Fix Continuity Camera Issues Between iPhone and Mac

One of the major perks of the Mac OS Mojave is the way it works seamlessly with iOS 12. Aside from the old faithful Airdrop, users now have access to the continuity feature. But, perhaps the most impressive of these new features is the continuity camera.

Related: Fix Handoff not working between iPhone and Mac.

What is Continuity Camera?

In simple words, the feature allows you to access your iPhone’s camera right from your MacBook. As a result, you can scan documents, as well as take pictures and have it on your computer instantly. Not only does this save time, but it also reduces distractions.

Use Continuity Camera in Mac
Use Continuity Camera in Mac

What Issues You Could Face?

The system is not perfect all times. Especially with iOS 12, many users have experienced issues with the continuity camera for various reasons. When trying to take picture or scan document, you will see error like below saying “Could not import from iPhone – The device is timed out”.

Device Timed Out Error in Continuity Camera
Device Timed Out Error in Continuity Camera

Sometimes you will also see “Wi-Fi is not enabled on the device” even though you have a proper wireless connection.

WiFi Issue with Continuity Camera
WiFi Issue with Continuity Camera

We’ll explore some of the possible reasons for the connection problem and suggest a solution. Let’s jump right in; here is how to fix continuity camera issues between iPhone and Mac.

6 Ways to Fix Continuity Camera Issues Between iPhone and Mac

Outlined below are four possible ways to fix the issues you may be experiencing. Since the continuity feature depends on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, these are the first things you want to check. Don’t worry; we’ll walk you through the steps to verify your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your iPhone and Mac.

  1. Connect to same Wi-Fi
  2. Connect to Bluetooth and pair
  3. Sign in with same iCloud account
  4. Delete Bluetooth preferences file
  5. Check compatible apps
  6. Upgrade iOS and macOS versions

1. Check Wi-Fi on Mac and iPhone

In order to work with continuity camera, you need to connect your iPhone and Mac to the same wireless network. Sometimes your phone may be connected to mobile data causing the feature not working. So follow the below instructions and ensure you have same Wi-Fi connection on iPhone as well as MacBook.

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On the Mac:

Go to “Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network” section.

Enable WiFi in Mac
Enable WiFi in Mac
  • Click on the “Turn Wi-Fi On” button.
  • Ensure the status is showing as connected.
  • Note down the wireless network name. This is the same network name you should use on your iPhone.
  • Check “Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar” option to Wi-Fi icon on the top menu bar.

Related: Fix Wi-Fi issues in Mac.

On the iPhone:

Go to “Settings > Wi-Fi” option on your iPhone.

  • First switch on W-Fi connection.
Enable WiFi in iPhone
Enable WiFi in iPhone
  • Search the same wireless network you have connected on the Mac and connect. If this the first time you are connecting, you need to enter the security key for joining the network. If you have already used the network then iPhone will automatically connect to the network.

Related: Fix Wi-Fi issues in iPhone.

If you are connected to the same wireless and face problems with continuity camera then try disconnecting the network and reconnect again. Sometimes this may help the function to work properly.

  • On Mac, you can click on the Wi-Fi icon on top menu bar and toggle the connection on or off.
  • On iPhone, you can swipe up to open Control Centre to toggle the connection. And if your iPhone has the 3D feature, force touch the settings icon to switch the Wi-Fi on or off.

2. Pair iPhone and Mac with Bluetooth

Similar to Wi-Fi, you need to switch on Bluetooth and pair the devices for using continuity camera feature.

To check the Bluetooth connection on your Mac, go to “Apple Menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth” and enable the connection.

Turn Bluetooth on and Pair iPhone
Turn Bluetooth on and Pair iPhone

Similarly on your iPhone, go to “Settings > Bluetooth” and enable the connection.

Enable Bluetooth in iPhone
Enable Bluetooth in iPhone

Sometimes the continuity feature works only when you pair the devices. Follow the instructions on this article on how to pair iPhone and Mac using Bluetooth. Now that you’re sure that your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are functioning correctly, try the continuity camera. If it’s not working, try the next solution.

