One of the big thing with the new OS X Yosemite is how much it has cozied up with iOS. The new Continuity feature promises to integrate phone calls, SMS, application handoff, instant hotspot and file exchange into a central part of OS X. That is, of course, only if your mobile is an iOS device.
Where does that leave OS X users who prefer to use an Android phone? Sad. Envious.
This, however, isn’t unexpected. People are doing plenty of things on their mobile devices. The stuff that people do on their mobile devices, they want to be able to do them on their desktop or notebook computers too. This integration is nice. By putting this integration feature into OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 makes the Apple ecosystem totally seamless from mobile to desktop.
If you’ve not caught up on this Continuity feature, here’s a quick summary:
- You can make and receive phone calls on OS X Yosemite, via your iPhone. You can even initiate a call on OS X Yosemite, then transfer and continue the call from your iPhone. (Not sure if it works the other way around.)
- You can send and receive SMS text messages and iMessages on OS X Yosemite.
- You can hand-off work-in-progress from OS X Yosemite to iOS mobile device, and vice versa. For example, if you begin composing an email on your iMac, but had to head off some place, you can pick up from where you left off and continue on your iPhone. This hand-off feature requires app support, and currently works with Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar and Contacts.
- Your OS X Yosemite computer can automatically make use of your iOS device as a mobile hotspot. No need to setup or activate hotspot function on the iOS device.
- You can easily share files between OS X Yosemite and an iOS device.
All very neat. I hope something comes for Android users. OS X is great for my computer, but on my mobile, I prefer Android. I don’t foresee myself going the Chromebook route, so it won’t do for Google to make the same magic happen between Android and Chrome OS.
The biggest feature I want from Continuity is the ability to send and receive SMS text messages on my computer. Fortunately, there is sort of a partial solution. Check out Pushbullet.
In nutshell, what Pushbullet does is to send all your phone’s notifications to your computer. You can respond to some of them, such as text messages, from your computer. You can also send links, photos, and other files, so this in some way even begins to feel like Apple’s AirDrop.
Pushbullet installs as an app in my Android smartphone, and as a Chrome extension in my Retina MacBook Pro. Pushbullet has no native OS X client at this time, but they are beta testing a Windows client now. There is also a Firefox extension. iPhone users are not left out, as there is an iOS mobile cilent too.
Pushbullet handles that SMS bit on my computer very well. Incoming SMS text messages to my phone are sent to my Mac, and notified via a pop-up from the Pushbullet chrome extension. From the notification, I can reply to the SMS, it gets relayed to my phone, and then it gets transmitted as a SMS text message.
Pity that I cannot initiate a new SMS from my Mac. But Pushbullet at least makes reading and responding to them very convenient.
Being able to make phone calls from the Mac is another nice thing. There’s Google Voice, but unfortunately that’s not the most appropriate solution for us in Singapore.
What other utilities or tools do you know that can help Android users work better on their Macs?