One of Apple’s greatest strengths is how tightly it integrates its products with a toolbox of features all labelled under the ‘Continuity’ banner.
There are 12 Continuity features that work if you have a Mac, an iPhone/iPad and an Apple Watch.
For these features to work, you need to make sure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Handoff are all enabled on your device’s settings. All of your devices must be signed in with the same Apple ID.
The following features only work on a handful of Apple devices. There’s a list of what’s supported on Apple’s Support website.
Handoff is a feature that mainly works between iPhone/iPad and a Mac, but there is a use case with the HomePod smart speaker.
If you’re using a Handoff compatible app like Safari, Messages and many of the other Apple apps, then you’ll see the app icon appear to the left of the app ‘Dock’ on the Mac.
Alternatively, if you’re running an app on Mac and you want to open it on iPhone, you’ll see a shortcut to jump into the iPhone version of the app along the bottom of the screen in the multitasking menu.
To open 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.
This is by far the most useful Apple feature, and it’s one I think a lot of people are unaware of. Universal Clipboard allows users to copy and paste items across devices as long as they’re near each other.
It’s as simple as that. Just have your settings enabled, and you can copy text, images and other content and paste it on your other device.
iPhone Cellular Calls
iPhone Cellular Calls lets you answer or make phone calls on your Mac, iPad.
To make this work, both devices must be on the same Wi-Fi network and have all of the Handoff settings enabled. 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 phone.
If you want to make a call from a Mac or iPad, your phone still needs to be placed nearby. Then you can click on a phone number on the web or in the Contacts app to initiate a call.
Text Message Forwarding
This feature allows your Mac or iPad to also see text messages in the Messages app as long as your iPhone is nearby.
This is one Handoff feature that I’ve had issues with, but signing out of my Apple ID, restarting my devices, and re-signing in helped this work again.
This feature also has to be enabled from the Messages section in your iPhone’s Settings app.
If you own an Apple Watch, you can use it to keep you Mac unlocked when you’re near it.
To enable this head into the ‘Security & Privacy’ section of you Mac’s Settings. Then go into the General section and if you have an Apple Watch, you’ll see an option to enable using your Apple Watch as the key to unlock your Mac.
AirDrop is one of the more popular Continuity features. This allows you to quickly send files from an iPhone/iPad or Mac to another.
The standout aspect of this feature is that you can send files to someone else’s Apple device as well as your own.
There are five other Continuity features, but they’re more for niche use cases.
Three of these are called Contunitiy Camera, Continuity Markup and Continuity Sketch. All three of these allow users to use their iPhones to add items to documents. The camera lets you trigger your iPhone camera to take a picture to insert in your note or Pages document.
Markup allows users to draw in the document and Sketch lets you insert a drawing from an iPhone into a document or note.
There’s also SideCar, which is a new feature that we covered when Apple Released macOS Catalina and iPadOS. It allows users to have their iPad act as a secondary display.
The final selection is an extension of Apple Pay. This allows you to shop online on your Mac and then use Apple Pay to check out. For extra security, you can make your computer trigger your iPhone, so you need FaceID or TouchID to verify your purchase.
You can dive deeper into these features on Apple’s website.