Continuity was a major theme at Apple’s WWDC keynote earlier this month, that tightly integrates iOS devices and Macs to a whole new level. We covered Handoff, one part of Continuity last week, and today we tell you about the other part of this feature: The ability to make/receive calls and SMSes on your iPad and Mac.
While Apple introduced FaceTime video and audio calls that are available on all iOS devices and Macs from the same account, phone calls are still restricted to your iPhone. This can potentially become very annoying if you’re working on your Mac, a phone call comes in, and you’re nowhere near your iPhone.
With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you can receive a phone call not only on your iPhone, but even on your Mac and iPad, as long as they’re on the same Wi-Fi network. When a call comes in, your Mac pops up a notification with the caller’s name, number and photo, along with the option to answer or decline. The notification also lets you know that the call is coming via your iPhone.
You receive the same call on your iPad as well along with the same information and options, if your iPhone is in the same Wi-Fi network.
Once you pick up the call on your Mac, you’ll see that the notification now shows you the duration of the call, and a voice indicator, along with options to mute or end the call. You can convert the call to a FaceTime video call by clicking on the video button:
You can of course also initiate the call from your Mac or iPad by simply clicking or tapping a phone number in Contacts, Calendar or Safari.
This is especially convenient when you’re browsing the website of a local business on your Mac, and want to make a call to the phone number listed on the webpage without leaving your Mac at all.
Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi did a great demo of the Continuity phone calling feature at the WWDC keynote by calling up a new Apple employee, Dr. Dre, from his Mac.
Chatting with people on iMessage is great because of its presence on all iOS devices and Macs, but in Craig Federighi’s words, we all have those “green bubble friends” who don’t have iPhones and communicate via traditional SMS. With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you’ll be able to see not just your iMessages, but even SMS and MMS messages in the Messages app on Mac and iPad.
You can reply via SMS too, just like you would reply to an iMessage. And like phone calls, you can initiate message threads by clicking on a phone number in Safari, Calendar or Contacts.
- Apple says that your iPhone, iPad and Mac will need to be on the same Wi-Fi network for these Continuity features to work.
- You’ll also need to be signed in from the same iCloud ID on all these devices, which makes sense as you don’t want someone else’s iPad ringing if you get a call.
- We’re not sure if these Continuity features require Bluetooth 4.0 LE support, as Apple doesn’t explicitly mention it anywhere on its website.
Combined with Handoff, these Continuity features will prove to be very useful for iPhone owners who spend most of their time on their desk, in front of their Mac. Let us know what you think about these features in the comments below.
iOS 8 Preview Series:
- Messages gets a major update
- Handoff makes going from iOS to Mac seamless
- Custom system-wide keyboards