WWDC: 5 new ways Apple’s devices work together

What to expect from macOS Sierra

Apple, WWDC, iOS, OS X

Apple doesn’t just build separate products with different functions and forms, instead it has a vision of connected computing in which all its devices and operating systems cooperate together.

Continuity, Handoff

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll have already noticed how useful such Continuity and Handoff between Macs and iPhones can be, this is why you can:

  • Start an email on iOS and finish it on the Mac
  • Take a call (or send an SMS) on your Mac using your iPhone’s carrier
  • Easily share files between devices.

These are all pretty useful (I use the Mac to make calls an awful lot) but the way Macs and its devices works together improves dramatically in macOS Sierra (now up to its second developer beta preview). In case you’ve missed this, here’s the list:


Apple’s made the capacity to hand calls between Macs and iPhones far more stable, and now you can easily switch between devices. This means you can start chatting on your iPhone and then move to using your Mac to talk.

[Also read: 11 iOS 10 tips you’ll use]


Apple drew gasps and applause when it announced this at WWDC last month: Auto-unlock. This means if you are wearing an Apple Watch that’s authenticated to the same Apple ID as the Mac you want to use you will be automatically logged into that Mac when you get close to it. You won’t need to use your login password to launch your Mac.

Apple Pay

When you purchase items using a compatible online store you will be able to tap the Apple Pay icon on the product using Safari on your Mac and then complete that purchase using TouchID on your iPhone or by double-clicking the side button on your Apple Watch. The process is highly secure – even against “man in the middle” attacks. That’s because you no won’t need to share credit or debit card numbers with an online merchant and actual card numbers are not stored on your device, nor on Apple servers.

iCloud Desktop and Documents

I’ve been using Sierra on a Mac for the last few weeks and I’m really liking this feature. It means your Desktop and Documents files are automatically stored in iCloud, which means they are then available in iCloud Drive on all your Apple devices, or on iCloud.com on Windows PCs. This lets you securely store all your travel documents in the cloud, for example.

Universal Clipboard

Another flagship feature, Universal Clipboard lets you copy-&-paste between your devices. This means you can copy a photo on your iPad and then paste it into a document on your Mac; or create a list on the Mac to use on an iPhone.

One more thing

This intelligent integration isn’t just confined to iOS devices and Macs, even Apple TV gets a slice of the action. With the forthcoming Remote app installed on an iPhone, when you are required to type text in the text entry box on an Apple TV a Notification will automatically appear on your iPhone. Tap that Notification and you will be led directly to the keyboard on your Remote app, enabling you to quickly and easily enter text. (There’s lots more on future Apple TV improvements here).

You can explore all my WWDC 2016-related reports here.

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