Mac, iPad and Universal Control from Apple – my tip for week 12

macOS Feature Universal Control

Apple introduced the "Universal Control" feature at a keynote on macOS Monterey. But since it wasn't available immediately after the release of the operating system, I had lost sight of it again. Until the day before yesterday I suddenly lost my mouse pointer. But let's start at the beginning.

What is "universal control"?

With the feature "Universal control" - here found at Apple - you can operate Mac and iPad together with just one keyboard and a trackpad or mouse.

So, with the same keyboard I use on the Mac, I can quickly switch to the iPad and search for something in Netflix or type something in WhatsApp for iPad and switch straight back to the Mac. Sound practical? It is! Even so practical that the feature my Pick of the week has become.

The "Universal Controls" feature, which Apple added in a macOS Monterey update, is extremely useful when working on the Mac and iPad at the same time.

The "Universal Controls" feature, which Apple added in a macOS Monterey update, is extremely useful when working on the Mac and iPad at the same time.

Why my mouse pointer disappeared...

I "found" the feature because I was working on the Mac. While working, I sometimes watch YouTube or Netflix on my iPad Pro, which is below my monitor.

So I was working and was hovering over my Mac desktop when the mouse pointer suddenly disappeared. To find him, I mostly use the quick back and forth wiggle, which briefly enlarges the mouse pointer so that it can be discovered more quickly. But still: No mouse pointer to be found...

It wasn't until I was moving the mouse in all directions like crazy that I noticed a dot on my iPad moving. Lo and behold, the dot did exactly what I did with the mouse... very odd.

The iPad can be added as an additional display in the display settings.

The iPad can be added as an additional display in the display settings.

Apple Universal Control is active

After a few seconds of pondering, it occurred to me that Apple introduced such a feature. And sure enough, there was an area on the left side of my Mac monitor that was kind of the transition to the iPad.

I was able to leave the monitor with the mouse pointer on the left and then the mouse pointer appeared on the right in my iPad display. And as soon as the mouse pointer was on the iPad, the keystrokes also landed on the iPad.

Change the arrangement of the iPad and Mac monitor

Now that I've been actively using Apple's new "Universal Controls" feature without even realizing it, I wanted to at least correct the arrangement of the iPad and Mac, because my iPad is below the Mac monitor.

This arrangement can be changed under System Settings → Displays. You may have to activate the iPad under "Add display", because that's how it was for me. Then the iPad appears in the window and you can change the arrangement.

Small problem that still has to be corrected by Apple: when the iPad goes to sleep, the Mac forgets this display again and the arrangement is reset again. For me, the transition from Mac to iPad is always right or left, but never down. It would be great if the Mac could remember the position of the iPad. But I think that's to come once this feature leaves beta status.

The way to arrange Mac and iPad can be found under System Preferences and then Displays.

The way to arrange Mac and iPad can be found under System Preferences and then Displays.

Make settings for "Universal Control".

If you want to make further settings for the "Universal Control" feature, go to Control Panel → Displays → "Universal Control" button.

There are these options:

  • Allow your cursor to move to any nearby Mac or iPad.
  • Swipe off the edge of the screen to connect to a nearby Mac or iPad.
  • Automatically reconnect to nearby Macs or iPads.

I checked all three options on mine. The prerequisite for using "Universal Control" is that you are connected to all devices with the same Apple account.

The settings for the Universal Control clearly shows that this is still a beta version of the feature.

The settings for the Universal Control clearly shows that this is still a beta version of the feature.

If you have Mac and iPad and haven't tried the feature yet, I highly recommend it. I use it every day now. Maybe for you soon too?

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