How to Set Up and Use Universal Control on Mac and iPad

A lot of exciting things were announced at WWDC 21 last year. While the stars of the show were the new iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey, there was something else that fascinated users around the world. Featured as Universal Control, it showcased an incredible ability to handle multiple devices at the same time. But what exactly is it and how do you use it now that it’s gone? Learn all this and more as we show you how to set up and use Universal Control on your Apple devices.

How to Set Up and Use Universal Control (2022)

As I show you how to install Universal Control, I’ll start with the article what it is and how it works. If you prefer to just jump into the process, use the chart below to do so.

What is Universal Control?

Universal Control, awaited since WWDC 21, is a feature from Apple. one to use the cursor and keyboard of an Apple device like a Mac to control others like an iPad. So users with an iPad and Mac can effectively use a single device’s hardware to seamlessly control both. But what makes it special is the extended functionality.

Besides dragging a single cursor between multiple devices, easily drag and drop media and files from one device to another. Universal Control provides this drag and drop transfer for all file types and supports Mac to iPad and vice versa.

Source: Apple

E.g – You want to transfer a particular project file from your iPad to your MacBook Pro without major processing. All you have to do is take your Mac’s cursor to your iPad and drag the file back to the Mac. The file will be transferred immediately and ready to use on your MacBook.

However, there are some caveats to this Universal Control as of now. You cannot drag and drop files from your Mac to your iPad’s home screen. Instead, you’ll need to import it inside a supported iPad app. However, since this feature is in Beta, we can expect updates soon.

How does it work?

While Apple hasn’t provided an explanation of how Universal Control works, there’s a chance it’s working over a single connection. Since this feature works like a tether connecting all devices, it would make sense for all devices to be linked together over a seamless network connection. Also, all devices must be signed into the same iCloud account for maximum compatibility. Once done, Universal Control connects all devices in an installation and allows them to be controlled simultaneously.

The best thing about Universal Control is the ability to use it on multiple devices at once. During WWDC 21, Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, successfully used this feature to drag and drop a file from an iPad and MacBook, as you can see above. Therefore, you can rest assured that you can continue to use Universal Control with: up to three of your devices easily.

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Can I Even Use iPad Shortcuts?

yes you can. Apple’s Universal Control fully supports iPad shortcuts using a Mac keyboard. So you can easily perform keyboard shortcuts on your iPad using your Mac.

iPad keyboard shortcuts for Universal Control

Go ahead and multitask on your iPad while working on your Mac at the same time. However, most of the iPad hotkeys ‘Emoji/FnPress the ‘ key instead of the command key on the Mac keyboard, so keep that in mind before trying this. Here are the iPad keyboard shortcuts you can use:

  • Emoji/Fn + H: Go to home screen
  • Command + Space: Spotlight search
  • Command + Tab: Switch between apps
  • Emoji/Fn + A: Show Dock
  • Shift + Emoji/Fn + A: Show Application Library
  • Emoji/Fn + S: quick note
  • Emoji/Fn + S: Siri
  • Emoji/Fn + C: Control Center
  • Emoji/Fn + N: Notification Center
  • Emoji/Fn + M: Show keyboard shortcuts
  • Emoji/Fn + Up Arrow: Application Switcher
  • Emoji/Fn + Left Arrow: previous application

What You Need to Set Up Universal Control

Have you already gathered your Apple devices to try? Keep your cursors a little longer as you tell them what you’ll need to achieve Universal Control. Be sure to remove the following from your list before continuing.

1. macOS Monterey 12.3

The new Universal Control feature is currently only available in developer and public beta versions. Therefore, you will need to download and install the latest version macOS 12.3 Monterey public beta. However, we have made it easy for you. Learn how to download and install the macOS Monterey public beta here. When finished, return to this article.

2. iPadOS 15.4

The second piece of this puzzle, the public beta version of iPadOS 15.4, was recently released by Apple. As before, you will need to download and install this before pairing it for Universal Control. Learn how to download and install iPadOS 15 by following our iOS guide. Don’t worry as the steps stay the same.

