Apple's macOS and iOS work well together. If both your desktop and phone are Apple, there are many useful features available to you thanks to the continuity features.
Let's explore the best ways to use your iPhone and Mac together.
1. Copy and paste content with the universal clipboard
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You can easily switch between your Apple devices thanks to a special set of features called Continuity.
The "Universal Clipboard" function is part of this set and enables you to share the contents of the clipboard between your Mac and iPhone. All you have to do is activate the handoff function on both devices.
After that, you can copy content on your Mac and paste it anywhere on your iPhone, or vice versa.
2. Continue tasks with handover
After enabling Handoff, you can also stop tasks on one device and resume them on another.
This works for all apps that work with Handoff, including Mail, Safari, Notes, Reminders, Calendar, Keynote, Pages, and Notes. Many third-party apps also support the handoff function.
If you're using an app that works with Handoff on your iPhone, you should see that app's Handoff icon on your Mac dock. It looks like the normal app icon with a gray circle with a little phone floating in the upper right corner. Click this icon to pick up where you left off on your iPhone.
When transferring work from your Mac to your iPhone, you won't see this handoff icon. Instead, you will get an app banner that will be displayed in the app switcher.
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Just do what you normally would when you need to switch between apps by either double-pressing the home button for iPhones 8 and lower, or slowly swiping up from the bottom of the screen for iPhones X and newer.
3. AirDrop files, web pages, and more
To share files between your Mac and iPhone, you can use AirDrop, Apple's built-in file transfer utility. To share, just turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on both devices and make sure they're discoverable.
To start sharing your Mac, hold the control and click the file you want to share. Select the Share> AirDrop Option from the drop down menu. Then select your iPhone if it is in the. is shown AirDrop Dialog.
If you're transferring files the other way, select the file you want to send, then tap the share Button. You should see your device's AirDrop icon, or even the AirDrop icon, surrounded by dotted lines when it's nearby.
In addition to transferring files and folders, AirDrop lets you transfer other types of data as well. This includes web pages, notes, contacts, and photos.
4. Play music, movies and TV shows across devices
There are several ways to play music across devices. One way is to play audio from your iPhone on your Mac using a Lightning USB cable. You can also sync your Apple Music library across devices. Many third-party apps, like Spotify, also support Apple's handoff feature.
You can stream to any device from your Apple TV app. Just make sure you're signed in on your Apple device. You can even share your purchased movies with your family!
5. Share an internet connection
All you need is a simple tweak to turn your Mac's internet connection into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Go to first System settings> Sharing and check the box for Internet sharing. Then click on that begin Confirmation prompt button.
To use your iPhone's internet connection (known as tethering) on your Mac, you need to use the Personal hotspot Option under Settings> Cellular on your iPhone. Your mobile device will then appear in the list of networks on your Mac and you can connect to it.
6. Split and close Safari tabs
When you turn on iCloud syncing for Safari on your Mac and iPhone, you can close tabs that are open on one device on the other. Once activated, the open Safari tabs on your iPhone will be displayed in the Safari tab switcher on your Mac. You may have to scroll down to see them.
To show the Tab Switcher on a Mac, press Shift + Cmd + Backslash () or click on View> Show tab overview.
To close any of the iCloud tabs, click the Shut down Button that appears when you hover over it. If you want quick access to iCloud tabs, keep the Show iCloud tabs Toolbar button handy.
On your iPhone, you will find your Mac's Safari tabs listed under your active tabs in the tab switcher. To show the tab switcher, tap the Tabs Toolbar button in the lower right. Slide the tab name to the left to find its Shut down Button.
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7. Unlock your Mac with your iPhone
You'll need a third-party app like Unlox ($ 3.99) so that you can easily unlock your Mac with your iPhone's passcode or Touch ID fingerprint.
If you have an Apple Watch, you can use it to unlock your Mac simply by sitting in front of it. That's the Auto Unlock feature in action. Speaking of which, you may be missing out on more Apple Watch features like this one.
8. On your iPhone, type using your Mac's keyboard
If an iPhone app you tap is Mac version and supports iCloud syncing, everything you type into the app on your desktop will soon show up in the mobile version, and vice versa.
While that's not an option, a Mac app that simulates a proper Bluetooth keyboard like Typeeto ($ 7.99) can work.
9. Make and receive calls on your Mac
You can receive and make both cellular and FaceTime calls on your iPhone from your Mac. For this to work, your Mac and iPhone must be connected to the same network and signed in with the same iCloud and FaceTime accounts. You also need to enable these settings:
- On macOS: Go to Facetime> Settings> Settings> Calls from iPhone
- On iOS: Go to Settings> Phone> Calls on other devices> Allow calls on other devices. In the same section, turn on the toggle switch for that Mac.
Now when you get a call on your phone, you will see a notification on your Mac about it. You can use the notification to answer or decline the call yourself.
To make a call from your Mac, first Ctrl + click a phone number or its link in any app. Then click on the Call button. A pop-up saying Call with iPhone: (number) will appear. Click the number to start the call.
10. Send and receive SMS from your Mac
You can use your Mac to send text messages with your iPhone when you activate SMS forwarding of Settings> Messages on your iPhone.
You also need to make sure that you can be reached at your phone number and email address in iMessage. To do this, tick the corresponding contact details in the settings of the messages app:
- On macOS: Go to Messages> Settings> Accounts.
- On iOS: Go to Settings> Messaging> Send and Receive.
You are now ready to send SMS from your Mac. Start an iMessage conversation as you normally would, but this time see if you can choose a phone number to send the message to. With text forwarding set up, you should be able to do so.
11. Request markups and sketches in real time
The Continuity feature lets you send a request from your Mac to your iPhone to markup annotations on images or PDFs, and add sketches to supported apps like Pages, Keynote and Numbers.
A real-time sketch or markup window will open on your iPhone, allowing you to see changes on both screens as you sketch and finalize your markups.
12. Speed up payments
You can set up Apple Pay on both your Mac and iPhone for easy, seamless payments. If you have a Mac with Touch ID, you can authorize your Mac to use Apple Pay without the help of your iPhone by using the Touch ID sensor.
However, on older Macs, you can make the purchase you initiated with your Mac using Apple Pay on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
13. Take quick snapshots
Aside from sketching and highlighting, you can also have your Mac send a request to scan documents or take pictures on your iPhone so you can add them in supported apps like Mail, Keynote, and Messages.
This feature comes in handy when you need urgent reports and documents!
Mac Plus iPhone corresponds to Harmonie Harmon
As a Mac user, you don't always have to buy an iPhone (and vice versa), but when you do it can come in very handy. You can use a mix of native features and third-party apps to easily switch from your Mac to your iPhone and back.
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About the author
(39 published articles)
Rachel Melegrito gave up her college teaching career to become a full-fledged content writer. She loves everything from Apple – from iPhones to Apple Watches to MacBooks. She is also a licensed occupational therapist and budding SEO strategist.
By Rachel Melegrito
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