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Eight OS X Yosemite features we wish we could use right now

Dan Frakes | June 4, 2014
Apple preview of OS X Yosemite gave us a taste of what to expect when the new OS is released this fall. Some of the new features have us wishing we didn't have to wait.

If there's a "sure thing" you can expect at WWDC, it's that Apple will preview new versions of its operating systems. Sure enough, the company spent a considerable portion of Monday's keynote telling us about OS X Yosemite, the next major revision to its desktop OS.

And major it is, starting with the iOS 7-inspired visual makeover. But though many expected that facelift to be the day's biggest OS X news, Yosemite's preview was most impressive for the slew of major new features Apple revealed. Here are eight new features--among those we know about so far--that we wish we didn't have to wait for.

Continuity

Not surprisingly, given how many of us own both Macs and iOS devices, our favorite new "feature" is actually a handful of features that aim to make it easier to work with, and switch between, all those devices. Apple labeled this group of features Continuity, and the idea behind them is to make switching from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad, or vice versa--to use the best device for a particular task--as seamless as possible.

Shared AirDrop AirDrop, Apple's easy-to-use feature for getting files from one device to another, debuted for Macs back in 2011 and for iOS last year. Yet the OS X and iOS versions weren't--and still aren't--compatible. One of our big wishes for iOS 8 was for Apple to fix this, and with Continuity it has: AirDrop will work between Macs and iOS devices, so you can easily send a file from your Mac to your nearby iPhone, or from your iPad to your Mac.

os x yosemite handoff
Typing an email on your iPhone? Handoff lets you quickly switch to your Mac.

Handoff If you start working on a file or email message, or viewing a website, on your iPad or iPhone, there's currently no easy way to switch over to your Mac and complete the task there. But with a Mac running Yosemite and an iOS 8 device nearby, each will watch the other to see what you're doing, and offer to let you shift that activity to the other device.

So, for example, if you're composing an email message in iOS Mail, your Mac's Dock shows a special Mail icon; click it, and the message appears in Mail on your Mac. If you're viewing a webpage in Safari on your Mac, a Safari icon appears on your iPad's lock screen; swipe it, and that webpage opens in iOS. (We're looking forward to seeing if this works for third-party apps, too.)

Mac/iPhone phone integration The combination of Yosemite and iOS also makes it easier to use your phone and Mac together. For example, whenever your iPhone is nearby and a call comes in, your Mac can display caller-ID information, and you can even accept the call on your Mac, using it as a speakerphone. You can also initiate calls on your iPhone from your Mac: just click a number in the Contacts app, or even on a webpage or in an email message, text message, or calendar event.

 

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