What is Apple Universal Control and how does it work?
This page was translated using AI and machine learning.
(Pocket-lint) – At WWDC 2021 last summer, Apple previewed a new feature for Mac and iPad called Universal Control. The developers are currently testing the feature, which will let you seamlessly control multiple Apple devices – including an iMac, MacBook and iPad – all with the same keyboard and mouse.
Universal Control will be available to the public through the upcoming software updates for iPadOS and macOS Monterey. All before H you need to know about it.
What is Universal Control?
Apple is updating its continuity system with Universal Control. It lets you work with just one mouse and keyboard and switch from Mac to iPad for a smooth experience, no configuration required. You can drag and drop content between devices, with your mouse moving across all of their screens as if they were connected.
When will Universal Control be available?
The long-awaited feature is now available for testing through the iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 betas for developers only.
Apple originally planned to release Universal Control last fall, but it missed that release window. It is now expected this spring and the fact that it’s available in beta is a good indication that it might actually be out soon – perhaps with the official release of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 to the public.
If you install the iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 betas, you’ll see three options for Universal Control labeled with beta tags.
How does Universal Control work?
As Universal Control is not officially available, everything described below is subject to change.
No configuration required
Apple showcased Universal Control at WWDC 2021. Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi showed how he could use Universal Control to put the finishing touches on a Procreate illustration on his iPad, then switch to a presentation on his MacBook. All he did was put his iPad next to his Mac. Without any further configuration, Federighi touched his MacBook’s trackpad and moved the cursor to his iPad, then the iPad automatically recognized it. Cared for!
Although Apple has stated that no setup is required, your Apple devices will likely need to be registered to the same Apple ID and operating on the same network. We’re also guessing the ability to disable Universal Control will also be buried under your Continuity settings. We’ll let you know as we learn more.
Control your devices with a single trackpad and keyboard
During Federighi’s presentation, his MacBook’s cursor completely switched from his laptop to the iPad screen. He could then use the cursor to control the tablet.
He also demonstrated moving the cursor back and forth effortlessly between the two devices. Again, using only his MacBook trackpad, he clicked and closed a Procreate document on his iPad and flicked through it to return to his iPad home screen. It even slipped between app pages. Federighi could also control his iPad with the MacBook’s built-in keyboard. He opened Spotlight, then typed Notes to open that app. He then used the Command tab to switch back to Procreate.
Finally, Federighi demonstrated how he could drag and drop files between devices. He took a drawing in Procreate on his Pad and came across an opening note on his Mac.
Universal Control works with more than two devices
One of the coolest parts of Universal Control is that you can use it with multiple Macs and iPads – not just two. During Federighi’s presentation, he showed how Universal Control can work on an iMac, MacBook, and iPad simultaneously. Using the MacBook’s keyboard and trackpad, he controlled his nearby iMac. He also switched to using the iMac’s keyboard and mouse. With these, he dragged an image of text into Procreate on his iPad on all three devices to Final Cut on his iMac.
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Which Apple devices offer Universal Control?
When Universal Control becomes available, it will work on any Mac capable of running macOS Monterey and any iPad capable of running iPadOS 15.4.
To find out if your devices will be eligible, check out our guides:
Want to know more?
Written by Maggie Tillman.