One of the coolest features of OS X Yosemite is Handoff, which allows you to transition your app session on an iOS device to a Mac and vice versa. Unfortunately, Handoff isn't going to work with every Mac.

How Handoff works

The beauty of Handoff is that it's easy to use. For starters you'll need to enable it in both your Mac and your phone's settings. It's listed under General settings in both iOS and OS X. You'll also need to make sure Bluetooth is turned on.

Once it's all set up, it's pretty straight-forward to switch between devices, although for right now it only works with Apple apps like Mail and Safari. If you're using an app on your Mac, you'll see a little icon pop up in the corner of your lockscreen. Swipe up on that, and it'll grab the session from your computer. Likewise if you're using your phone and look at your computer, you'll see an icon pop up on your dock with a little circular indicator to tell you that it's coming from your phone. Click that icon and the session will launch.

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Why it might now work

In order for Handoff to work, both of your devices need to have Bluetooth 4.o. That's no big deal for iOS devices, Every iPad since the third generation supports the latest spec, and the iPhone has had Bluetooth 4.0 since the iPhone 4S.

Macs, however, are an entirely different issue. If your computer is a few years old, you might be out of luck. iMore rounds up when Macs transitioned:

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  • The Mac mini and MacBook Air were both updated with Bluetooth 4.0 support in 2011.
  • The MacBook Pro and iMac added it a year later in 2012.
  • The Mac Pro languished without it until the new black model debuted in December 2013.


Not sure when your Mac is from? Here's how to find out if your computer has Bluetooth 4.0. Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your desktop. Click About This Mac, then the button that says System Report. Click Bluetooth from the list of hardware components. Scroll down to LMP Version, which should say 0x6. If it's lower than that, you're out of luck.

Some compatibility issues always crop up when new software is introduced, but luckily this time, any relatively recent computer should work. I'm a little bummed about my 2011 MacBook Pro, but hey, it was probably time for an upgrade anyway. [Lifehacker and iMore]