Handoff between iOS 8.1 and Mac + Pages, Numbers, Keynote

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by vrungel, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. vrungel macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I'm not able to do handoff running either Pages, Numbers or Keynote on iPhone 5S running iOS 8.1 and Yosemite. Everything else works in terms of Handoff, i.e. Mail, Maps, Contacts, Safari, etc. I've done multiple reboots and sign-offs/ons on both ends to no avail. Is there some known Handoff compatibility issue in Pages, Numbers and Keynote? Has anyone been able to successfully use the Handoff in these three apps?
     
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #2
    Have you updated the iWork suite after installing Yosemite and 8.1? All three apps were updated on both platforms.

    I just upgraded to Yosemite tonight and tested handoff with Notes and Mail, but haven't had a chance to try iWork. I'll post back later on how Handoff works for me.
     
  3. vrungel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    yep, everything is running the latest. have you tried it on your end yet?
     
  4. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #4
    I converted iOS and the Yosemite Mac to iCloud Drive, but had to wait a bit for it to finish.

    Got back to it this afternoon, and it does seem to work fine with Pages. These are documents that used to be in iCloud Documents & Data and now moved to iCloud Drive.

    I don't remember changing anything else (not that there's much option on Yosemite). On iOS, the Documents & Data option was removed when iCloud Drive was turned on.

    The only "trick", as I think you know, is the sending device must be awake and have the Handoff app active. Then, the Mac should have the Handoff icon at the left side of the Dock and also the CMD-Tab app switcher.
     
  5. vrungel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Just to clarify, using iCloud Drive is one option how you can share docs between your devices, but it requires you to manually open the app on a given device, create a new document and save it on the iCloud Drive before you can see it on another device. Is that correct? I think that's how I got it to work in my setup, but according to Apple Support there's got to be the Handoff way where you start creating a new document and an icon automatically pops up on another device without requiring you to first save it on iCloud or even deal with iCloud altogether. Apple Support got stuck with explaining how to enable that and promised to call me later today which is probably ain't gonna happen. Basically I'm trying to figure out if the Handoff option (bypassing the iCloud bit) is available and works for anyone, similar to how other apps work, i.e. Safari, Contacts, etc.
     
  6. iCheddar macrumors 6502a

    iCheddar

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    #6
    I've tried to initiate handoff using iWork, but it never actually works. In Dock on Mac or on the lock screen on iOS I see the icon.

    When I click on the dock icon on Mac it just launches the app, but doesn't load the document. On iOS, it'll launch the app, then go to the icon for the document and just give me a spinning gear without ever loading the document.
     
  7. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #7
    Handoff doesn't necessarily use iCloud Drive, but it uses iCloud for security.

    I just did a little experimenting and found the iPad-Mac to be a little finicky, though now I think I didn't give it enough time (meaning not instant or a few seconds, but maybe 30, depending on the size of the document (if there is a document involved - Safari, for example, would just send the link). However, I was able to Handoff between Pages on the Mac and on my iPad or iPhone. I also tried Numbers, and that also worked.

    Back to iCloud Drive. If an iOS app is enabled for iCloud Drive (in iOS settings for iCloud, iCloud Drive), all documents are automatically stored there. You don't have to explicitly save them (like with iTunes File Sharing). On the Mac side, you obviously can save the document wherever you like. Anyway, whether the document is saved there or not, doesn't directly affect Handoff. It's all pretty much hands-off, and if there's a situation like deleting a document while it's still open on the other device, you'll see appropriate dialogs to allow you to manage the document.

    Handoff uses three different technologies: iCloud for security, Bluetooth LE to detect devices and communicate the type of Handoff, and WiFi Direct (Airdrop) to exchange the data or document.

    To use Handoff, both devices must be logged into the same iCloud account; the device must support Bluetooth LE (4.0) and be within range; both devices must support WiFi Direct (AirDrop compatible). Anything made in the last couple of years should support both. You can check at Apple for a list. It's not so much of a question for iOS devices, but more so for Macs - I don't think anything before 2012 supported WiFi Direct.

    Hope this info helps sort things out.
     
  8. dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #8
    Except it doesn't do this with iWork and its exactly what it SHOULD do as it makes sense. If you start a new document, or open an old one, edit it and then try to hand it off, the receiving device requests it to save on the other device, sync to icloud, download on the new device and then open.

