Apple Universal Control: The new feature is a lot of fun

Last year, Apple introduced a feature we’ve been waiting for: Universal Control. The NextPit team was able to test the universal control feature. Read on to find out how it works with iPad and MacBook.

What is Universal Control?

Important things first! Universal Control is a feature that allows you to control multiple iPads and Macs with one mouse, keyboard, and/or trackpad. You move the cursor and use the keyboard seamlessly between devices. The prerequisite for this is that all devices are registered with the same iCloud account.

As mentioned, the feature is only available on iPads and MacBooks. Therefore, it is not yet possible to use the function on the iPhone. The feature is enabled by default, so no configuration is required. However, for it to work, some requirements must be met:

  • Program Compatibility: iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 (currently in developer beta) or later.
  • A iCloud account: The devices must same iCloud account be registered.

If your devices meet the above conditions, you can use Universal Control to navigate between devices and improve the experience on both iPad and Mac.

Apple iPad Pro from 2021, 11 inches, for 839.99 euros

Apple iPad Minis from 2021, 8.3 inches, for 549 euros

Apple MacBook Pro 2021 14-inch 512GB for €2,119

How does Universal Control work?

We were able to test Universal Control on the 2019 iPad Pro, 2021 iPad mini, MacBook Pro 14”, and an additional Samsung display. As peripherals, we use Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse. In our mini test video you can see how easy and practical the “Universal Control” function is:

As you can see, moving the cursor between devices is very easy. One thing we did notice: the cursor design changes when used on iPad and Mac. It’s good to see that Apple hasn’t designed a new icon for this, but instead keeps the original format for each platform.

Apple Magic Keyboard for 94.90 euros

Apple Magic Mouse for 74.90 euros

The highlight of this feature is dragging and dropping photos and files between devices without having to share them first. You can also interact with different applications by sliding your finger across the screen; plus launch apps with Spotlight and stream videos and music with a few mouse clicks. In other words, it is a useful tool for using the Apple ecosystem.

I would really like to have this feature enabled on my iPhone as well so that I can quickly interact between my MacBook and my phone. However, the feature is not currently available there.

How do I turn universal control on or off?

If you can’t get used to the feature, you probably want to know if and how you can disable the feature. The good news is that you can do this in no time:

  • On iPad: Call Settings app > General > AirPlay & Handoff > Cursor & keyboard” in.
  • On the Mac: You can find the Universal Control settings in the “System Settings” > “display”.

If you’re in Settings anyway, let’s make sure you’re getting the most out of Universal Control on your devices! Here are some changes I’ve made to help you get the most out of this feature:

  • Let your cursor move to any nearby Mac or iPad: Allows you to use the cursor and keyboard on any nearby Mac or iPad that is signed in to the same iCloud account.
  • Slide the edge of the screen to connect to a nearby Mac or iPad: If you activate this option, you can connect the cursor to a nearby Mac or iPad by sliding it to the edge of the screen.
  • Automatically reconnect to nearby Macs or iPads: If you enable this option, your Mac will automatically connect to any nearby Mac or iPad that you’ve previously connected to.

That’s all we know about the Universal Control feature so far. Personally, I hope to get more done using this feature on a daily basis. Mainly because I can now easily use an iPad as a true second screen. Also, my desk will be much neater since my second screen is basically the size of my MacBook monitor. If you also appreciate the teachings of Marie Condo, you know how important it is to have things that bring joy!

What do you think of Apple’s “Universal Control” feature? Are you already using them? Or do you handle yourself differently? Let us know what you think in the comments.