Chapter 8. Continuity: Mac + iPhone

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 less 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 product “ecosystem” to consider wandering over to a rival.

Now, Apple has taken this gadget symbiosis to an astonishing extreme. Your iPhone can be an accessory to your Mac. 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. And you can even copy and paste between your phone and Mac, or take a picture with the iPhone that appears instantly on your Mac.

Apple’s name for this suite of symbiosis is “Continuity.” These are the primary rules:

  • You need a Mac running Yosemite or later and an iPhone running iOS 8.1 or later. (The copy/paste thing requires Sierra or later and iOS 10 or later on the phone. The “take a picture with the iPhone” thing requires at least Mojave and iOS 12.)

  • The Mac and the phone have to be signed into the same iCloud account. That’s a security thing—it proves you’re the owner of both machines, and therefore unlikely to pose ...

Get macOS Catalina: The Missing Manual now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.