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How to use Continuity Camera in MacOS Mojave

Continuity Camera can be a continual time saver.

Apple

Given that the tool currently relies on not one but two betas, it does not come as a surprise that the new Continuity Camera feature of MacOS Mojave and iOS 12 is hit-or-miss at the moment. Continuity Camera lets Mac users snap a photo or scan a document with their iPhone ($1,829 at Apple) and then have the image or file immediately inserted on whatever it is they are doing on their Mac.

Continuity Camera requires both MacOS Mojave and iOS 12, both of which are in beta at the present. Final versions of each OS are expected this fall.

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Getting started with Continuity Camera

To use Continuity Camera, you need to be signed into the same Apple ID on both your Mac and iPhone, and both need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network with Bluetooth enabled. And since third-party developers have yet to release updates for the still-in-beta Mojave, Continuity Camera currently works only with Apple's own apps. 

Or some of Apple's own apps. I got it to work with Mail, Notes and Pages, but not with Finder, Keynote or Numbers. And it worked only when I had my iPhone unlocked before I initiated the photo-taking or document-scanning on my MacBook ($1,899 at Apple).

So, with my iPhone unlocked, I right-clicked in a Notes or Pages document or in the body of an email in the compose window in Mail and selected either Take Photo or Scan Documents.

continuity-camera-1

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The Take Photo option opened the Camera app on my iPhone. I snapped a photo and then could tap Retake to try again or Use Photo to insert it in my Note or Pages document or my email message in Mail. On your Mac, a placeholder appears in your document while you take a photo or scan a document.

continuity-camera-2

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The Scan Documents option opens the Camera app and will find the edges of a receipt or document and create a scan, which is saved as a PDF. You can scan multiple pages into a single PDF with Continuity Camera.

Getting stopped by Continuity Camera

I had no luck using Continuity Camera with Finder, Keynote or Numbers. With these apps, I could not find a right-click menu that included the Take Photo or Scan Documents options. There is, however, a way to use Continuity Camera from the Edit menu that I hope will work in the future. I went to Edit > Insert From iPhone and found the Take Photo and Scan Documents options, but both were grayed out no matter what cell or element or file I had selected in the app.

Other times with Mail, Note and Pages, I failed to get my iPhone to act and was told the service was not available.

continuity-camera-error

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Also, multipage scans worked with Mail but only the first page of a multipage scan showed up on Notes. 

Continuity Camera promises to be a huge time-saver if you regularly email receipts for expense reports or frequently scan recipes into a folder on your Mac. I'll update this post as Continuity Camera continues to develop, as we move closer to the official releases of MacOS Mojave and iOS 12.

Read more: Everything you need to know about MacOS Mojave