    Despite this being totally inefficient (when it could use Airdrop) you'd think it could still happen quickly (unless you'd just dropped a 5mb picture into your pages document, in which case its ridiculous)

    But oh no, try a simple experiment like deleting ONE letter on a Pages document and it'll take anywhere from a minute to FIFTEEN minutes to sync this change and open it on the other device. Totally useless. iCloud drive doesn't even appear to be using incremental file updating like the rSync protocol and Dropbox do which is utter madness for the above example. A lot of the time the transfer will just totally time out as a few friends have had.

    Its iWork Handoff is pretty much usable in its current form, Apple are going to have to get their iCloud Drive servers working at Dropbox speeds to get close to it working this way, but they also need to make the Bluetooth LE detection more robust as use the LAN connection to transfer changes very quickly then deal with the syncing to iCloud Drive in the background. The thing is iDisk was horrendously slow all those years ago and iCloud Drive seems worryingly similar.

    Like a few things from Apple lately, good idea's very poorly implemented which is a shame.
     
  9. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #9
    But, yes, it actually does work that way - mostly. I've seen reviews of the technology that say data is supposed to go over wifi direct (this is why AirDrop won't enable on iPad 3). From the few experiments I did (mentioned above), the iCloud Drive sync happens at a different point in time. And, Handing off from iPad Pages to the Mac doesn't force the document into iCloud, from the viewpoint of the Pages app (in other words, when the document is saved from Mac Pages, it will go to the folder you designate).

    I agree that I did see some exchanges that took more time than I thought it should, but nothing like 15 minutes. Handoff does have some hitches in it, but for me, it's working properly - faster and more convenient than even using AirDrop.

    The only way, besides on the word from other researchers, is for me to look at the wifi traffic itself (logs might be enough though) and I'm not that motivated to do so yet (though it might be fun to do at some point).
     
  10. vrungel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Let me make sure we're talking about the same thing. I'm using a late-2013 rMBP with Yosemite and an iPhone 5S with iOS 8.1, which all support the Handoff feature. When you open the Pages app on your iOS device and click + (Create New), select a blank document and start typing something, does an icon pop up on your Mac's dock? Another way around, if you start creating a new Pages document on your Mac, does an icon pop up on your iOS device's locked screen? Clicking the icon on either device to open a doc you just started to create which you obviously haven't saved anywhere yet is my understanding of how the Handoff should function in iWork. For all practical purposes, you shouldn't even have to enable the iCloud Drive, meaning docs you create and work on shouldn't go through the iCloud Drive if you don't want to use it.
     
  11. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #11
    Yes, this is the way it worked for me. But, it didn't seem to do the Handoff until I actually did something to the document, whether a blank page or one of their templates. Then, yes, the special Dock icon or app switcher icon would show up on the other device (Mac or iOS) and when clicked, would open the document without any further action. It does take a few seconds, and the process looks a bit different in OS X vs iOS (like iOS Pages would show the documents, with the Handoff document showing the loading animation).

    I agree that iCloud Drive shouldn't need to be enabled. As I mentioned, I've seen some conflicting reports as to what iCloud is used for (just security, or document transferred). The latest technical reviews I've seen seem to agree that iCloud Drive isn't specifically used for data, rather WiFi direct handles it. Older reviews (like right after the first betas came out) say iCloud Drive handles the data transfer.

    I believe it's both, depending on what application you are using and whether you have iCloud Drive enabled for it. If enabled, all documents [in iOS Pages] would be in on the iCloud Drive anyway. Going the other way (from the Mac), the document should go over wifi direct. I think it will take more digging for me to say with certainty which is which and when (etc. ;) ). I suppose it would be easy for me to disable iCloud Drive for Pages on iOS and see what happened. At least, I can look directly into the Drive in Finder to see when/if something shows up. On OS X, there also is a toggle on a per-app basis for iCloud Drive access. But, in OS X, I don't think the document is automatically auto-saved onto the Drive. Again, more experimentation would be needed.

    I just played around with Pixelmator and from what I could see, iCloud Drive needed to be enabled. But, on the other hand, OS X Pixelmator did not have iCloud Drive enabled. Confused too, now. :confused: More experience needed to understand what needs what when.
     
  12. vrungel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    @gr8tfly

    Yes, with iCloud Drive enabled, it works, though I was told it was the "old" way, not the Handoff way. If I create a new doc on Mac, I have to manually save it in iCloud Drive first before an icon on my iPhone pops up. If I create a new doc on the iPhone though, I don't get any icon poping up on my Mac's dock. Instead I have to manually open a corresponding iWorks app to see the doc I started on the iPhone which was autosaved on iCloud Drive. It's confusing beyond recognition as everyone seems to be getting different experiences.
     
