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Quick Tips – Apple File Sharing Using Handoff, Universal Clipboard, iCloud

Share Files Between Your Devices
Share Files Between Your Devices

You have pictures, music, apps, files- basically your entire life – stored on your iPhone. And maybe a bunch more on your iPad, and on your MacBook. It’s the same with your friends and family. You want to be able to consolidate all your stuff, or at least have what you need on the device at hand. You would also like to share, and be shared with. Here we provide you the how-to on sharing with Apple iCloud and Apple Handoff. (For the Window’s folks reading this, Microsoft has a short how-to on enabling syncing ). Let’s get started ….


Share With Handoff

Handoff is part of Apple Continuity, which also includes Universal Clipboard, iPhone Cellular Calls, SMS/MMS messaging, Instant Hotspot, and Auto Unlock. With Handoff, you can you can start work on one device, then switch to another nearby device and pick up where you left off. This in effect, transfers the working document from one device to another. The list of compatible apps supporting Handoff includes Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Maps, Messages, Notes, iPhone, Reminders, Safari, Keynote, Numbers, and Pages. More Apple apps and third party apps are also in development to include a Handoff option.

To transfer files from OS X to iOS, perform the following steps:

  • Turn on Handoff in your Mac from within the General System Preferences.
  • Enable the Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices option
  • Go to your compatible iOS devices
  • Head towards the General Settings
  • Select Handoff & Suggested Apps
  • Switch on Handoff
  • Check out the bottom left-hand corner of the lock screen on your iOS device
  • It will show an icon, swipe up on the icon
  • It will launch the iOS version of the app

Through this app in your iOS device, you will be able to see the same content you were working on your Mac. To transfer files from iOS to OS X, check the Dock for the same icon with a tiny iOS device icon in the corner. Click on the icon to launch the OS X version of the app.

Share With Universal Clipboard

Another useful feature of Apple Continuity is Universal Clipboard. With Universal Clipboard, you can copy text, images, photos, and video on one Apple device, then paste the content on another Apple device.

It works when your devices are near each other and set up as follows:

  • Each device is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.
  • Each device has Bluetooth turned on.
  • Each device has Wi-Fi turned on.
  • Each device has Handoff turned on:
    • On Mac, choose Apple menu () > System Preferences, then click General. Select “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.”
    • On iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > General > Handoff, then turn on Handoff

Usage is a very simple, two step copy-paste process:

  • On one device, copy the text, image, or video as you normally would. That content is automatically added to the clipboard of your other nearby device. It remains there briefly, or until you replace it by copying something else on either device.
  • On the other device, paste the content as you normally would.

Here’s a help guide from Apple on all the features of the Continuity suite of applications, and all the programs which are currently supported.

Share With AirDrop

Apple’s AirDrop is probably the favored method for sharing. We like it so much, we created a separate article just for using AirDrop.

Share With iCloud Drive

One of the main advantages of the iCloud Drive is that you can share files between your Apple devices and anything else – Windows, Android, etc. As long as both devices can support iCloud, this will work. Make sure to get the updated iCloud for Windows client download, which now supports the latest file hosting service. To share files using the service, all that’s needed is for your files and operating system support iCloud drive. Here are the steps to make it all work:

  • You have to enable the service by using iCloud settings on each device
  • Switch your iCloud account to iCloud Drive
  • Here you will see all of your files and folders on the drive – just select and share.

Except for the four methods mentioned above, you can also share Apple files with iPhone Transfer Software easily.

Quick Tips Series

We hope you enjoy our weekly Quick Tips to get the most out of your tech. Here are some of the other articles in the series:

How To Use Airdrop To Transfer Files On iOS Devices

How To Screen Copy An Image For Documents

Recommended Reading

If you want the best way to learn about all the great features of your iPhone, we suggest David Pogue’s ? iPhone: The Missing Manual ($16.13) – a funny, gorgeously illustrated guide to the tips, shortcuts, and workarounds that will turn you, too, into an iPhone master. This easy-to-use book will help you accomplish everything from web browsing to watching videos so you can get the most out of your iPhone.

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