Using the Continuity Features on Apple Devices

With a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later, and a mobile device with iPadOS or iOS 8 or later installed, your Apple gear works together seamlessly. You can make and receive calls on your Mac, send and receive text messages on any of your devices, and share fi les between your Mac, iPad, and iOS devices with AirDrop.

Wi-Fi Instant Hotspot

Instant Hotspot’s system requirements are stringent. A Mac must be mid-2012 or newer and running Yosemite or later. To find out when your Mac was made, click on the Apple icon in the top left and select About This Mac. An iOS device must be an iPhone 5 or later, iPad (4th gen) or later, an iPod touch (5th gen) or later or any iPad mini.

Continuity, Wi-Fi Instant Hotspot Step 1

Make sure your iPhone has a cellular connection to the Internet. You should see a 3G or 4G symbol at the top of the screen. Make sure Personal Hotspot is switched on too. To do this open the Settings app and then open the Mobile Data link. Look for the Personal Hotspot option, and if it isn’t on already, switch it on.

Make sure your Mac and all the devices you want to use with Instant Hotspot are signed into the same iCloud account. On an iPadOS or iOS device, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and on a Mac, open System Preferences (under the Apple menu, top left corner or from the Dock) and click on Apple ID > Overview.

To access your Instant Hotspot Internet connection, on a Mac, click on the Wi-Fi menulet in the top right of the screen and select your iPhone from the list. On an iOS device, do the same through Settings > Wi-Fi. An indicator on the top of the iPhone’s screen shows a connection. If this fails, check your mobile phone carrier supports personal hotspots.

Continuity, Wi-Fi Instant Hotspot Step 4

Phone Calls

All Macs and iOS devices you wish to use for Continuity phone calls must be logged into the same iCloud
account, and also on the same Wi-Fi network. On your Mac, click the Wi-Fi menulet in the top right end of the menu bar at the top of the desktop. On an iPadOS or iOS device, open Settings and look at what’s listed under Wi-Fi.

Continuity, Phone Calls Step 1

All devices must be signed into FaceTime with the same iCloud account. On a Mac, launch FaceTime and sign in. If already signed in with a different account, from the FaceTime pull-down menu, open Preferences and sign out. On an iOS device, go to Settings > FaceTime and sign in. On your iPhone, FaceTime and iPhone Mobile Calls must be on.

To answer a call on your Mac, wait for the notification to appear. You can then click on one of the options.
Answering the call on your Mac means using its built-in mic and speakers, so be careful about taking a private call in a public place. To make a call on your Mac, click a phone number in Contacts, Calendar or Safari.

Continuity, Phone Calls Step 3

To initiate a call using an iPad or iOS device other than an iPhone, tap on a number in Contacts, Calendar or Safari. To answer an incoming call on this device, use Slide to Answer, as instructed on the screen. With your Mac and your iOS devices set up to use Continuity Phone Calls, all your devices ring when there’s an incoming call.

To switch off Continuity Phone Calls on one or more of your Apple devices, on a Mac, open FaceTime’s
preferences and uncheck the box marked ‘Calls From iPhone’. On an iOS device, go to Settings > FaceTime and turn off ‘iPhone Mobile Calls’. The device is then unable to use Continuity Phone Calls until you switch it on again.

Calling from a Mac

You can place a call from your Mac too. Wherever you see a phone number, you can click on it and get a menu. From this menu, select the ‘call from your iPhone’ option and the call is placed. It works in most Apple apps, such as Safari (as seen here), Notes and Messages.

SMS and MMS Messaging

To send or receive an SMS (Short Message Service) or MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), from your Mac you must be running Yosemite or later. You also need an iPhone running iOS 8.1 or later. Text messaging from an iPad or iPod touch also demands they be using iOS 8.1 or later.

Continuity, SMS and MMS Step 1

On your Mac, open the Messages app, then under the Messages menu in the top bar, open Preferences. Click
on Accounts, then on your iMessage account and make sure it’s enabled. On an iOS device, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and again enter your Apple ID if necessary.

Finally, on your iPhone, you must go to Settings > Messages and turn on Text Message Forwarding. Tap on this option, and you’re shown a list of devices logged into the same iCloud account. Switch on all the ones with which you want to share your text messages. Each device displays a verification code you must type on your iPhone.

All your SMS and MMS messages now appear on your Mac and/or iOS devices, regardless of whether the
person who sent them uses an iPhone. If the sender is using a non-Apple device, the speech bubbles you send are green instead of the blue that’s used for iMessages, that is, messages sent between Apple devices.

Sending text messages through your Mac is incredibly convenient, especially for long messages. It’s great for
replying too − you can just use whichever device is nearest. If you’re working on your Mac, you get to read and reply to your text messages without even reaching for your phone.

You can initiate a text message chat regardless of whether the other person uses an Apple device by
clicking a phone number or Message icon in Safari, Contacts or Calendar. Here, in Contacts, click on the icon and select a number from the pop-up. A message window soon appears.

Continuity, SMS and MMS Step 6

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Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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