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How to Get Handoff to Actually Work in OS X Yosemite

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If you're anything like me, you were really excited to try out the new Handoff feature in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. And you were equally disappointed when you updated all of your software, and the damn thing didn't work. Fear not, fellow computer user! With Apple's help, I managed to get Handoff working, and you can too.

It's actually very simple. Do these three things:

  1. Make sure your computer and mobile device are compatible with Handoff
  2. Turn Bluetooth off and on all of your devices
  3. Sign out of iCloud on all of your devices and sign back in

That last part is the most important part. Handoff uses iCloud to match your mobile device to your computer and vice versa. For whatever reason, though, some accounts require a little kick in the pants to get it all synced up. (This should not come as a surprise, if you've ever used iCloud before, as it's hardly flaw-free.) So even though it takes a minute, sign out of iCloud and sign back in. When I did the three above steps, Handoff worked immediately, and it worked perfectly. It's pretty cool!


There's one little caveat. One of my coworkers had similar Handoff problems, followed the three steps, and then Handoff worked perfectly—almost. She was not able to send or receive text messages through the Messages app. She was able to resolve that issue by turning text forwarding off and then on again, however.

This is all to say that Handoff is a neat feature that does work, with a little prompting. It's more than a little frustrating that it doesn't work for everyone right out of the box. But hey! Both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are free pieces of software. Sometimes you pay for what you get.