Universal Control: Everything You Need to Know

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Universal Control streamlines multi-device workspaces by allowing you to use the same peripherals across multiple Macs and iPads. With Universal Control, you can use your main Mac’s trackpad and keyboard to control additional Macs and/or iPads nearby, so you don’t need a desk cluttered up with more than one set of input devices.

Working

  • Universal Control is a system-level feature that is designed to work automatically when a Mac running ‌macOS Monterey‌ 12.3 or later is paired with another Mac also with macOS 12.3 or an iPad running iPadOS 15.4. There is no setup for Universal Control – it works right after updating to the latest operating system updates.
  • To use Universal Control, sign into a Mac and an ‌iPad‌ or another Mac with the same Apple ID and then place them near each other. From there, use the trackpad on one of your devices to navigate the cursor to the screen of your other device. It should pop right over from one display to the next.
  • Each individual device will still be running its respective operating system (macOS on the Mac and iPadOS on the ‌iPad‌) but you won’t need to bring in an extra keyboard or mouse if you want to work with multiple devices side by side. If you’re having trouble getting Universal Control working, make sure to restart both of your devices after installing the updates.
  • The drag and drop feature also allows you to quickly take photos you took or drawings you created on your iPad and quickly bring them to edit on your MacBook. Users will also be able to use the MacBook keyboard and trackpad gestures on an iPad via Universal Control.

If you go to System Preferences -> Displays -> Universal Control, you can find some customization options for Universal Control, two of which are already turned on.

  • Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad – This setting toggles Universal Control on or off. If you don’t want to use Universal Control, uncheck this box. It is turned on by default when you upgrade to ‌macOS Monterey‌ 12.3.
  • Push through the edge of a display to connect to a nearby Mac or iPad – Also enabled by default, this setting lets your Mac automatically connect to a nearby Mac or ‌iPad‌ by pushing the trackpad or mouse cursor to the edge of the display toward the other device.
  • Automatically reconnect to any nearby Mac or iPad – This setting is not enabled by default, but it is designed to allow your Mac to reconnect to any nearby Mac or ‌iPad‌ without having to push the cursor over toward the secondary device.

The Displays section of the Mac’s System Preferences can also be useful if you want to rearrange how your devices are laid out to make sure Universal Control is operating as intended. If your ‌iPad‌ is to the left of your Mac, for example, you’ll want to make sure the Displays section shows that arrangement so your Mac’s cursor can pop over to the ‌iPad‌’s display when you pop it off of the left edge of the Mac’s screen