How to Use Universal Control for Mac and iPad

How to Use Universal Control for Mac and iPad

The latest productivity feature to finally arrive for Macs and iPads, Universal Control can be a real game-changer. This function allows you to use a single keyboard and trackpad or mouse with multiple Macs and iPads. There’s no need to change which device your keyboard, trackpad, or mouse are paired with; it’s all seamless. Let’s explore how to use Universal Control.

Limited to More Current Macs and iPads

As previously discussed, this new feature isn’t available for older Mac computers or iPads. However, if your devices were released in 2016 or later, they should support Universal Control.

To get started, make sure the following is true for any devices you want to use with Universal Control:

You can find Handoff on macOS inSystem Preferences > General > Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices. On your iPad, the setting is found inSettings > General > AirPlay & Handoff.

Use Universal Control to Share Your Input Devices Between Mac and iPad

Now you should be ready to enable and start using Universal Control. On your Mac, go toSystem Preferences > Displays > Universal Control. SelectAllow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad. You can leave the other two options enabled, for now.

Next, on your iPad, navigate toSettings > General > AirPlay & Handoff, and enableCursor and Keyboard. Once that’s done, you’ll be ready to connect your devices.

This should be simple. Just bring the two devices close to one another, ideally within about 3 feet of each other. Make sure each device is awake and unlocked, and use your mouse or trackpad to move the cursor beyond the left or right edge of your display. If your iPad’s to the left of your display, move the cursor past the left edge. Got your iPad to the right? Move the cursor beyond the right edge of the display.

How to Use Universal Control for Mac and iPad

You’ll see on your iPad the cursor starting to “push through” to its screen. Keep moving the cursor all the way through, and you’ll have the devices linked. If that doesn’t work, keep reading.

Customize Your Display Layout

On your primary Mac, you can arrange the displays to adjust where your devices think they are positioned, relative to everything else. This allows you to fine-tune which direction you need to move the cursor to switch devices.

On the primary Mac, go toSystem Preferences > Displays. If you don’t see your iPad or other Mac, clickAdd Displayin the bottom left corner and choose the missing device.

You can then drag the device images around to reposition them left, right, or below one another.

Using Your Keyboard, Mouse, or Trackpad Between Devices

When you move the cursor to your iPad, it becomes a dot to represent the tip of your finger. Using your mouse or trackpad, either click or click and hold like you would otherwise use your finger. Various trackpad gestures will also work on iPad, along with these special actions:

To switch to using your iPad’s onscreen keyboard, tap or click the keyboard icon on the iPad screen. Whenever you start typing on your physical keyboard again, it will take over.

Dragging and Dropping Between Devices

Universal Control also supports using your mouse or trackpad to drag and drop between devices. If you’ve sketched a drawing with Apple Pencil on your iPad, you can use your mouse or trackpad to drag that drawing into Keynote on your Mac, for example.

You can also drag a photo from your Mac into a conversation in Messages on your iPad. Have files you want to transfer between devices? Just drag them from one Mac to another Mac, or to the Files app on your iPad.

Disconnecting or Reconnecting Your Devices

If you keepAutomatically reconnect to any nearby Mac or iPadturned on, your Mac will automatically reconnect to nearby devices. If you turn it off, you’ll need to connect to other devices from Control Center or Displays preferences.

To disconnect your device, either put it to sleep or clickDisplayinControl Center. From here, choose your connected Mac or iPad underLink Keyboard and Mouseto disconnect.

You can quickly disconnect all devices by pressingControl-Option-Command-Deleteon your keyboard.

Troubleshooting Universal Control

If you can’t get your devices to link up, Apple recommends these troubleshooting steps:

Failing all of that, be sure your devices are all compatible and running the latest non-beta operating system versions.

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