How Universal Control on iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 works

Posted:
in macOS edited June 19
Announced at WWDC 2021, Universal Control is an upcoming feature that allows a user to work across multiple Apple devices with a single keyboard and cursor and allows for effortless drag and drop. Here's how it works, and what you need.

How Universal Control on iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 works


Universal Control is a planned feature iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. It allows users to put three Apple devices in closes proximity, and use that single keyboard and mouse or trackpad. Once associated, a user can easily drag and drop files between devices and switch between them as needed.

By placing a second device near a compatible Mac, you will be able to pair your devices together via Continuity features in the AirPlay & Handoff section under your Mac's settings.

A gray bar will appear on the side of paired devices. By dragging your cursor from one screen to another, you can "hand off" your keyboard and mouse control to another device. This can be especially useful for dragging documents, files, and images between devices.

Apple says the devices are using proximity to determine which device a user wants to connect. The user's behavior will select on which side of the display the additional computer has been placed. This orientation can be controlled in the Monitors control pane, but to what extent isn't quite clear yet -- and the feature is not yet live in the betas.

The devices connect via a direct Wi-Fi signal. The UI of dragging objects across devices disguises the fact you're performing a simple AirDrop, but the result is the same.

Apple devices that support Universal Control on iPadOS 15 and macOS 12

Supported Macs
  • MacBook (2016 onward)

  • MacBook Air (2016 onward)

  • MacBook Pro (2016 onward)

  • iMac (2017 onward)

  • iMac Pro

  • Mac mini (2018 onward)

  • Mac Pro
Supported iPads
  • iPad mini (fifth-generation and onward)

  • iPad (sixth-generation and onward)

  • iPad Air (third-generation and onward

  • iPad Pro
Users will need to be signed onto all devices via iCloud with the same Apple ID. Devices will need to have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on, and must be within 30 feet of each other, according to ComputerWorld.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,035member
    At least this is more useful than the TouchStrip.
    MplsP
  • Reply 2 of 9
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    This article has been up for nearly an hour, and there are barely any comments. I don't sense a lot of excitement about this feature. I'm surprised iOS isn't welcome to the party, because mouse support for iOS was added last year, wasn't it? Was it just an aesthetic decision to exclude iOS devices?
  • Reply 3 of 9
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,432member
    I’m extremely excited about this feature… and Macs finally being able to be used as an Airplay target!!!
    williamlondonseanjStrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 9
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,830member
    This article has been up for nearly an hour, and there are barely any comments. I don't sense a lot of excitement about this feature. I'm surprised iOS isn't welcome to the party, because mouse support for iOS was added last year, wasn't it? Was it just an aesthetic decision to exclude iOS devices?
    It's definitely worth getting excited about. It's a very convenient feature if long overdue (competitors really began pushing this concept a while ago). It's something that users will make good use of, is basically 'invisible' and should be intuitive, too.

    There's little not to like. 
    willettseanj
  • Reply 5 of 9
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,398member
    This is how it’s operated (which we saw in the keynote), plus some requirements; not “how it works”.

    I assume they’re struggling to make it work, which is why it’s not even going to be available in the first release. Or is it only missing in the first beta, but planned for a first release?
    williamlondonCortoMaltesedarkvader
  • Reply 6 of 9
    The 'Flow" feature from Logitech do this since a while. I actually have the function installed with 3 computers (2 PC and 1 Macbook) and it works very well. The keyboard and the mouse must be from the MX Master series 3. And you can enable the function by bluetooth or with the unifying dongle. The keyboard works with the computer on which the mouse is focused, all is automatic. Copy paste works very well. Only condition : being on the same network... and the Mac version of the keyboard is better even if you dont have a Mac !!
  • Reply 7 of 9
    This article has been up for nearly an hour, and there are barely any comments. I don't sense a lot of excitement about this feature. I'm surprised iOS isn't welcome to the party, because mouse support for iOS was added last year, wasn't it? Was it just an aesthetic decision to exclude iOS devices?
    I guess its a nice evolution of integration of their operating systems. 
    The irony is that the more they integrate, the more the differences create confusion.
    dedicated input devices.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    Five days and I see only 10 posts. I guess my comment about people not being excited about this has been validated.

    I'm not saying that I'm not excited.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    XedXed Posts: 983member
    Five days and I see only 10 posts. I guess my comment about people not being excited about this has been validated.

    I'm not saying that I'm not excited.
    Your assumptions are incorrect. There isn't much in the article in which to create a discussion and with only one commenter making stupid statement there isn't much to comment about in the thread. You'll see more once we get videos demoing the full range of this new feature.
    williamlondon
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