPad icon in the upper right hand corner. That indicates I am using Notes on the iPad. If you like to have your dock hidden, to see that I am using the Notes app on my iPad is to hold the Command key and Tab key at the same time on the keyboard to view the app switcher, or you can hover the cursor over where the dock would be to bring it up.

To open up Notes on the Mac, click the Notes app and it will open up in the note you were in and where you left off.

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In my other example above, I mentioned you can start writing an email on your iPhone and then finish it on your iPad. Here is the email I am starting to write from my iPhone 6.

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On my iPad I can tell that I am working on Mail by two visual indications. On the lock screen there is a Mail icon in the lower left hand corner and swiping up will allow me to pick up my email right off from where I started. Or the other method to view Mail is to use the App Switcher, and swipe from left to right to view the app that is being used and tapping on it will open up Mail and bring over the draft I was working on.

In order for Handoff to work, the device that you initially are working on has to be awake and unlocked. So for example, you are viewing a website on your iPad and the iPad automatically locks, you cannot Handoff the website until you wake up the iPad and unlock it.

This is how you use Handoff, which will help improve workflows and productivity between devices. Let us know if you find it beneficial and increasing your workflow.