How to Use Apple Handoff Feature: Help Guide

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Handoff is a Continuity feature of iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs that allows users to start a task on one device and then continue with it on another. For example, you might start reading a web page on your iPad, and then realize you’d rather switch over and read on your iPhone or Mac. With Handoff, making that switch is seamless. No more noting down the URL or emailing it to yourself for opening on a second device. Sounds good, right? Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use Apple Handoff to continue tasks between devices.

You own an iPhone , and maybe another Apple device such as an iPad, Mac or Apple Watch. If you’ve started a given activity on one device and want to continue on another, you can easily do that with Handoff.

Handoff requirements

Handoff requirements include:

  • A mobile device equipped with Bluetooth LE (iPhone 5 or newer, iPad Pro (any version), iPad 4 or newer,
  • iPad Air or newer, iPad mini (any version), iPod
    touch 5th generation or newer, Apple Watch (any version)
    Signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID
    Connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • OS X Yosemite or later on Mac,
  • iOS 8 or later on iPhone or iPad,
  • watchOS 1.0 or later on Apple Watch.

Handoff compatibility

Handoff supports Apple’s built-in apps such as Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Mail, Calendar, Maps, Contacts, Reminders, Safari, and Podcasts, however, it supports some third-party apps as well.

How to set up and use Handoff.

Enable Handoff on Mac

Handoff is a feature and not an app, therefore, you don’t have to download anything from the App Store. Instead, you’ll just need to activate the feature on each device. To enable Handoff on Mac, select the Apple menu icon and click on System Preferences > General. Choose the option to “Allow Handoff between this Mac
and your iCloud devices” if it’s not enabled by default.
To disable Handoff on Mac, repeat the above steps but set the toggle to Off.

Enable Handoff on iPhone & iPad

The process is simplified on iOS devices, so you can follow the same process for iPhone and iPad. Simply follow these steps to enable Handoff on iPhone or iPad:

  1. Start the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Handoff.
  4. Turn on the switch for Handoff if it’s not already on.

To disable Handoff on iPhone or iPad, repeat the above steps but set the toggle to Off.

Enable Handoff on Apple Watch

  1. Start the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. In the My Watch section, tap on General.
  3. Finally, turn on the switch to Enable Handoff.

To disable Handoff on Apple Watch, repeat the above steps but set the toggle to Off.

Switching From Mac to iOS

Let’s start by using Handoff to move back and forth between Mac and an iOS device with Safari. Launch Safari app and start searching. Now check your iPad and you
should see an icon for Safari in the Dock. You can easily know this is the Handoff icon because attached to it in the upper-right is a smaller icon that looks like
your Mac. Tap this Handoff icon and the same webpage you were viewing on your Mac opens on your iPad in Safari.

Switching From Mac to iPhone

On an iPhone, you are going to need to reveal the app switcher screen. To launch the app switcher on an iPhone X or later, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. On older iPhone models, double-tap
the Home button. You should see a message for Safari from your Mac. Simply tap on it and you can pick up with the same webpage you were viewing on your Mac.
It can take a couple of seconds or more for the app to launch and your task to transfer over. Once it has, you can pick up right where you left off.

Continuity Between Apps

You can switch between devices using any number of Apple’s built-in apps, and many of them will maintain“Continuity” between written content. If you launch Mail app
on your Mac and start typing a new message, you can then segue to your iPad or iPhone and open up that same email on your other device. Continue
typing the message and then send it.

Other stock apps such as Messages, Maps, and Calendar also work flawlessly with Handoff, allowing you to share text messages, directions, and important dates between
Different Apple devices without losing your place.

Switching From iOS to Mac

You can also move in the reverse direction. Again, we’ll use Safari as an example. Simply launchSafari App on your iOS device and navigate to a webpage of your choice.

On your Mac, you will see the Handoff icon to the left of the Dock. In this case, the icon is for Safari but with the smaller attached icon that mimmicks an iPhone or iPad. Hover over that icon, and a message pops up that it’s for Safari from iPhone or iPad. Click that icon to jump to the same webpage
from your iPhone or iPad.

Maps, Notes, Reminders, and News

Other Apple apps that can work between macOS and iOS include: Notes, Maps and Reminders (above).
also added the News app to Mac, so you can start reading on your iOS device during the commute and pick up at your desk.

Switching From Apple Watch

It’s also easy to share between your Apple Watch and an iOS device. Simply tap the Digital Crown to go to the Home screen. Launch any app such as Messages, Podcasts, News, or Stocks.

Tap the Icon or Notice for Handoff

For Messages, open a previous message or start a new one. On your iOS device, tap the icon or notice for Handoff, and your message will automatically appear on your
iPhone or iPad.

How to use Apple Handoff? Now you know

Now that you’ve learned how to set up and use Handoff on your iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, take time to share this article with a friend or social media. We also have plenty of other articles that I suggest you check right now.

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GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
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