Yosemite’s Handoff is a Cool Feature, but Won’t Work on your Old Mac

Handoff is one of the most interesting new features in Mac OS X Yosemite as it allows users to begin writing an email, browsing the Web or creating a document and then resume it on another Apple device. This feature is part of the “Continuity” change term that refers to new iOS and Mac OS X features.

However, if you have bought your 2 or 3 years ago, then Yosemite’s ‘Handoff’ won’t actually work, as Apple uses Bluetooth LE to pair devices, which is something that is available only in the newer Mac models that support Bluetooth 4.0 and the Bluetooth LE (low energy) technology.

Michael Jurewitz, lead engineering project manager for Continuity at Apple, said the following:

“This is entirely about the proximity of your devices to your other devices. We use BTLE [Bluetooth low energy] to actually let devices around you know what they should show in that lower left corner [of the screen, where Handoff notifications appear]”

“Which devices that actually show your apps is linked to the devices that you are signed into with the same iCloud account. We know you’re signed into this device and we actually use the cloud to BTLE-pair your different devices to each other.”

Here’s the list with the dates when Mac devices have received Bluetooth 4.0 which brought the Low-Energy technology. So, if you bought yours prior to these dates, then, unfortunately, there is a big chance for Handoff not to work.

  • MacBook Pro received Bluetooth 4.0 with the mid-2012 models
  • iMac received it in the late 2012
  • The MacBook Air and the Mac Mini have it since mid-2011

If you are not sure how old your Mac is, just select “About This Mac” from the Apple menu at the far left of the menu bar, then choose “More Info…” from the next window.

If you have installed Yosemite already and you have used the Handoff feature, let us know what you think of it by leaving your comment below.


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