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Devs can 'Handoff' iOS apps to browser-based UIs on Macs

Gregg Keizer | June 11, 2014
Apple's new Handoff feature in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite not only lets users pick up on one app from where they left off on another, but it can "forward" them to a website on an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Google, for instance, could direct that a handoff from its iOS app for Gmail opens in Chrome, not Safari on a Mac, if the user had installed Chrome and set it as their default browser.

The opposite direction, browser-to-native-app, is also supported by Handoff.

Even software developers with corresponding apps on both iOS and OS X can implement app-to-browser and browser-to-app Handoff to cover cases when the user has just one of the apps, say on iOS, but has not paid for, downloaded and installed the partnered OS X application.

Data representing Handoff activities will be sent via Bluetooth from one device to another, so Bluetooth must be enabled on both ends of the conversation for the feature to work.

Both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will be free upgrades, and while Apple has not firmed up a delivery date, it said last week that the two would be available this fall.

Developers can bake 'Handoff' into their native iOS apps, but then let users resume tasks in a browser-based UI on OS X Yosemite.


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