3. Devices in the Same iCloud Account

both of your devices. signed in to the same iCloud account. You will also need WiFi to have it turned on. While Universal Control works with Bluetooth turned off, we noticed a slight drop in performance when used this way.

How to Set Up and Use Universal Control on Your Mac and iPad

If you have already installed the public betas above, Universal Control is enabled by default and is already running. However, if not, or if you want to change some settings, follow these steps for both devices to get started:

How to Set Up Universal Control on Mac

1. On your Mac, click Apple icon in menu bar in the upper left corner of the screen. Click System Preferences from the list that appears.

open system preferences in macOS

2. Click images From the System Preferences window that opens.

tab mac images

3. Click Further To open Universal Control’s settings.

advanced display settings

4. Check the following boxes to fully enable Universal Control: “Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any Mac or iPad nearby”, “Push from the edge of the screen to connect a nearby Mac or iPad”, and “Auto-reconnect” any nearby Mac or iPad’.

Universal control settings on Mac

How to Set Up Universal Control on iPad

1. Tap . Settings application on your iPad.

iPad Settings app

2. From the displayed sidebar general Tap on the tab and then tap on Airplay and Handoff from the visible window.

Go to AirPlay and Handoff settings on iPad

3. Click the toggle button that appears next to it. Cursor and Keyboard (Beta) To turn on Universal Control

Install Universal Control on iPad

And you’re done! Universal Control is now ready to use on both your devices. Place them side by side and use the trackpad from both devices and drag them towards the other to use! If you find it still not working, restart both your Mac and iPad; The problem should be fixed immediately.

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How to Set or Disable Universal Control on Mac

If you like universal control but want to change the alignment or layout of devices, this is very easy to do. If you don’t like Universal Control in any way, you can also follow the steps below to disable it.

1. On your Mac apple menu bar in the upper left corner of the screen. From the list that appears, click on it. System Preferences.

Open system preferences in macOS

2. Click images From the System Preferences window that opens.

System preferences in macOS 12.3 Monterey

3. Here you can rearrange the screens to your liking. simply drag and drop them will be made according to your own arrangement and immediately. Users who want to disable Universal Control, click Image settings will be directed to the next screen.

screen settings

4. Click on Advanced in the sidebar if not done yet and then uncheck the following to turn Universal Control off. ‘Let your cursor and keyboard move between any Mac or iPad nearby‘,’Push from the edge of the screen to connect a nearby Mac or iPad‘, and ‘Automatically reconnect to any nearby Mac or iPad‘.

Universal control settings on Mac

And you are ready. Feel free to revert to these settings if you feel that the arrangement is not quite right or if you change your mind about Universal Control.


Q. Can I use Universal Control on iPhone?

Unfortunately, Universal Control is only available on macOS and iPadOS devices. Therefore, you cannot use Universal Control on iPhone.

Q. Does Universal Control work with Intel Macs?

Yes, Universal Control works with some recent Intel MacBooks and iMacs.

Q. What devices does Universal Control support?

List of devices supporting Universal Control:

  • MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
  • MacBook (2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 and later)
  • 21-inch iMac (2017 and later)
  • 27-inch iMac (2015 and later)
  • 24-inch iMac
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro
  • Mac mini (2018 and later)
  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (6th generation and above)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and above)

Q. How many devices can I use with Universal Control?

You can have up to three devices working with Universal Control at the same time. This can include both Macs and iPads.

Using a Single Keyboard and Mouse with Multiple Mac and iPad Devices

Universal Control is a really impressive feature that makes it very easy to control multiple Apple devices with a single set of keyboard and mouse. Along with the ability to seamlessly drag and drop files between devices, Universal Control is definitely a feature that showcases the strengths of the Apple ecosystem.

So did you use Universal Control? Did you like it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Moyens Staff
Moyens I/O Staff has motivated you, giving you tips on technology, personal development, lifestyle and strategies that will help you.