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How to Use the Handoff Feature of iOS 8 with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac

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In this article, Jason R. Rich explains iOS 8’s new Handoff feature and offers step-by-step directions for using some of Handoff’s most useful functions in conjunction with a compatible iPhone, iPad, and/or Mac.
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Apple iPhone users know that this smartphone is an extremely powerful communications tool when it comes to making and receiving calls, sending and receiving text messages, and surfing the Internet. Meanwhile, the iPad can also be used for some of these tasks, but is not currently capable of making or receiving calls via a cellular network.

For people who use an iPhone, as well as an iPad and/or a Mac, iOS 8 incorporates a new feature called Handoff. It allows the smartphone to serve as a conduit between a cellular network and an iPad and/or Mac. As a result, not only is it easier than ever to begin a task on one computer or mobile device, and then pick up exactly where you left off on another, but your iPad and/or Mac can share the cellular phone service and Internet connection utilized by your iPhone.

Initially, iOS 8’s Handoff feature works with apps like Phone (iPhone), Mail, Messages, Safari, Maps, Contacts, Calendar, and Reminders, as well as the iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote). Third-party app developers have also been given the tools to incorporate Handoff functionality into their own apps, and we’ll be seeing more interesting uses of this function in the near future.

Answer Incoming Calls to Your iPhone from Your iPad or Mac

One of the coolest and most useful features of Handoff allows you to answer incoming calls made to your iPhone from your iPad or Mac. For example, maybe your iPhone is sitting on your desk charging, but you’re comfortable sitting on the coach across the room and reading an eBook on your iPad. Instead of jumping up when a call comes in, your iPhone will forward the call to your iPad (or Mac), and allow you to answer it.

The microphone and speaker built into your iPad or Mac allow you to use the device as a full-featured speakerphone. Plus, most of the options available to you when engaged in a call using the Phone app on your iPhone become available from the iPad or Mac. In other words, as the call comes in to your iPhone, the Called ID information is displayed, along with the familiar Accept, Decline, Remind Me, and Message options. When the Handoff feature is turned on and active, these same incoming call options are displayed on the iPad or Mac’s screen.

It’s also possible to initiate a phone call, for example, from your iPad or Mac. To do this, once the Handoff feature is turned on an active, tap or click on a phone number that’s displayed within the Contacts, Calendar, or Safari app, for example.

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