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Continuity of the Apple Ecosystem (Part 1)

Our Apple devices talk to each other in incredible ways. You can start on one device, like your iPhone, and easily transition to a different device, like your Mac. So here are some of the continuity features that connect your Apple devices.

Have you ever heard of the Apple Ecosystem? I’m referring to the magical continuity between all of your Apple devices, like your iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, AppleTVs, and AirPods. All of these devices can talk and integrate into ways other companies haven’t been able to master. So, let’s take a look at some features that connect all of your Apple products, making it harder to switch.

Before taking a look at any individual features, here are the requirements to yield the best results. First, all of your devices should be running the latest software updates and signed into the same iCloud account with 2-factor authentication enabled. Also, Bluetooth should be enabled, and all of your devices connected to the same WIFI network. Now, if you don’t check all of these boxes, there is still a chance that some of these features may work so, it won’t hurt to try anyways.

The first feature we will take a look at is AirDrop, which allows you to send files to other Apple devices wirelessly. Let’s take a look at how to do this. So, I’m going to open Photos and select a photo or multiple photos I want to share. Then, click the share button to open the share sheet and check out all the ways I can send my photos. Next, I’m going to select AirDrop from the list of services. Now, I’m given a list of all the Apple devices in my vicinity, both my own and others. From there, just tap the device or person you want to share with, and it’s sent. If you want to change who can AirDrop files to you, you can manage those settings through Control Center. So, swipe down from the top right of your screen if you don’t have a home button, and swipe up if you do have a home button. Now, long press on the network services, then long press again on AirDrop to view its settings. You can either allow anyone to wireless AirDrop files to you or just those in your contacts, which is my recommendation. Beyond photos, you can AirDop anything that has the iOS share button like contacts, documents, websites, and more.

Up next HandOff, a feature that lets you quickly pick up where you left off on another device. For instance, you start writing an email on your iPhone. When you get back to your desk, you want to switch over and continue writing that email on your Mac. So, with the Mail app open on your iPhone, switch over to your Mac and open the Mail app from the Handoff portion of the Dock. And voila, you can continue writing that email on your Mac. Handoff works across all of your devices. If you start writing a text on your Apple Watch, you can pick it up from your iPhone. If you’re browsing the web on your iPhone, you can pass it to your iPad. iPhone users can find Handoff apps in the multitasking, while iPad and Mac users can find them on the dock. To enable or disable Handoff on your iPhone or iPad, open Settings > General > AirPlay and Handoff. On Mac, go to System Preferences > General, and look for the “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.”

Now, let’s look at universal clipboard. But, before getting into the details, we need to look at what the clipboard is. So, whenever you cut or copy something, it gets temporarily saved to your clipboard. In short, it’s a list of everything you have cut and copied. When you paste, it grabs the last thing you copied or cut, aka the item at the top of your clipboard. Universal Clipboard creates one shared clipboard that syncs between all of your Apple devices. So, if you copy a picture on your iPad, you can paste it on your Mac. Or copy a link on your iPhone and paste it on your iPad.

Macs still don’t have touch screens, as Apple refuses to add the feature. They gave the MacBook Pro a Touch Bar, but that’s more of a gimmick than a useful feature. To supplement the missing touch screen, Apple created Sidecar, a feature that lets you use your iPad as an external monitor for your Mac. So, if you’ve ever had a multi-monitor setup before, you know it makes multitasking so much easier. Not only does it operate as an external monitor, but you can also interact with your Mac using your Apple Pencil. It’s a great companion for any high-end desktop art and design apps like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. So, to use this feature, open display settings on your Mac from Control Center and choose your iPad as a display source. If you need to reconfigure how your iPad is arranged, you can do so from within the Display preference pane.

Have you ever wanted to scan a document to your Mac, but don’t have a scanner? Well, right-click on your desktop, then go to Import from iPhone or iPad and choose Scan Document under the device you want to use as the scanner. Now, hold that iPhone or iPad over a page and either let it auto take or snap it yourself once you get the page in frame. Then, continue capturing each page. After the document is scanned, you can tap on the thumbnail to preview and edit your pages. Your editing options include cropping, change the color filter, rotating, and deleting the page. If there is a page that you would like to completely redo, click tap the Retake button at the top. When you get all the pages scanned, edited, and are satisfied with the preview, click Done and Save. Now, your scanned document will appear as a PDF on your Mac.

Going back to that right-click menu on your Mac, you will find two other options for importing content to your Mac from your mobile iPhone or iPad. With Photo, you can take one picture with your iPhone or iPad that imports to your Mac. Your last option is Sketch, where you can use your touch screen device to make a drawing that will save to your Mac. This is perfect for iPad users with an Apple Pencil.

This is only the start of the continuity features embedded into the Apple ecosystem. There are so many more out there. So many, in fact, I can’t cover them all at once. So, stay tuned for next week’s video, where we will cover more continuity features across the Apple ecosystem.

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