Universal Control For Macs: Everything You Need to Know

Mike Ortega

iOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 (in beta mode) have universal control features. I’ve been waiting for this feature for a long time. You can control several macs and iPad with a single trackpad, keyboard, and mouse.

Macbook proPhoto by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

What is universal control?

Universal control allows the user to work with flexibility, where he can control both MacBook and iPad with the same trackpad or keyboard. 

You don’t need to buy multiple peripherals for each apple device. I’m excited to use this feature because I am already using apple environment as a content creator.

The bottom line is, if you have more than one Apple device, then the universal control feature is for you.

How does universal control work?

  1. You need to check whether your iPad is running on ipadOS 15 and Macbook has macOS 12.3. There is not any special setup for the universal control.
  2. You need to login into both devices with the same apple IDs, after that cursor of your trackpad should automatically reflect on both devices at a time.

What are universal control requirements?

As already mentioned, you need to update your iPad and MacBook to macOS Monterey 12.3 to use universal control.

following devices support universal control: 

  • MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
  • MacBook (2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 and later)
  • iMac (2017 and later)
  • ‌iMac‌ (5K Retina 27-inch, Late 2015)
  • ‌iMac‌ Pro, Mac mini (2018 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2019)
  • All ‌iPad Pro‌ models
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • ‌iPad‌ (6th generation and later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

both devices must be signed with the same Apple ID. Currently, ‌macOS Monterey‌ and iPadOS 15.4 are available for developers and public beta testers.

Your devices must be kept within a 30 feet distance to use the universal control feature.

what can you do with universal control? 

  1. You can navigate all devices which are connected with universal control. i.e. browser and copy-pasting of the files can be done with a single click.
  2. You can use the single keyboard to write notes on safari. You can type your text on all devices using a single keyboard.

How to customize or disable universal control

If you want to customize your universal control, go to System Preferences -> Displays -> Display Settings- > Advanced. You’ll get a customization option for universal control.

What is the difference between the sidecar and universal control?

Using sidecar you can use your macOS both on MacBook and iPad when connected. Universal control is simply controlling multiple devices using a single keyboard and mouse.

Both sidecar and universal control don’t work at a time. When you use universal control, then the sidecar got disabled and the same thing happens when you turn on the sidecar.

The funny thing about universal control is it can’t be used without MacBook. If you have two iPads without Mac, then you can’t use universal control. If you have a MacBook and iPad or 2 MacBooks, then it is possible to use universal control. Also, universal control is not available for iPhones.

If you work on multiple devices, then the universal control feature is for you. currently, you can use it, if you are a beta tester or developer. It’s the best feature for graphic designers and video editors. This feature provides you with work flexibility and convenience.

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My name is Mike Ortega, writer and software engineer. I write about self-development, startups and history. I like solo travelling and travelled to 20 countries so far.

New York State

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