What is Apple Universal Control and how does it work?

Newly arrived on iOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3, apple’s Universal Controller allows use with an iPad the same keyboard and mouse (or touchpad) that you use with your Mac computer… or even be able to operate two different Macs with the same keyboard+mouse/touchpad.

Universal Control allows you to operate a Mac and an iPad with the same keyboard+mouse, which also don’t need to be Apple-branded

This makes it easier, for those who work in parallel with the computer and the Apple tablet to use the latter almost as if it were a second monitor in a continuous workflow. It would be a step in a different direction from the possibility that already exists, through Sidecar, to use an iPad as a second monitor of the Mac computer, moving to its screen macOS application windows, because now the app running on the iPad would remain open on the iPad and could simply be operated with the same keyboard and mouse with which you are working on the computer.

With Universal Control eliminates the need to take your hands off the keyboard or mouse to use the iPad or, where applicable, the option of having a second keyboard or mouse, while working with the computer. It increases user convenience, eliminates the need for a double set of data entry accessories and clears the desk of peripherals.

The most interesting thing about Universal Control is the way in which bridges the gap between two devices and two operating systems to turn both into a unified workspace that the user can manage from the same keyboard+mouse. In this way, those who have both devices can choose the configuration that best suits their needs and preferences, leaving behind the need for Bluetooth pairing between devices and peripherals.

But there is still more. Thanks to the link established by Universal Control it is possible to drag a file with the cursor from the iPad and drop it on the desktop or inside a Mac folderand vice versa. Of course it also works in that sense the transfer of files by copy and paste, consolidating the concept of unifying both devices under a common management. Being able to instantly have a document on the other device with this facility is a major advance in productivity and convenience.

To make things even easier there is absolutely no need to configure anything. Just place the iPad next to the Mac, move the cursor from the computer to the tablet and Universal Control takes care of everything… as long as both devices (iPad and Mac) are updated to the latest versions of their respective operating systems.

Y the peripherals don’t even need to be Apple. There is no need for the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, any keyboard, mouse or touchpad that is already recognized and paired with the computer will be integrated into the system and will also act on the iPad.

Universal Control was announced last summer, during the course of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and must have represented a significant technical challenge as it took nine months to become available to users but for its capabilities and results it seems worth it.

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