At the Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2021, Apple introduced Universal Control and the rest of macOS Monterey. The latter was released to Mac users in the fall. However, we're still waiting for Universal Control, which Apple now says will be "available this spring," as in Spring 2022. Here's more about the feature and why it might be delayed.
What is Universal Control?
When implemented, Universal Control will make it possible to use a single keyboard, mouse, and trackpad with your Mac and iPad — as long as they're side-by-side. By doing so, you can move "your cursor from your Mac to your iPad, type on your Mac and watch the words show up on your iPad, or even drag and drop content from one Mac to another."
What do you need for Universal Control?
To use Universal Control (UC), you'll need a supported version of the latest iPadOS (whichever is available at the time of UC's release) and macOS Monterey installed on your iPad and best Mac, respectively. Apple promises these will be available sometime in Spring 2022. Universal Control will work with no additional user set-up with the supported software installed. Perhaps better still, it will work with multiple devices and combinations.
Both devices must be signed into the same Apple ID in iCloud and use two-factor authentication. To use Universal Control wirelessly on the supported devices, they must have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on and be within 10 meters (30 feet) of each other. iPad and Mac must not be sharing a cellular and internet connection. To use over USB, you must trust your Mac on the iPad.
Supported devices include:
- MacBook Pro (2016 and later), MacBook (2016 and later), MacBook Air (2018 and later), iMac (2017 and later), iMac (5K Retina 27-inch, Late 2015), iMac Pro, Mac mini (2018 and later), and Mac Pro (2019); and iPad Pro, iPad Air (3rd generation and later).
- iPad (6th generation and later) and iPad mini (5th generation and later).
Why the delay?
Apple hasn't said why Universal Control didn't arrive with the rest of macOS Monterey and probably never will.
Blogger Rene Ritchie said it's better for Apple to delay the feature than release it with bugs, and this is undoubtedly true. And yet, whenever Apple delays a new product or feature, one can't help but be reminded of the ill-fated AirPower charger that Apple announced in September 2017 and initially scheduled for an early 2018 release. After further delays, in March 2019, Apple canceled the project, concluding AirPower couldn't meet its high standards.
Is Universal Control the next AirPower? Probably not, and yet, it does have a similar feel to it, no?
We'll keep following this story and update this post when new information arrives. We'll assume Universal Control will be available sometime between March and June as currently promised. Stay tuned!
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