It’s amazing how a couple of years ago all of us condemned phone calls and SMS. The internet was going to be the future of communication. IM and Skype calls would reign forevermore. But just like everything else on the internet, we grossly overestimated its ability.
Also, technology is cyclic. In 2005, I hated getting calls and SMS. Now I love it when someone calls me on my birthday or any other occasion, rather than just leaving a Facebook message.
This tweet sums it up best.
Silicon Valley '08: "I never even use my iPhone as a phone anymore."Silicon Valley '14: "Answering calls from my Mac is *amazing*!"
Anyway, here we are. And if you own a Mac running OS X Yosemite and an iPhone running iOS 8.0/8.1 (8.0 for calls 8.1 for SMS) you can answer calls and text messages without ever lifting your fingers from the Mac’s keyboard (As long as your phone and Mac are connected to the same Wi-Fi network).
If phone calls and text messages are here to stay, answering them from your Mac is at least going to be better than hunting for your phone, picking it up and actually holding it up to your ear. #FirstWorldProblems
First, Check If Your Mac Is Compatible
The call and SMS exchange feature is a part of the “Continuity and Handoff” feature set. It uses a combination of Bluetooth 4.0 LE and Wi-Fi to send data between the devices. If your Mac doesn’t have Bluetooth 4.0 LE, your device won’t get the feature that enables you to continue working on the same document on the Mac after leaving it off on the iPhone.
Related: You can answer calls and exchange text messages on the iPad via the iPhone as well. Here’s our guide on how to do that.
Note that while Apple doesn’t have an official list of what devices will get which specific features from the “Continuity and Handoff” umbrella, the calls and SMS features work on my Late 2011 MacBook Pro just fine (Apple’s support page says “Mid 2012 and up”). This means even if your Mac is older, it could still be worth a shot.
How To Set Things Up
First, make sure you’re logged into both devices using the same iCloud or Apple account. Both devices also need to be on the same Wi-Fi network.
Go to the Messages app, open Preferences (use the Cmd + ; shortcut), and go to the Accounts tab. You should see your Apple account here. If you don’t, click the + button and add it.
On your iPhone, go to Settings -> General -> Handoff & Suggested Apps, and enable Handoff.
How Calling Works
To get calling to work, you’ll need to go to the FaceTime app and log in with your Apple ID. Once it’s set up, you don’t need to go to the app to make or receive calls.
To call someone from your Mac, you need to open the Contacts app or highlight any number from a web page or any document.
If you want to manually dial a number, check out a third party app called Continuity Keyboard. It’s just an interface for keypad and it also has a Notification Center widget for quick entry.
How to disable the calling feature: If you get too many calls, all that ringing can get annoying. To disable this feature, open the FaceTime app, go to Preferences and uncheck the box for iPhone Cellular Calls. Unfortunately, Apple has not added a silent feature to calls on Mac.
How SMS Works
SMS takes some setting up. Once you’re connected on the same Wi-Fi network and have the accounts ready, you’ll get a popup asking if you want to enable SMS texting from your iPhone (again, you’ll need to be using iOS 8.1).
Then you’ll need to enter a passcode for authentication.
From now on, any SMS that comes to your phone will show up on your Mac as long as they are on the same Wi-Fi network.
How Does Call And SMS Handoff Work On Your End?
I’ve found the SMS feature to work well but the calling quality heavily depends on the cell and Wi-Fi network, things that are beyond my control. How’s your experience been? Let us know in the comments below.