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  1. Computer Skills
  2. Yosemite
Computers

Start Receiving SMS Messages and Phone Calls on a Mac

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When Apple released OS X Yosemite, they released it with a wealth of new features. The most valued one by far is the ability to send and receive SMS text messages or phone calls via a Mac computer instead of an iPhone. 

Now, thanks to Yosemite, these calls and texts may be redirected to the computer instead. This creates a beautifully seamless workflow. In fact, the workflow is so seamless, that Apple has dubbed this new feature Continuity Mode.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to:

  • Set up continuity mode on the Mac
  • Set up continuity mode on the iPhone
  • Make a call and send a text message on a Mac through an iPhone

Set Up Continuity Mode on the Mac

Continuity mode only works if your Mac has OS X Yosemite installed on it. So make sure you have upgraded. If you need to, read the Tuts+ tutorial about Preparing a Mac for OS X 10.10 Yosemite before you upgrade.

Continuity mode also requires that both the Mac and the iPhone be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. On the Mac, go to System Preferences, then Network

Take note of the Wi-Fi network you are connected to.

You will also need to ensure Bluetooth is enabled on both devices. Go to System Preferences, then Bluetooth. Ensure it is turned on. 

Now you may enable the Handoff between a Mac and an iPhone. Go to System Preferences, then General. Enable Allow Handoff between this Mac and any other iCloud devices.

Enable Handoff between your Mac and other iCloud devices
Enable Handoff between your Mac and other iCloud devices

Set Up Continuity Mode on the iPhone

For Continuity Mode to work, the iPhone must be running iOS 8 or later. To upgrade go to Settings, then General, and finally Software Update. Follow the prompts until your phone reboots running iOS 8.

Ensure that the iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network as the Mac by going to Settings, then Wi-Fi. Bluetooth must be enabled on the iPhone as well. So go to Settings, then Bluetooth and ensure it is turned on. Now go to Settings, then General. Tap on Handoff and Suggested Apps. Ensure that Handoff is enabled.

Turn on Handoff on the iPhone
Turn on Handoff on the iPhone

Finally, go to Settings then Phone. If you see an option for Wi-Fi Calling (only available on T-mobile), turn it off.

Make a Call or Send a Text Message

Make a Call Using FaceTime

Open FaceTime. Type the name, email or phone number of the person you want to call. Click on the phone icon next to the contact. Notice that many of the options are listed under the heading Call Using iPhone

Choose any of the available access lines for that contact.

Making a voice call on the Mac via iPhone Continuity Mode
Making a voice call on the Mac via iPhone Continuity Mode

Once the line is chosen, a dialog will open and your call will be connected. 

Making a call on the Mac using Continuity Mode
Making a call on the Mac using Continuity Mode

Send a Text Message Using Messages

Launch Messages. Click the Compose New Message icon. Type the name, email, or phone number of the person you want to call. Just as with the iPhone, if the recipient can receive the text via iMessage, their name will be blue. Otherwise, it will be green. 

Click in the text message field and begin typing. Once the message is ready to send, press Enter.

Sending a text message on the Mac with Continuity Mode
Sending a text message on the Mac with Continuity Mode

The message will be sent from the Mac, to the iPhone, and to the recipient. The message will also show up on your iPhone's messages.

Conclusion

You may not notice how much of a time saver being able to keep the iPhone in your pocket while working really is until you try it. Whenever you receive a call or text, you may immediately deal with it without having to fumble around to find your iPhone. Being able to see the caller and send them to Voicemail will be incredibly time saving as well. 

Yosemite's new continuity mode will be, hands down, the best addition to your workflow. But don't take my word for it. Set up continuity mode for yourself and give it a spin. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.

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