  13. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #13
    Hummm. I was able to do Handoff to the Mac, special Dock icon and all, and have the app open with the Handoff doc. Didn't have to do anything else. This is with Pages and Pixelmator, though with the latter I don't remember if I explictly saved the image to iCloud Drive. With Pages, all documents are both available on the iPad and are on the iCloud Drive. No special export or save required.

    Going from the Mac to the iPad seemed to work with Pages, though I would note it was a document handed off from the iPad previously - then modified. After that, I got the handoff icon back on the iPad and the modified document opened automatically in Pages.

    That all said, I have had times where nothing would work - either direction, or maybe one way or the other (yes, that's a confusing way to put it, but I left it because...I'm confused). Turning Bluetooth off and on seems to kickstart the Handoff, because, I suppose, it re-advertises and monitors other devices a new.

    Maybe tomorrow I'll setup a more proper set of pre-defined tests so I don't trip over myself with different configurations.
     
  14. dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #14
    Honestly I don't believe you, I don't think the feature works as advertised and no one has proved other wised.

    Make me a video where you open a pages document, delete a work in it and then hand if off on the Mac and show it me that opening dialog box doens't get stuck for minutes and minutes - there's no wifi going on here at all, and it doesn't work properly.

    If you have no changes in the document it works instantly, but when would that ever be the situation? And in that case all its doing is sending the instruction to open an app and then open a document, pretty simple.
     
  15. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #15
    Sure. I made it up...:rolleyes:

    And, as I said, Pages in iOS used iCloud Drive, so whatever data wifi direct could share, could be redundant to the updated document in iCloud Drive. Doing Handoff to the Mac, I never saved the open document - but noticed its path was in iCloud Drive. As it handed off the revised document to the Mac, it took a bit of time - maybe even a minute, but nothing like 15 to sync up with the source device.

    I've made so many tests now, with different configurations of iCloud Drive enabled/disabled, I have lost track of later experiments. As I said, what I need to do is lay out a test procedure I can rigorously follow.

    Apple KB article: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6337?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US - doesn't mention iCloud Drive, only needing to sign into iCloud. I haven't been able to find anything that says iCloud Drive must be enabled, though my tests seem to say it does, at least for Pages (note I've also done Handoff with Numbers). Some posters at Apple Discussions have mentioned that making sure AirDrop works between devices caused Handoff to start working. Also, signing out of and back into iCloud, then restarting a device. My own experience has shown toggling Bluetooth "wakes up" the Handoff conversation between devices. I'm confident in saying Handoff isn't 100% for every use case, but it does indeed work as advertised.

    I'm still curious enough myself to continue playing with Handoff, but maybe later. Kinda burned out on the subject ATM.
     
  16. dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #16
    1. General handoff is buggy, it only works half the time for everyone, the feature should still be in beta.

    2. You're still wrong about iWork handoff, this is an entire different issue and you've not made the video to prove it. I tested again today and the very best hand off speeds I could get were between iOS devices and they took over a minute. Not acceptable in my book, a minute is a long time to sit and wait (which is why Craig completely avoided using the feature in the Keynote demonstration) - I could save he file and share it with Instashare in less than 25 seconds manually in iOS7.

    And I can confirm the file needs to be on iDrive 100% to work, you don't even get handoff appearing if you've saved it to your hard drive or to dropbox.

    I'm not sure if a lot of the bugs for Handoff appearing at all are due to the flakiness of Bluetooth LE, but the iWork hand off lag is a totally different issue, its just Apple being poor with internet based performance again unfortunately.
     
  17. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #17
    I've never said I intended on making a video. I have nothing to prove. It works here. Not wrong. End of story. Not 100% reliability, as I've said several times now. But, it does work. Most of the time it's much faster than a minute, but it's not like I've done even dozens of Handoffs yet. Both our experiences are pretty anecdotal in any event; certainly not any evidence of widespread major problems.
     
  18. dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #18
    Mainly it seems because most people don't care about handoff as its a useless gimmick and even less use iWork (in fact I don't know anyone who actually uses Pages)

    Though all my real life Mac friends all recreate the same iWork hand off bug that i DO have a video of in a thread and just about everyone on the forums is seeing handoff icons only appearing about half the time.
     
