Thursday, Feb 03, 2022, 15:09 Mac: Software

What Is Universal Control? Video Provides Detailed Introduction To New Mac/iPad Feature

"Universal Control" was one of the high points of last year's WWDC Keynote. However, those who were hoping for the feature to witness a release shortly after its presentation found themselves disappointed. It wasn't until the fourth beta of macOS Monterey that users were able to test the new feature out – and then Apple removed the wireless control feature from both macOS and iPad OS, promising a release in the fall of 2021 or spring of 2022. Now it appears as if the wait for Universal Control may finally be over. The beta phases for macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4 have seen the feature's return. MacRumors recently dedicated an entire video detailing the possibilities and limitations of the new software implement.

Activating Universal Control In The System Settings
For users to try out Universal Control, they will – of course, need to have the most recent beta for macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4 installed on compatible devices. On Mac, the feature can be found under "Displays" in the System Preferences, whereas the System Settings app has to be accessed on iPad – where the feature can be found under "General" > "AirPlay & Handoff". As is standard for new features in a beta – activation is met with the following warning sign:



Source: MacRumors

Thanks to Universal Control, usage of 3 Apple devices at once is made considerably easier and more efficient. The mouse pointer is capable of wandering free of pauses and interruptions from device display to device display and data is swiftly transferrable via a simple click and drag of a mouse.

Source: MacRumors via YouTube

Limitations Of Universal Control
The video shows off the simultaneous, impressive usage of the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro together. The "shared" mouse pointer is movable via the notebook's trackpad just as with the Magic Keyboard's trackpad which is connected to the tablet. Even keyboard inputs are recognized mutually – however, there are some limitations: Some things such as the typical mousepad gestures that many Mac users are familiar with are not executable on the iPad. If the user drags a file from the Mac to the iPad for wireless transfer, they have to place it in the designated app for doing so. Files of screenshots taken on the Mac desktop will not show up on the iPad home screen, which is exclusively reserved for apps and widgets.

It's still unclear when we will see a final release of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3. However, it's possible that avid users will still have to be a little bit patient. In addition to the software requirements, there are also several hardware requirements – only the following Macs are compatible:

  • MacBook (2016 and newer)
  • MacBook Air (2018 and newer)
  • MacBook Pro (2016 and newer)
  • iMac (2017 and newer)
  • iMac 5K Retina, 27" (Late 2015)
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac mini (2018 and newer)
  • Mac Pro (2019)

Prospective users of the new feature will also need an iPad with the required hardware, the following are compatible:

  • iPad (2018 and newer)
  • iPad mini (2019 and newer)
  • iPad Air (2019 and newer)
  • iPad Pro (all models)

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