As with any software that’s just been announced, the advancement of technology generally means we’ll see some hardware left behind, or see fewer features supported in the aging equipment. With Mac OS X Yosemite, Continuity’s features that focus on Bluetooth Low Energy are causing quite a stir.
It all began with a realization that Handoff, a feature that’s baked into the user’s experience within Continuity, could very well be limited to devices that support Bluetooth LE (Bluetooth 4.0-based feature). This wouldn’t be the first time that a few features have depended on a key hardware elements, and it certainly won’t be the last. However, as it stands right now, this means that many older Macs that are otherwise perfectly capable of upgrading to OS X Yosemite may miss out one of the tentpole features. This obviously has many people up-in-arms.
What many believed to be the final nail in the coffin was the report that attaching a Bluetooth LE adapter to an older machine didn’t make any difference in support of some Continuity features. Specifically, Handoff. For reference, Handoff is the ability for users of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite to start an email on one device, and continue it on another, among other similar features. As one can imagine, this is something that many people would like to take advantage of, and having a hardware limitation can be frustrating.
There are ways to find out if your Mac supports Bluetooth LE, which we outlined following the initial reports. It’s worth noting that this is clearly still software meant for developers, and that things could obviously change in the future. If it doesn’t, though, it looks like mid-2011 MacBook Airs, mid-2012 MacBook Pros, late-2012 iMacs, the 2013 Mac Pro and later models in each category are the only supported devices. (These have built-in Bluetooth 4.0 support.)
To make it even more interesting (or confusing), a new report from 9to5Mac has revealed that, through their sources, it sounds like Apple is indeed still testing out all the finer details. Moreover, they have yet to finalize any details regarding Bluetooth LE support and the Handoff feature. What that means is that while it will be best to use a device that has Bluetooth 4.0 built-in, Apple could make it possible for Bluetooth LE adapters to be used — something that we had heard in the past doesn’t work right now.
These back-and-forth stories regarding the software many people are currently using in a public Beta just goes to show that nothing is finalized, and the software shouldn’t be considered as such. Apple certainly doesn’t, and those who have suffered through issues with the non-final version of the software certainly know that to be the case. If your older Mac ends up not supporting some features in the newest release from Apple, do you plan on upgrading?