Handoff is one of the flagship ‘Continuity’ features of Yosemite, and when you can get it to work it’s very useful.
The idea is that you can pick up from where you left of in a number of tasks. Say you are tapping in an email on your iPhone on the way to work? When you get into the office you can hand it off to your Mac, where you can attach a doc or two and send it. Similarly if you are browsing a webpage on your iPhone you can pick up where you left of on your Mac.
You simply need to be logged into iCloud on both devices and on the same WiFi network (which means that if you are sharing your Wi-Fi connection from your Mac, as we do when we are in the office, it won’t work).
Presuming you are on the same network, when you get into the office, with your iPhone in hand as you tap in a draft of your email, your Mac should show a Mail icon to the left of your dock, alerting you to the fact that it is aware of the email you are composing.
You can just click on this icon and Mail will open, showcasing your email in all its glory. Now you can continue writing the email in Mail, and then, when you are ready to send it, you can do so from your Mac. In our experience it was not possible to hand the email back to the iPhone though. Once it’s on the Mac, it’s gone from the iPhone.
The same is true of Safari. You could be browsing a webpage in Safari on your iPhone, and your Mac will show a Safari icon on the left of your Dock, click on this and you can open the same webpage on your Mac.
These features only work on certain Macs, and on the same WiFi network. If it doesn’t work chances are your Mac isn’t supported, although we did have a few issues getting some of Apple’s Continuity features to work even with a supported Mac, as you can see if you read this article:
How to get AirDrop to transfer files from iPhone to Mac and back. We find that if it’s not working the best strategy is to turn the iPhone on and off again, the phone and Mac need some time to form the connection too, so if your phone is set to sleep after one minute it may never be connected for long enough.
There are a few other apps that work with Handoff. These include: Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Keynote, Numbers and Pages.
Here is how to get Continuity to work on older Macs and here’s how to use Handoff:
How to switch between your iPhone, iPad and Mac using Handoff