Hand Off Feature: Complete Guide To iOS 13

This article covers the App Switcher on the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as the Handoff feature. For info on special iPad multitasking features, see

Special iPad Features


Switch Between Apps

Use the App Switcher to switch to a recently used app, to force-quit a crashed app, or to work with Handoff:

  • Double-press the Home button to open the App Switcher. On devices without Home buttons, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, hold your finger briefly
    in place, and let go.
    The App Switcher lets you select recently used apps.
  • If you don’t see the app you want, flick left or right to find it.
    Tip: Spotlight’s Siri Suggestions also offer quick access to frequently used and recent apps. See
    Search with Spotlight
  • Tap the app you want to switch to.

To force-quit an app, flick its image toward the top of the screen.

Tip: Force-quitting can be useful at times, such as when an app freezes. However, don’t make a habit of force-quitting apps, as doing so is usually a waste

of time and can hurt battery life. See

Busting Battery Usage Myths


Learn About Handoff

Handoff is a special feature of some apps that lets you seamlessly transfer your work between Apple devices. For example, you can start drafting an email

message on your Mac and switch to your iPhone to finish.

Apple’s Calendar, Contacts, Keynote, Mail, Maps, Messages, Notes, Numbers, Pages, Reminders, and Safari apps support Handoff, as well as many third-party

apps, such as PCalc, Pocket, and Things.

You can turn these features off entirely in Settings > General > Handoff.

Set Up Handoff

Particular settings are required for Handoff to work. On both iOS devices:

  • Sign in to the same iCloud account in Settings > Your Name > iCloud.
  • Enable Handoff in Settings > General > Handoff.
  • Enable Bluetooth in Control Center or in Settings > Bluetooth.
  • Connect to the same Wi-Fi network in Settings > Wi-Fi.

Use Handoff

Open an app that supports Handoff and, if applicable, begin working in a message or document. Then switch to the other device and bring up the App Switcher.

A bar should appear at the bottom of the screen stating which app wants to transfer Handoff data, and from which device Tap it to switch

to that app and pick up where the other device left off.

Note: Handoff can handle only one pair of apps at a time. So if you’re working on an iMessage on a Mac and looking at a webpage in Safari on your iPad,

your iPhone’s App Switcher shows the last compatible app you used.

Handoff with a Mac

Here’s how to set up Handoff between iOS and macOS:

  • Setting up a Mac to use Handoff requires the same basic settings as iOS—notably iCloud, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi—but the Mac interface is a little different.
  • Go to System Preferences > General and select “Allow Handoff between This Mac and Your iCloud Devices.”
  • Received handoffs appear in the Mac Dock and ⌘-Tab App Switcher.
  • For more information, consult Apple’s
    Handoff support article
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