Continuity for iPhone, iPad, and Mac: Explained


One of the things I have always admired about Apple products because of the Continuity and Syncing features, they become usable in combinations when you have more then one device. Having an iPhone, an iPad and an Mac all logged into the same Apple ID account creates a collaboration of sorts, with many features able to work together in ways that provide more functionality. Features like making or answering phone calls from any device. Using AirDrop for moving files or folders to other Apple devices. Sending a text message or placing a phone call right from my Mac. Even syncing Contacts and Reminders, in addition to using iCloud Drive to collaborate across devices, there are many ways to make use of the environment that is created when you have more than one Apple device.

How does Apple continuity work

Apples continuity feature allows users to Sync Contacts, Messages, Calendar, Reminders and more, throughiCloud. While you’re working on your iPhone or Mac, your data remains in real time sync across your Apple devices through iCloud. This can help you to stay on the same page with all your Apple devices. It is very cool being able to add or change a Contact, then have it automatically updated to your other devices through iCloud. Using SIRI to send messages or place phone calls works consistently from any device, because all of Contacts are auto-synced. Syncing Reminders is also very handy, because it will alert you from any nearby device.
Another great thing with Apple Continuity feature is that you can leave one document available for editing on the fly, no matter where you are, as long as it is being synced. When you open it on your Mac, all the typed text will be there.

Apple Continuity requirements

For Apple Continuity features to work, you need two things:

  • Make sure that Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Handoff are all turned on your device’s settings.
  • Make sure that all of your devices are signed in with the same Apple ID.


Apple Handoffis a feature that mainly works between iPhone/iPad and a Mac, but there is a use case with the HomePod smart speaker. If you are using a Handoff compatible app such as Safari, Messages and many of the other Apple native apps, then an app icon will show up to the left of the app ‘Dock’ on the Mac. Alternatively, if you’re using an app on Mac and you want to launch it on iPhone, a shortcut to switch into the iPhone version of the app will be available at the bottom of the screen in the multitasking menu. To launch the app on iPad you’ll see it appear on the right side of the iPad’s app Dock.
You can also handoff audio from Apple Music and Podcasts to the HomePod by tapping it to the top of the device. You can tap it again and get the sound to begin playing back on your phone.

How to enable HandOff on your iPhone and Mac:

  • On your Mac: Head over to System Preferences>General, check the item, “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.”
  • On your iPhone or iPad, head over to Settings>General>HandOff, to enable this feature.

Universal Clipboard

Universal Clipboard is by far the most useful Apple Continuity feature, and the vast majority of people don’t know how to use it. Universal Clipboard let’s you copy and paste text from one device to another. For this to work, the two devices must be close to each other. It’s as easy as that. You simply turn on the Settings and you can copy text, images and other content and paste it on your other device.

iPhone Cellular Calls

iPhone Cellular Calls allows users to answer or make phone calls on your Mac or iPad. For this feature to work, the two devices must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network and have all of the Handoff settings turned on. Then when you get a call, it will appear as a notification on your Mac or iPad so you can answer it without reaching for your iPhone. If you want to make a call from a Mac or iPad, you need to make sure your iPhone is near. Then you can simply click on a phone number on the web or in the Contacts app to place a call.

Text Message Forwarding

Text message forwarding let’s users view their text messages on messages app on Mac or iPad provided that your iPhone is nearby. This is one Handoff feature that I’ve had problems with, thankfully, i was able to fix this issue by signing out of my Apple ID, restarting my devices, and re-signing in. This feature has to be enabled from the Messages section in your iPhone’s Settings app too.

Auto Unlock

If you have anApple Watch, you can use it to keep you Mac unlocked when you’re close to it. To turn on this setting, simply go to the ‘Security & Privacy’ section of your Mac’s Settings. Then head over to the General section and if you own an Apple Watch, an option to enable using your Apple Watch as the key to unlock your Mac will be available.


Another popular continuity feature isAirDrop. This let’s users quickly send photos, videos and other files to the nearby apple devices. One great thing about Apple AirDrop is the ability to send files to other peoples Apple device as well as your own.

What else

Other Continuity features are:

  • Continuity Camera,
  • Continuity Markup
  • and

  • Continuity Sketch.

These features let’s you use your iPhones to add items to documents. The camera allows users to trigger your iPhone camera to capture a photo to insert in your note or Pages document. Markup allows users to draw in the document and Sketch allows users to insert a drawing from an iPhone into a document or note.
There’s also SideCar, which is a new feature that was introduced with the launch of MacOS Catalina and iPadOS. It allows users to have their iPad act as a secondary display.
The last selection is an extension of Apple Pay. This feature let’s users shop online on their Mac and then use Apple Pay to check out. For added security, users can make their computer trigger their iPhone to require FaceID or TouchID to complete their purchase.

Troubleshooting for the Continuity features

Apple continuity not working? no problem. You can fix this problem in a few simple steps. First of all, ensure that all of your devices are on the same wifi network, have BlueTooth turned on, have HandOff enabled and are signed into the same iCloud account.

The following are some of the troubleshooting steps:

  • Log out of iCloud on all devices, then back in again with the same Apple ID and password
  • Disable Bluetooth, Wifi, and HandOff on all devices, then reenable them back again.
  • Lastly, after everything else, power off your devices completely, not just putting them to sleep. Then power them back on again.

Getting the Final Word

Well, there are definitely multiple ways you can use apple Continuity features through various devices. You can make and answer phone calls from any Apple device. You can text or call phone numbers on your screen by right-clicking on them. You can even work on the same document from two different Apple devices at the same time.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this Apple Continuity guide. Let us know if you have any problems with setting up Continuity features by leaving a comment below and we’ll be happy to help you out! We also have plenty of other articles that I suggest you check right now.

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About the author
GeeksModo Staff
GeeksModo Staff
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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