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iPhone: The Missing Manual, 8th Edition by David Pogue

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Chapter 16. Continuity: iPhone Meets Mac

Apple products have always been designed to work together. Macs, phones, tablets, watches: Similar software, design, wording, philosophy. That’s nice for you, of course, because you have less to learn and to troubleshoot. But it’s also nice for Apple, because it keeps you in velvet handcuffs; pretty soon, you’ve got too much invested in its own product “ecosystem” to consider wandering over to a rival.

In iOS 8.1, Apple has taken this gadget symbiosis to an astonishing new extreme. If your Mac is running OS X Yosemite, it can be an accessory to your iPhone. Suddenly the Mac can be a speakerphone, using the iPhone as a wireless antenna. Suddenly the Mac can send and receive regular text messages. Suddenly AirDrop lets you drag files back and forth, wirelessly, from phone to computer. Suddenly a Mac laptop can get onto the Internet with one click, even miles from home.

Apple’s name for this suite of symbiosis is “Continuity.” And once you’ve got it set up, the Mac game changes in a big way.

For many people, all of this just works. For many others, there’s a certain degree of setting up and troubleshooting. These are the primary rules:

  • You need a Mac running OS X Yosemite and an iPhone running iOS 8.1 or later.

  • The Mac and the phone have to be signed into the same iCloud account. (That’s a security thing—it proves that you’re the owner of both machines, and therefore unlikely to pose a risk to yourself.) On the Mac, you do that in System Preferences ...

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