How to Use Universal Control on Your Mac and iPad


Universal Control is one of the coolest software tricks Apple has come up with in years, and it’s a perfect example of what’s possible when a company has complete control over both hardware and the software that runs on these devices. There are similar concepts, like Logitech Flow, but nothing as refined or deeply integrated at the operating system level as Universal Control.

When using Universal Control, you can use your Mac’s keyboard and cursor to control an iPad sitting next to it – and the reverse scenario also works. If you have a Magic Keyboard for an iPad Pro, you can use that accessory’s keyboard and trackpad to control a Mac.

To use Universal Control, your Mac must be running macOS 12.3 or later, while your iPad must be on iPadOS version 15.4 or later. You can see which devices are supported at the bottom of this page.

Before using Universal Control, make sure your Mac and iPad are signed in with the same Apple ID. Devices must be within 30 feet of each other with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Handoff enabled. (Transfer can be enabled from the General section of Settings on macOS and iPadOS.) Up to three devices can be used with Universal Control.

How to Set Up Universal Control on a Mac

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. To choose Attach.
  3. Click on Universal control at the bottom of the Attach menu.
  4. Check the box for Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad.
  5. Check the box for Push through the edge of a screen to connect a nearby Mac or iPad.

Universal Control is still listed as a beta feature on macOS and iPadOS.

How to Set Up Universal Control on an iPad

  1. Open Settings.
  2. To choose General.
  3. To select AirPlay and transfer.
  4. To permit Cursor and keyboard.

Activating it on your Apple devices is easy.

How to start using Universal Control

  1. Once enabled on your Mac and iPad, place the two devices next to each other.
  2. Move the cursor past the left or right edge of your screen in the same direction as the iPad or Mac you want to connect with.
  3. You should see an animation on that other device showing your Mac’s cursor “pushing” across its screen. Keep moving your cursor in the same direction and Universal Control will be enabled.

Keep pushing the mouse cursor “through” the iPad to activate Universal Control.

How to make Universal Control work best

If your mouse doesn’t align where you want it to when moving between your Mac and your iPad (or another Mac), you can adjust the positioning of the secondary device in macOS System Preferences.

  1. Open System Preferences and click on Attach.
  2. Move the secondary iPad or Mac display up or down (or left to right and vice versa) until it’s exactly the way you want it.

You can adjust Universal Control the same way you would for a normal external monitor.

Once you’re ready, it’s time to start using Universal Control. You can use each device’s physical keyboard and cursor to control any connected Mac or iPad through Universal Control. It’s also possible to drag and drop files seamlessly between macOS and iPadOS.

Macs that support Universal Control

  • MacBook introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
  • Mac mini introduced in 2018 or later
  • iMac introduced in 2017 or later, plus iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, late 2015)
  • iMacPro
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019 or later
  • mac studio

iPad supporting Universal Control

  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad (6th generation) or later
  • iPad Air (3rd generation) or later
  • iPad mini (5th generation) or later

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