Sending & receiving calls and texts with iOS 8’s Continuity

There’s been a bevy of new features that have come along with iOS 8 and the new version of OS X, Yosemite. One of the coolest (and handiest) is the ability to send and receive calls and texts from your iPhone on your Mac, reducing distractions and keeping all your communications on the same platform.

If you have iCloud setup on both devices (it also works with iPads!) it’s supposed to be very straightforward getting this to work, but that hasn’t always been the case for us. Here’s a short little guide to some of the settings you might need to enable.

Indulge your emoji mania with texts on your Mac

The feature that allows your Mac to receive texts is called SMS Relay, which we’re mentioning because it points out that this isn’t just the standard iMessage option. Not only can you text with other Mac and iOS users (the blue bubbles), but you can now send and receive messages with anyone using a standard SMS cell phone (green).

To enable SMS Relay, open the Settings app on your iPad and/or iPhone. Then tap Messages, then Send & Receive and ensure your Apple ID is good to go. Now you want to go back to Messages and tap on “Text Message Forwarding”.

This screen shows you devices that are signed onto iMessage with the same Apple ID. You can now set which of these will get your SMS messages; you’ll need to enter a provided confirmation code on each of these to enable the service.

Answer your iPhone with your Mac’s speakers and mic

While SMS Relay uses the Messages app on your iPhone, the Continuity feature that iOS uses to send calls to your Mac uses the FaceTime app. Open that program on your Mac, then go to the Preferences option under the FaceTime menu on the top left. Here, make sure that “iPhone Cellular Calls” is checked.

Next, make sure it’s set up on your iPhone. Check the FaceTime section under the Settings app and make sure the same line is turned on. Now you’re good to go!

That’s for this week’s Mac Tip. As always, if you have any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please hit reply and let us know. Thank you for reading Mac Tips!