Everything you need to know about Universal Control

Universal Control has been the most exciting feature of macOS Monterey since it was first announced by Apple in June 2021. Nine months later, Universal Control is finally coming to Macs and iPads.

What is Universal Control for Mac?

Universal Control is one of eight iOS 15 features that were missing at launch.

Universal Control will let you use the same keyboard and mouse for all the Macs and iPads you’re working on. All you have to do to switch devices is move the pointer until it crosses the edge of the screen. The new feature also makes it extremely easy to copy content between devices using drag and drop.

Universal Control builds on the Continuity features Apple added years ago that made it easy to move from one device to another seamlessly. Then with Catalina in 2019 came Sidecar, which made it easy to use an iPad as an additional display for your Mac.

But Universal Control goes a step further than Sidecar did: Instead of turning your iPad screen into a secondary Mac display, Universal Control will keep iPadOS on iPad, so you can interact between the two devices, instead of of using the iPad (or the second Mac) as an extension of the first Mac.

Is Universal Control available?

Universal Control arrived on March 14, 2022 for macOS 12.3 or iPadOS 15.4.

Universal Control Compatibility

Universal Control will not work with all Macs or iPads. If you want to operate multiple Macs and iPads with a single keyboard, mouse, and trackpad you’ll need a recent Mac and iPad, both devices will need to be signed in to the same Apple ID, you’ll also need two-factor authentication, and you’ll need to be running macOS 12.3 or iPadOS 15.4.

Your devices must be less than 10 meters apart and on the same Wi-Fi network.

Universal control

Compatible Macs are:

  • MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
  • MacBook (2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 and later)
  • 21.5-inch iMac (2017 and later)
  • 27-inch iMac (2015 and later)
  • 24-inch iMac
  • iMacPro
  • Mac mini (2018 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2019)

Compatible iPads include:

  • iPadPro
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (6th generation and later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

This means that if your Mac is from 2015 or earlier it’s not a feature you’ll be able to enjoy (unless you have a 27-inch iMac from that era).

Does Universal Control work with Intel Macs?

Universal Control will work with some recent Intel Macs.

Does Universal Control work with iPhone?

Universal Control only connects Mac and iPad, not iPhone. The iPhone isn’t really suited to being used as an additional display in this type of setup.

How many devices can be linked with Universal Control?

Up to three devices can be linked in this way.

How to use Universal Remote

To enable Universal Control on your Mac (on macOS 12.3) you can go to ‘System Preferences > Displays’.

Or you can go to ‘System Preferences > General > AirPlay & Handoff > Cursor & Keyboard’.

You’ll need to place the iPad and Mac in close proximity (although the range is apparently 10 meters, the Bluetooth range).

Now when you get to the edge of the screen on one of the devices, your mouse will switch to the other screen and you can type with your keyboard on the secondary device.

Original article published in English at Macworld UK.