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How to use Universal Control on Macs and iPads

Now everyone you can learn how to use Universal Control on Mac and iPad to harmonize Apple’s larger screens. Universal Control, first unveiled at WWDC 2021 last June, didn’t arrive in 2021 alongside the macOS 12 Monterey and iPadOS 15 releases. Universal Control is now available on the latest version of Apple’s software: macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4. , which was released today (March 14). ).

Universal Control first came to iPad and Mac in developer betas released on January 27, and is now available to everyone. And now that we’ve had time to try it out, we have to applaud Apple. We didn’t want to wait that long, but wow! Universal Control is definitely worth the wait. Especially if you don’t have a multi-monitor setup.

So we’ve walked through the testing process and can now walk you through the steps of using Universal Control, as well as share tips to get the most out of it.

Before we dive in, let’s talk about how this feature makes iPads better than ever. Although you’ve been able to use your iPad as a second monitor for a while now, that’s even cooler. Why? Because now the keyboard and mouse you use on one of these devices work on the other. This way you can (as I tested) have your iPad Pro next to your MacBook Pro and only use one of the keyboards and trackpads to operate both. You can even copy and paste across multiple devices.

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How to use Universal Control on Mac and iPad

1. Make sure you have a compatible Mac and iPad. These are the compatible devices:

  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
  • iMac introduced in 2017 or later, or iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
  • iMacPro
  • Mac mini introduced in 2018 or later
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019
  • iPad Pro: all models
  • iPad (6th generation) or newer
  • iPad mini (5th generation) or newer
  • iPad Air (3rd generation) or newer

2. Update macOS to Monterey 12.3 on your Mac. Open System Preferences, click Software Update, and follow the instructions.

macOS 12.3 download started at Software Update

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Update iPadOS to iPadOS 15.4 on your iPad. Open Settings, tap General, tap Software Update, and follow the instructions.

The iPadOS 15.4 download screen in Settings

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Make sure you’re signed in with the same Apple ID on your iPad and Mac.

A macOS system preferences window with the user's Apple ID highlighted

An iPadOS system preferences window with the user's Apple ID highlighted

An iPad Pro and a MacBook Pro side by side

(Image credit: Future)

6. On your Mac, move the cursor to the edge of the screen near your iPad and move the cursor “off screen” as if you were going to “jump” onto the iPad.

Cursor going from MacBook Pro to iPad Pro using Universal Control

(Image credit: Future)

Ta-da, you use Universal Control on macOS and iPadOS!

Universal Control demonstrated on iPad Pro and MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of its use, apart from the usefulness of controlling both devices with the same keyboard and the same mouse or trackpad, you can also copy and paste content on multiple devices. This way it’s even more like the devices are unified!

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