Is HandOff hit & miss?

I wonder what other people’s experience with macOS 's Handoff feature is.
I have it working, but only sometimes.
iOS 14.8.1 on my iPhone 7, macOS BigSur 11.6.5 on my MBP Retina (2015)

I followed the usual advice many a times, on/off, restart, HandOff off - then restart - HandOff on again, all variations you can think of. Success is random.

At present my iPhone sees Safari pages that are open on the MBP, but the MBP sees nothing.

I’m not so much after advice what to do (although I will happily listen), but would like to hear how reliable you find HandOff on your own devices.

First, I have been running the latest version of iOS 15.x on my iPhone 7 since it was first released to the public and would strongly recommend it to you. iOS As of last week, iOS 14.8.1 (18H107) is no longer being signed. That means, restoring your phone to this version is no longer possible, should it be required in the future. In addition, iOS 14 hasn’t been receiving security updates since October of last year, so is vulnerable to attack.

I’m not a huge user of the various HandOff functions with my 2017 27" iMac, but when I’ve needed it, I’ve never had a failure as long as the iMac is awake. There are fourteen HandOff functions available, but you only mention a one way failure of AirDrop. Are other HandOff functions reliable?

Is this really a HandOff feature or iCloud Safari syncing? I have HandOff turned off, but I still see open tabs and share bookmarks between iOS Safari and macOS Safari via iCloud.

I can tell you in my experience this has become less and less reliable. 50% of the time I have to restart Safari on the iPhone or the Mac in order to get the other device’s Safari to properly reflect open tabs. Sometimes I have to restart both to get it to work. It’s ridiculous.

I’m not sure what the actual problem is. Both macOS and iOS are on their latest and greatest versions. I want to say up to ~3 years ago this worked flawlessly for me. But ever since either iOS 13 or some newer version of Safari or God knows what they fooled around with on the iCloud backend this has been getting flakier by the month. It’s pretty much hit and miss these days. So much so, that I have in fact reverted to at times using Reading List instead. :roll_eyes:

Thanks @alvarnell and @Simon

@alvarnell Are you sure about iOS 14.8.1? It’s only from Sept 2021, is this really now somehow unsupported? I’m intentionally slow with all system updates, for a good few years this was always a better strategy, too many bugs came out time and time again that make things worse, not better. This may be a discussion for another day.

@Simon You might be right, is this really HandOff. I dunno.
I receive paper letters from a financial institution, they give me specific slightly complex URLs to surf to, thankfully always accompanied by a QR code. I use the QR code on the iPhone, and if Safari’s HandOff or whatever works, I’m quickly on the website I want. There are other ways how to transfer the URL, but it often works elegantly, until it doesn’t.

Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m not alone. Makes me feel better, even if it doesn’t change anything :grinning:

Simon you should consider yourself extraordinarily fortunate to have iOS and macOS Safari syncing 50% of the time :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Have been discussing this with family and friends for some time now. We’re respectively running the latest OSs on a variety of devices. We’ve all given up completely in the last 12 months trying to get Safari to sync bookmarks, open tabs, history, etc. Works for about half an hour after doing the usual dance on three toes while poking your tongue left and your nose right, etc

As for the Reading List – we all lost offline functionality about three years ago.

Becoming more and more disillusioned by the state of Apple’s software.

I’m absolutely positive about iOS 14.8.1 being no longer signed. iOS 14.8 was released on Sept 13, 2021 and 14.8.1 on Oct 26, 2021 with eleven security patches around the time that 15.1 was released. Since that time there have been eight updates to iOS 15 with dozens of security fixes and none for iOS 14, so I think it’s safe to say that 14 is beyond end-of-life now.

So I understand how you are using a QR code to open a Safari page (I suspect you could simply do the same using the camera on your MBP) but are you then clicking on the Handoff icon on the MBP to have it show up there?

Well, my iOS 14 continues to work. Most (all?) new iOS 15 features require hardware that my iPhone 7 doesn’t have, fair to say then: What’s the point? With my previous iPhone 6 every major iOS upgrade made it slower (in my subjective perception of course). Should have stayed with the original iOS.

Back to the actual discussion:

Yes that is, or was, how I use/d it. Can a MBPr camera read and resolve QR codes? Not sure how this would work, which app to use?

If it’s HandOff, a Safari icon will appear in the Dock with a symbol indicating the other device with the page open. That’s different from the iCloud syncing.
In my experience, this aspect of HandOff works reliably.

As I indicated in both my replies, unpatched vulnerabilities.

There are several listed here ‎QR Journal on the Mac App Store, some free. QR Journal has been around for 10 years, but seems to have mixed reviews. Haven’t tried any of them as I’ve always used my iPad Pro for such things.

I haven’t really thought about it. I don’t rely on it. Every now and then one device or another pops up a dialog offering to continue a session but it’s rarely anything I still care about at the time. Mostly, if I need/want to move a session from one device to another I have other ways of doing it and I’m so accustomed to using those that even if handoff were available, (as it sometimes is), I wouldn’t likely notice.