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Apple's iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 betas include Universal Control

Universal Control
Universal Control (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has seeded the first iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 betas to developers.
  • Both new betas are required to enable Universal Control.
  • Universal Control allows people to use one keyboard and mouse across multiple iPads and Macs.

After months of waiting Apple has finally made Universal Control available in the first betas releases of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3.

Both of the new beta updates can be downloaded and installed by developers right now and both will be needed by anyone wanting to take this new feature for a spin. Universal Control was first announced during WWDC in June 2021 and was originally expected to ship in September or October of the same year. The feature allows people to use a single mouse and keyboard to control Macs and iPads.

The addition of Universal Control was first spotted by MacRumors.

There are Universal Control settings available on both the Mac and the iPad, and the feature is enabled by default after updating to the new betas. On the Mac, the settings can be found under Displays > Advanced, and on the ‌iPad‌, the AirPlay & Handoff section under General has a new "Cursor and Keyboard (Beta)" option.

There is no telling yet when these two updates will be made available to the public so it could be some time before most people get to try Universal Control out for themselves. But given some of us had given up on ever seeing the feature ship, today is at least one filled with positive news — now we wait to see whether it actually works as well as we all hope it will. Universal Control promises to be one of the best Mac and iPad features released in a long time.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • Public Betas are out. I have an iPad Pro and a Mac mini that are on these and Universal Control seems to work fairly well. I do have a little trouble getting it to kick off each time, but that could well be my not doing something quite right or it being Beta still. Once it realizes what it is supposed to be doing, it works fairly nicely. I've used similar functionality in Windows for years. Mouse Without Borders is one such option, and Logitech offers software to do this. Right now what sets Apple's apart is the lack of setup. Every other such functionality I've tried required some setup, entering IP addresses or system names, establishing physical location in some way to ensure the curser goes off screen on the correct side. Not hard stuff, but still stuff. All I did on my Mac and iPad was load the Betas and slide my cursor off the side of one and it appeared on the other. Even tried it with the iPad to the left and right of the Mac monitor. Beyond having logged out of the devices between tests, did nothing to tell the systems where he iPad was. It just worked. Other than the slightly glitchy part of getting the cursor to move between devices the first time, I have one other issue. I'm using this with a Logitech MX keyboard and mouse on the Mac Mini. I have not found a way to scroll with the mouse when it is controlling the iPad. The cursor moves over there and I can move it around, select stuff, click and hold to change home pages. I can't however scroll on something like my photos library or a web page. Note that the scroll wheels on the MX mouse work just fine on the Mac Mini. I can use the touchpad on the iPad's magic keyboard to scroll on the Mac Mini as well. I expect that If I had a Magic Mouse or a Magic Trackpad on the Mac Mini it would scroll just fine when the cursor was on the iPad. So, that's an issue. I can't (at this point) use my MX mouse to scroll on my iPad, though it works just fine, scrolling on my Mac Mini. Hopefully that gets fixed.