Unable to make Handoff work on Yosemite and iOS 8? Here's the fix

Recently, Apple launched the public version of Mac OS - Yosemite. With the latest OS came the much talked about feature continuity/handoff where you could start doing something on one device and finish on the other (of course only for the supported applications). While it was a great feature that would increase productivity, it had one problem - it "just didn't work"!

I tried for a solution for days and finally much to my relief, Apple launched iOS 8.1 which enabled the great feature. However, as excited as I was to try it out, much to my dismay, the problem still persisted and I was unable to make it work. When something doesn't work(specially when the company claims that it just works), it annoys me to no extent and I must find a solution. I again set off to find a solution and after almost 2 days of trial and error, I was able to make handoff work.

On your Mac machine running Yosemite, make sure you're running the latest version (10.10.1 as of 15th January, 2015). If you're not sure of the version, click on the  logo on the top right corner of the screen and select 'About this Mac'. Update from the App Store if necessary.

Once updated, Follow the below instructions:


  1. Before you change any setting, make sure all involved devices meet the system requirements.
  2. Make sure the bluetooth on your iOS device and Mac machine is turned on and all devices required for the handoff to work are connected to the same Wi-Fi connection. This is a prerequisite for the Handoff feature.
Once you've set up your devices, perform the following actions:

  1. Go to System Preferences < General and make sure the 'Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud Devices' checkbox is ticked.
  2. Make sure you're signed into your iCloud account on the Mac machine. Check by going to System Preferences < iCloud.
  3. Restart the Mac machine.
  4. On your iOS device, make sure you're signed into your iCloud account.
  5. Go to Settings < General < Handoff & Suggested Apps and make sure Handoff setting is turned on.
  6. Restart your iPhone/iPad.
Once you've restarted all involved devices, you should be able to see a small app icon for the corresponding app on the bottom left corner of your iOS device on the lock screen.

Handoff feature on the lock screen of iOS device
In case the device is unlocked, you can double press the home button to bring up the multi tasking window and you'll be able to see the respective app icon screen to the left of the home screen window.

Handoff feature on multitasking window of iOS Device
The handoff feature on a Mac machine is visible on the left side of the dock where you can see the icon of the app pop up.

Handoff feature on a Mac Device
So far, the following apps seem to work with the handoff feature (in no particular order):
  • Notes
  • Messages
  • Maps
  • Mail
  • Safari
  • Calendar
  • Keynote
  • Numbers
  • Pages
I am not too sure about the iLife apps which include iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand. Though it seems highly unlikely that these apps would receive the ability to perform Handoff as that would require a lot of data to be transferred at blazing speeds.

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