Apple's Handoff brings proximity awareness to your devices

The new Handoff feature promises to help you more easily bounce among iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Apple's new Handoff feature CNET

Apple has unveiled technology designed to better help you juggle emails, phone calls, text messages, and other items among your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Dubbed Handoff, the new feature demonstrated at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday as part of OS X Yosemite, brings proximity awareness to your Apple devices. As an example, let's say you're writing an email on your iPhone and you venture to your Mac. Your computer will notice what you're doing and prompt you, giving you the option to finish writing the email on the Mac.

The technology naturally works in the other direction as well. You may be writing an email on your Mac at your desk and want to finish it on your iPhone. Simply make sure the two are in proximity to each other, and your iPhone will allow you to pick up where you left off on your Mac.

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But the devices don't have to be right next to each other. Handoff will work even if you're in front of your Mac and your iPhone is across the room tucked in your handbag, according to Apple.

Handoff also can handle phone calls. Receive a call on your iPhone, and your Mac will display a caller ID and even perform double-duty as a speaker phone. You can make a phone call via a website link on your Mac and tap into your iPhone's phone service. Further, text messages sent to your phone can automatically be relayed to your Mac.

Of course, Handoff benefits Apple as well as its users by deepening the integration between OS X and iOS, potentially convincing more people to buy into the entire Apple ecosystem.

Handoff will debut as part of OS X Yosemite, a free upgrade for OS X users due out this fall.

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