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3. Sign into Same iCloud Account

Aside from having your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on, the Apple ID is another essential requirement for this feature. What do we mean, you ask? Like other continuity features, the continuity camera is supposed to move from your iPhone to your Mac seamlessly.

As such, you must sign into your iCloud account on your iPhone as well as your Mac. So, how do you know you’re signed in? Click on the Apple menu on your MacBook and select “System Preferences”. Next, select the iCloud option and sign in with your Apple ID. If you’re already signed in, you may have to sign out and sign in again.

Sign Out of iCloud Account
Sign Out of iCloud Account

The process is similar on your iPhone. Tap the “Settings” icon on the app tray and select your picture on the Settings page. Here, you can view all the devices that are logged in and using the same Apple ID.

First, ensure your MacBook name is listed on iPhone. Like the MacBook, you may need to also log in and out again on your phone. Now, you can use the continuity camera to scan your documents and take pictures. Remember to enable two-factor authentication in your Apple ID under “Password & Security” section.

What! Is it still not working? There are another solutions to consider.

Though sign out and signing in to your iCloud will help to use continuity camera feature, it will cause many other problems. Since iCloud is a synchronization feature, it will try re-synchronizing all your data between iPhone and MacBook. This is will be painful process especially if you have large amount of data with auto sync of folders. So use this signing out option as your last try if at all continuity camera feature is important for you. Otherwise for normal user iCloud account is more important than continuity features.

4. Delete Bluetooth Preferences File

Sometimes the corrupted Bluetooth connection may cause problems in connecting devices. The easiest way to resolve this problem is to delete the preferences file and Mac will generate a new file automatically. Go to “Finder” and click on “Go > Go to Folder” menu. Type ~/Library/Preferences/ and click “Go” button to open preferences folder.

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Go to Preferences Folder in Mac
Go to Preferences Folder in Mac

Find the file with the name “com.apple.BluetoothFileExchange.plist” and delete it. If you worried much, then simple rename it or backup to another location before deleting.

Now restart your Mac and connect to Bluetooth as explained above. Mac will regenerate a new plist file for Bluetooth. Also restart you iPhone and pair your Mac again. Check the continuity camera is working now.

5. Check The MacBook’s App

According to the official statement from Apple, the continuity camera feature is limited to some native Apple apps. These include; Finder, Numbers, Messages, Keynotes, Mail, Notes, TextEdit, and Pages. In other words, you are likely to experience issues when trying to use the feature on a third party app.

If that’s the case, we’re afraid there is no easy solution. You just have to wait for the vendor of the third party software to support the continuity camera feature or use the native ones.

6. Check Your Mac OS and iOS Version

Not only is the camera continuity feature limited to specific apps, but, the operating systems too. According to Apple, the feature is only available on macOS Mojave as well as iOS 12. So, it does not exist on older operating systems.

Consequently, older MacBook that can’t update to the recent macOS Mojave won’t have access to this feature. These include;

  • MacBook Pro 2012 or Later
  • MacBook Air and Mac mini 2011 or Later
  • iMac Pro and iMac 2011 or Later
  • MacBook 2008 or Later

Also, since iPhone 5 and lower did not get iOS 12 updates, you can’t use the feature on those Apple devices. The solution here is simple; upgrade your Apple devices or the Operating System.

Wrap Up

Continuity camera is a useful feature that provides a seamless experience between your iPhone and Mac. But, the experience is not always so great. Issues may arise that’ll prevent the camera continuity from functioning correctly. The ideal thing to do in such a situation is to check the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, as well as the Apple ID.

Now that you’ve fixed the continuity camera issue between your iPhone and Mac, the next step is to try it out. Tap your trackpad with two fingers and select the “Import from iPhone” option. You can either scan your document or take pictures from your iPhone.

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