  19. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #19
    Ok, I did some more testing early this morning. I even read the Handoff programming guide and watched the Handoff WWDC session (more than I needed or wanted to know about Handoff at this point in time...). With that in mind, I did a bit more rigorous testing. Below are my notes. There is some unreliability on both the iOS and OS X side, and I'm not sure what actions might triggered it. In both cases, toggling Handoff enable and BT restored Handoff functionality.

    Pages on OS X: It doesn’t need to be enabled for iCloud Drive, but the open document must be from the Pages folder in iCloud Drive in order to Handoff to iOS. On iOS, Pages must be enabled for iCloud Drive, otherwise it can’t access anything. AND, you need to go to Settings > Pages (not iCloud Drive) and tell it to use iCloud (syncing).

    It took 15 seconds for iOS Pages to get and open an updated version of the Mac open document. I went to Handoff on iOS immediately after making the last change to the Mac document, so it hadn’t automatically saved to the cloud yet.
    If I wait a few secs (15) for the Mac Pages document to auto save to iCloud Drive after the last modification – Handoff was instant on the iPad.

    When OS X flakes out, turning off/on Handoff, then Bluetooth (perhaps only BT needed?) restores Handoff to iOS. Took about 30 seconds after last change on iOS Pages doc to finish Handoff to Mac. I also had a situation where the iPad didn’t seem to broadcast Handoff, but was “fixed” by turning BT off the on.

    Switching apps to (iOS) homepage, Safari, then back to Pages, then using Handoff on Mac resulted in the current iOS document opening instantly on the Mac. The only time there is a delay is when there hasn’t been enough time to autosave the document to iCloud. And yes, in the case of Pages, iCloud Drive is needed (and iCloud to sync). I opened a document with a section selected, then did a Handoff to Mac, and the document opened with exact selection made.

    Different apps will use different means of transferring data and or documents. Just because Pages requires iCloud Drive doesn’t mean other apps need to or do. There are several API methods for transferring activity data and documents. Documents should be put in iCloud, but a developer can use other methods of transfer (wifi direct or, if small enough, BT). For instance, using Safari for Handoff requires a minimum of data (can even have been sent via BT) to perform the Handoff, so there isn’t any real delay at all - either from Mac or iOS.

    I feel I've done enough with Handoff, especially Pages going between iOS and OS X, to know how, if it flakes out, to get it going again. It'll get better over time, as all new features have (for the vast majority) done.

    Sidenote: I found when turning off (iOS) iCloud Drive for Pages, it also disables the "Use iCloud" setting in Settings > Pages. When iCloud Drive is reenabled for Pages, the "Use iCloud" doesn't get reenabled, so you need to go and manually do that (Settings > Pages). It won't see any iCloud documents without both enabled.
     
  20. dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #20
    Yeah I agree in most senses its a very straight forward simple handoff of data - its a shame that they can't changes messages to copy across half the text message you've typed instead of literally just opening messages, which is a bit pointless as its likely already open on my mac and can already be swapped to with one click.

    Unfortunately in my and friends tests I can't get an edited iWork document to transfer in under a minute - I feel this could be due to the iCloud Drive servers being even slower in the UK maybe. For some reason people seem to be having even more issues with getting icons to appear for iWork than other apps.

    Right now my handoff has been broken again for afew days so i've given up on it, it appears on my iOS devices from the Mac, but it never appears in the finder on my mac and no rebooting or toggling has helped, so i've just decided to leave it be until the next Yosemite update.
     
  21. vrungel, Oct 26, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014

    vrungel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    I can confirm that the Handoff now works for me as you've described. I didn't really understand what you meant by
    but in my experience, when I create a new Pages doc on iOS, the only way I can consistently get the Pages Handoff icon pop up on my Mac is by finishing editing the doc in iOS by getting out of it to the list of docs (tapping the left arrow) which presumably triggers the autosave on the iCloud Drive, then reopening the same doc again in iOS. And only THEN the Handoff icon pops up on my Mac. Those extra hoops are ridiculous but that's the only way I can currently do Handoff in iWork apps from iOS to Mac.

    By the way to "wake up" the Handoff, I toggle off/on the Handoff option on both Mac and iOS. I've also tried to AirDrop a doc from Mac to iOS as suggested in some threads. Not sure exactly which one worked though. I don't bother with Bluetooth as I'm using Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.
     

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