Sunday, September 24, 2023

Using Universal Control on your Mac and iPad

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Universal Control is one of the coolest software tricks Apple has come up with in years, and it’s a perfect example of what’s possible when a company has complete control over both the hardware and software running on those devices. There are similar concepts, such as Logitech Flow, but nothing is as polished or deeply integrated at the operating system level as Universal Control.

Using Universal Control, you can use your Mac’s keyboard and cursor to control an iPad next to it — and the opposite scenario also works. If you have a Magic Keyboard for an iPad Pro, you can use that accessory’s keyboard and trackpad to control a Mac.

To use Universal Control, your Mac must be running macOS 12.3 or later, while your iPad has iPadOS version 15.4 or later. At the bottom of this page you can see which devices are supported.

Before using Universal Control, make sure that both your Mac and iPad are signed in with the same Apple ID. The devices must be within 10 meters of each other with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Handoff enabled. (Handoff can be turned on from the General section of Settings on both macOS and iPadOS.) Up to three devices can be used with Universal Control.

Set up Universal Control on a Mac

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. To elect Displays
  3. click on Universal control at the bottom of the Displays menu.
  4. Check the box for Let your cursor and keyboard move between any nearby Mac or iPad
  5. Check the box for Push through the edge of a screen to connect a nearby Mac or iPad

Universal Control is still listed as a beta feature on both macOS and iPadOS.

Set up universal controls on an iPad

  1. Open Institutions
  2. To elect General
  3. Select AirPlay and Transfer
  4. Switch Cursor and keyboard

Enabling it on your Apple devices is easy.

How to use Universal Control?

  1. Once the feature is enabled on both your Mac and iPad, place the two devices side by side.
  2. Move the cursor along the left or right edge of your screen in the same direction as the iPad or Mac you want to connect to.
  3. You should see an animation on that other device showing your Mac’s cursor “pushing” the screen. Keep moving your cursor in the same direction and Universal Control will be activated.

Continue to push the mouse cursor “through” the iPad to activate Universal Control.

How Universal Control works best

If your mouse isn’t lined up where you want it to be while moving between your Mac and iPad (or another Mac), you can adjust the positioning of the secondary device in macOS System Preferences

  1. Open System Preferences and click Displays
  2. Move the iPad or secondary Mac screen up or down (or left to right and vice versa) until it’s just the way you want it.

You can adjust Universal Control in the same way as a normal external monitor.

When you’re all set, it’s time to start using Universal Control. You can use the physical keyboard and cursor of any device to control any Mac or iPad connected via Universal Control. It is also possible to seamlessly drag and drop files between macOS and iPadOS.

Macs that support Universal Control

  • MacBook introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
  • Mac mini introduced in 2018 or later
  • iMac introduced in 2017 or later, plus iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019 or later
  • Mac Studio

iPads that support Universal Control

  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad (6th generation) or later
  • iPad Air (3rd generation) or later
  • iPad mini (5th generation) or later


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