Do you get a Sidecar/Universal Control lag?

Do you always get a good experience using the iPad as an extended monitor? For me, the screen gets super laggy sometimes and the cursor jumps around so much that it makes Sidecar unusable. I’ve experienced this with my previous MacBook Air M1 as well as with my brand new 14” MacBook Pro. My iPad is an 11” Pro, the 2018 model, purchased in September 2020. Here’s me wondering if this lag issue is yet another reason to consider upgrading to a new M1 iPad Pro. My current one is generally fine, works without larger hiccups, but the reloading of eg browser tabs after resuming Safari from another app is a little annoying, and the battery life is not that great (battery health according to iMazing was around 83% IIRC).

I do not have any noticeable lag using Universal Control. I’ve not tried Sidecar.

2018 12.9" iPadPro.
2018 Mac mini i7.

Both running latest respective OS’s.

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I do about half the time. The other half it works great. At first it worked perfectly, but after some updates it got slower. Just updated to the latest betas, But haven’t tried those yet.

M1 MBP 13”
M1 iPad Pro 11”

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I am seeing what at first appears to be lag when scrolling on the iPad using Universal Control from my MBA. However, it only happens when using the touchpad. When using the scroll wheel on my external mouse, there are no problems. Of course, the touchpad needs two fingers for scrolling. It seems more like it fails to recognize both figures. In fact, if I look closely, when it appears to be lagging, the mouse cursor moves instead of the page scrolling. I know its not a hardware issue because it doesn’t happen when I’m controlling the MBA, only through Universal Control to the iPad. I assume it is some software bug.

What actually happens is that as I slide my two fingers up the touchpad, the mouse cursor will start to move up, then stop as the page starts to scroll, then the page will stop scrolling and the mouse cursor will begin to move and then the page scrolls, and then the mouse curser moves… The amount of scrolling or mouse cursor moving is very small (imagine one click of a mouse scroll wheel). But the constant switch back and forth is very annoying. Eventually, the mouse cursor will move up so that it is no longer hovering over the page and all scrolling then stops. It took me a while to even understand what was happening. I have resigned myself to scrolling on the iPad screen directly unless I’m at my desk using my external mouse.

Interesting. I use a first generation Magic Trackpad with Universal Control and see no scrolling lag.

I just tried with my Logitech MX Master 3 mouse with UC and the scroll wheel did not work at all.

Curiouser and curiouser …

For me:

Sidecar: almost always a fairly poor experience, not just because of lag but also because the display size is too small for macOS.

Universal Control: absolute bliss and perfection, I routinely forget I’m even typing or clicking via the “wrong” device.

This being on 14” MBP And iMac 24” and several 2018 iPad Pros always on the latest software.

Ah. About the same for me. Half the time it works fine, and I’m having trouble pinpointing where the issue is or what it stems from.

Thank you all for your input.

From what I gather we’re all experiencing some issues to a degree with Sidecar and Universal Control.

Regarding external mice and trackpads; I’ve also had some lagginess with 4 different Logitech mice. I also don’t know how much my home desk setup (with an LG Ultrafine) causes interference.

I just got a new M1 iPad Air just to test things out a little. I haven’t tried Universal Control or Sidecar with it yet, but I can say that I miss the high refresh rate already, much in the same way that my MacBook Air now seems jittery compared to my 14” MacBook Pro.

An update:
I’ve now tested Sidecar and Universal Control with the new iPad Air.
My experience is the same with this as with my iPad Pro;

  • Works fine sometimes
  • I get some lag and jitteriness with the Air but can’t seem to be able to reproduce the issue consistently
  • Sometimes the connection drops repeatedly and I have reconnect the devices several times
  • Restarting the iPad(s) seems to help
  • AirPlaying a YouTube video to my Apple TV caused an initial lag with Sidecar which then subsided after a few minutes (extending my Mac screen to Apple TV has always been laggy on the Apple TV)