Universal control available

So macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4 have dropped, and Universal Control is available. I’ve only had a few minutes to play with it, but so far, I’m impressed!


It took awhile, but I finally figured out which edge of which monitor ‘connects’ the Mac to the iPad.

It is pretty cool.

Tried it briefly yesterday. Works pretty smooth!

The keyboard/trackpad remain connected to the Mac, so I still can’t use them on my iPad when the Mac is turned off?

Not working at all today…

Assumption: my company’s VPN / security software is blocking it (can test that later today)

Been using it for the last hour or so… a few initial observations:

  1. some keyboard shortcuts don’t work with iPadOS apps. For example, in Things 3 on iPad I can use CMD+E to move a Task to this evening. Although the Mac keyboard and mouse can control Things just fine through the iPad under Universal Control, the in-app shortcuts are not recognised. If I move my hands to the iPad keyboard it continues to work just fine… not through U/C however. I assumed it would work in a similar way to me connecting the keyboard directly to the iPad but it appears not. Anyone else experiencing the same?

  2. more of a muscle-memory thing …but, because I am using my Mac’s keyboard and mouse, my brain is telling me that all of the Keyboard Maestro shortcuts I use will somehow miraculously work on my iPad too ! I am wondering if the upside of U/C will be outweighed by the confusion it is causing in my head ! Still, it’s a cool piece of tech, so I like it…

EDIT: woah ! my iPad Magic Keyboard’s Trackpad just popped across to my Mac … I wasn’t expecting it to go that way too !

EDIT number 2: the annoying ‘natural scroll’ issue with bluetooth mice is amplified here as, even if you switch it off on the Mac, it clearly does not honour that on the iPad. Hence, scrolling with my MX Master is reversed between devices.

I think my trial of U/C may be coming to an end…very impressive but not for me !

I’m often out and about and have to work without an external screen, so I regularly use the iPad (2017, 10,5’) as external screen.
I’m now deciding between Sidecar and UC.
Sidecar gives you the Mac goodness (Keyboard Maestro, Typinatior and so on) while UC gives you touch control and app layouts that are made for the smaller screen.
UC is the new shiny and I will roll with it for a week to try, I guess.

I’m going to be curious in about 3 months to learn how many people are still using Universal Control at least weekly. I could be wrong, but I don’t see the number being very high.

I am having an odd issue with Universal Control - it works fine among 2 of my 3 Macs. But my iMac only intermittently works; at other times it does not recognize the other computer(s) nearby. Yet it does detect the other computers for purposes of Bluetooth/AirDrop. All computers are on the same local network.

Why might it be intermittent?

I kinda got it working after connecting my iMac to wifi, but the lag! Anyone else notice this? Sidecar seems way snappier, to be honest.

Maybe I spoke too soon - suddenly the lag was no longer noticable. Other issues though, e.g. Shift-key not recognized, language settings defaulted back to US English etc. Also, scroll wheel on mouse does nothing. Guess it might work better with all Apple accessories, perhaps.

Interestingly - this works OK in reverse, i.e. if I am running Things 3 on my Mac and use my iPad’s Magic keyboard to control it via U/C, the keystrokes work. Clearly some one-way magic afoot here.

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… maybe that is the logic behind some of the anomalies I have been reporting in this thread too. Perhaps Apple peripherals send slightly different signals than the third party ones (Logitech MX Keys and Master 3 in my case).

I haven’t experienced any lag personally, but will probably be switching this off now I have had a play with it. Need to get back to doing some work !

I upgraded to an M1 Mac mini from a 2012 in part because I knew this feature was coming. Well, it was time to upgrade but knowing this was coming was a tipping point. In the past two weeks I’ve been trying to use the Mac more just as an experiment and to enjoy the new device, new operating system. But expecting to have the two side by side with this new feature and it’s been pretty fantastic in the first few hours of use.

Magic indeed!

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I tried to test this out last night without success. My MBA (M1) is stuck on macOS 12.1 and insists it’s up to date no matter how many times I click on “check for updates”.

You could try this route…
Using SilentKnight to download updates – The Eclectic Light Company

This works fantastically for me. I have an Intel Mac, M1 Pro, iPad and this worked right away with all three.

I’ve never liked switching Bluetooth and this is a seamless solution. Worth the wait.

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I wonder about this, too. I tried it and it’s working great for me. But I can’t tell whether this is a true usability enhancement or just a nice bell/whistle that some niche case will find useful. I do use my iPad and Mac side-by-side a lot. So, I see the possibility that this becomes as useful to me as something like air drop: didn’t know I needed it but I sure love it and use it a lot.

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I’m expecting to use it infrequently, but its always “being there” has its own utility, since I can just decide to use it at the exact moment it will benefit me (e.g., I have a file to transfer and a chat open on the iPad.)

I don’t think I will ever develop a ritual to connect them at the start of the day or anything, as other solutions might require.

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Going to try this out later today. I think it’ll be one of those features that’s useless to 90% of people 90% of the time, but absolutely killer for the 10% that need it and the 10% of the time the rest of us need it. The comparison to AirDrop that @iPersuade made seems fitting to me as well.


I think it will depend on whether you have a specific use case. My firm allows firm email on the iPad but not on macOS. So I can leave the iPad open and easily move back and forth between the iPad for my firm email and macOS for other work. After a couple of hours of use, it works well for me.

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