Following several months of beta testing over the summer, OS X Yosemite was publicly released on Thursday afternoon as a free software update through the Mac App Store. If you have upgraded to the latest operating system already, keep in mind that support for the Continuity features SMS Relay and Instant Hotspot will not be enabled until iOS 8.1 is seeded next week.
iOS 8.1 will be rolled out on Monday as a free over-the-air software update for compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models, providing support for the Apple Pay mobile payments platform in the United States alongside a myriad of bug fixes. Once the update is available, an iOS device paired with a Mac running OS X Yosemite will then work with SMS Relay and Instant Hotspot when enabled.
SMS Relay and Instant Hotspot, which fall under the Continuity umbrella of OS X Yosemite, allow for an even more seamless experience between the iPhone and Mac. When an iPhone is nearby, Mac users can now send and receive standard SMS text messages right on the desktop through Messages for Mac, which was previously limited to iMessages sent and received over a Wi-Fi connection.
Meanwhile, Instant Hotspot is a convenient feature in which OS X Yosemite can automatically detect a nearby iPhone and place it within the list of available wireless connections in the top menu bar. If you don’t have Wi-Fi or tether your iPhone with your Mac a lot, you will no longer have to go into Settings and enable Personal Hotspot every time you want to pair the device with your computer.
Instant Hotspot even shows your cellular signal strength and a battery life indicator within the Wi-Fi drop down menu. The feature is intuitive enough to ask Mac users if they would like to connect to their iPhone over Personal Hotspot when there is no Wi-Fi connection available. Instant Hotspot requires an iPhone 5 or later paired with a mid-2012 or newer MacBook Air or MacBook Pro or various other models.
iOS 8.1 remains in beta testing through Developer Center, with both SMS Relay and Instant Hotspot functioning normally in the pre-release software.