Bluetooth LE Adapters Don't Enable OS X Yosemite's 'Handoff' on Older Macs

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Over the past few days, we've been exploring some of the system requirements for Apple's Continuity features such as Handoff, noting that an apparent requirement of Bluetooth LE support for Handoff would leave out a number of older Macs that are otherwise compatible with OS X Yosemite.

In discussing the limitations for Handoff support, some MacRumors forum members suggested that adding an inexpensive third-party Bluetooth LE adapter to an older Mac might be enough to add support for the feature. Unfortunately, several forum members have discovered that this does not appear to be the case.

One forum member has shared details of their testing, noting that in tests with a 2010 MacBook Air that does not include built-in support for Bluetooth LE, adding IOGEAR's Bluetooth 4.0 USB Micro Adapter works out of the box to add Bluetooth LE support to the machine, but does not enable support for Continuity features such as Handoff or AirDrop.

System information for 2010 MacBook Air with IOGEAR Bluetooth LE adapter
While OS X Yosemite remains in beta testing and things could change before final release, it appears that Bluetooth LE support alone is not sufficient to enable Handoff and that Apple is instead enforcing a stricter requirement for built-in Bluetooth LE support, perhaps by defining specific models that are able to use the feature.

Beyond Handoff, Apple is also adding a number of other features under the Continuity umbrella, not all of which require Bluetooth LE support. For example, the new phone relay feature that will allow users to make and receive iPhone calls right from their Macs relies on Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth, meaning that more devices should be compatible with this feature and it is likely to work over longer distances.

OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 are scheduled to launch to the public in the fall of this year, likely around the September-October timeframe.

Article Link: Bluetooth LE Adapters Don't Enable OS X Yosemite's 'Handoff' on Older Macs
 

afsnyder

macrumors 65816
Jan 7, 2014
1,270
33
Hmm... is it possible Apple never thought of that and hopefully now they will implement it? Things change over beta... hmm.
 

BJMRamage

macrumors 68020
Oct 2, 2007
2,457
881
well, that is too bad for my older iMac.

Though, like any other "cool" Apple Software release, they tie it to specific hardware in hopes you want something so bad, you simply buy a new one.

I won't be upgrading this year (this year is the iPhone) but within the next 2-3 I can upgrade the Mac and have this feature.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,746
Germany
but mac os x isnt a closed system like iOS is. shouldnt it be possible to simply enable it using some 3rd party trick in the future? (not that i need it, mine is supported but still wondering)
 

Dryland

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2010
42
29
I had the adapter idea not even 2 hours ago... well hopefully someone can find the code that is restricting older macs.
 

moldy lunchbox

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2010
601
91
Raleigh, NC
I know Apple is in the business of selling computers, but I don't see this as a sole reason to upgrade machines. Maybe a slight reason, but still nice try Tim Cook.
 
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aDRock1154

macrumors 65816
Nov 15, 2011
1,387
5
Ohio
I gotta admit, I'm not really surprised.

I think I'd be more surprised if they opened it up to 3rd parties...
 

DTphonehome

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2003
1,766
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NYC
I imagine a bit of mucking around in terminal will enable it. If not, there's a good chance a software workaround will come out.
 

6836838

Suspended
Jul 18, 2011
1,536
1,295
I really hope someone can hack this, as this is no way Apple are going to allow this 'out of the box'. A mid 2010 MBP is still a very highly spec'ed and capable machine. It just goes to prove that Apple don't like people hanging on to old hardware for more than a few years.
 

hattonna928

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2014
102
0
Yeah my $2000 early 2011 MacBook Pro is now "too old." My idea is whether replacing the bluetooth chipset in older models with the ones from the updated models will work. For example, based on the research I've done, the Bluetooth/Airport card in the Mid-2012 MBP is the same size and will fit perfectly in the slot of the 2011 models. The big difference is that one has bluetooth 4.0 and the older ones have 2.1... I just don't have beta access to test it if I buy one. Granted I could test it when the public beta releases.
 

iBlazed

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2014
1,594
1,225
New Jersey, United States
It's a bit ridiculous that if you spent thousands on a new Mac Pro in early 2013 that you can't use this feature even if you get an adapter. I understand why it only works on Bluetooth LE, and it should remain that way because of the low energy usage, but it definitely should work with an adapter. The adapter is completely pointless on a laptop, but for iMac and Mac Pro it should be an option.
 

cocky jeremy

macrumors 601
Jul 12, 2008
4,213
1,802
Columbus, OH
Someone will release something that enables it within weeks of Yosemite releasing. Wait and see.. and calm down if you don't have it enabled by default. :p
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
10,633
2,773
Bay Area
It's a bit ridiculous that if you spent thousands on a new Mac Pro in early 2013 that you can't use this feature even if you get an adapter. I understand why it only works on Bluetooth LE, and it should remain that way because of the low energy usage, but it definitely should work with an adapter. The adapter is completely pointless on a laptop, but for iMac and Mac Pro it should be an option.
I agree with you... but let's just wait and see the final release. This is still an early beta.