[Nishikawa Kazuyu Irregular Column]Universal Control is finally here!Keyboard, mouse and trackpad can now be shared on Mac and iPad-PC Watch

When macOS Monterey was released, various features were introduced, but the “universal control” that interests me. However, as of the release date of October 26, 2021, it has not been implemented. After waiting for a long time, macOS 12.3 installed on March 15, 2022 is finally released. This is a short-term experiment, but I’d like to send you a report.

What is universal control! ??

The first thing that comes to mind when combining macOS and iPadOS is Sidecar. Simply put, it is to monitor the functions of the iPad (Pro). It supports both mirroring/extending (but, for some reason, vertical position).

Operational requirements require you to be signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID, but this is normal if you have an Apple device on hand. This is not a particularly difficult requirement. Typically, it is used with a wireless connection, but can also be used with a USB connection. If you’re charging an iPad (Pro), it will respond well and the USB connection will have an advantage.

In addition, macOS Monterey can connect not only iPad OS, but also other macOS, for example, you can use MacBook Air panel for the second monitor of Mac mini. In this case, the macOS on the MacBook Air side is of course inoperable, but since it can be used as a server, it can be connected through ssh for command-line level processing.

Anyway, it’s a feature that allows you to use an iPad (Pro) or other Mac in place of a monitor without having to prepare a separate monitor. However, if this becomes the main use, it will just be an expensive monitor, so be careful.

System Preferences > Displays > Add Display > Mirror or Extend

Capture the entire screen by extension. iPad Pro side to second monitor

Universal control, on the other hand, is the ability to share a keyboard, mouse, and trackpad. Operating requirements are the same as the previous Sidecar, but with macOS 12.3 or later and iPadOS 15.4 or later (iOS is not supported). In addition to sharing, it supports copying and pasting of text, as well as dragging and dropping of files, making connections between devices more organic.

In the case of Sidecar, the app is for macOS, as it only increases the number of monitors, but in the case of Universal Control, you’ll be using macOS, iPadOS, or the device’s app. This is important in the sense that when Sidecar removes the iPad (Pro), the previously running app disappears (since it’s for macOS), it becomes the world of iPadOS, but in the case of Universal Control Under the exact same application is still available even if it is deleted. remaining. Even if taken out individually, processing can continue in the same state.

The settings will be described later, but there is no mechanical difference between the server and the client. For example, if you set it on a Mac mini, the same setting will be automatically done on a connected MacBook 12, and you can use the keyboard and mouse at the same time.


The setup itself is simple. On the iPadOS side, go to Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff > Handoff and turn on Cursor & Keyboard. On the macOS side, System Preferences > Common Controls has been added to the display and all checks are turned off by default, so turn it on.

After that, when you look at adding monitors, it’s divided into two groups, “Connect Keyboard and Mouse” and “Mirror or Extend”, so choose the device you want to connect from the former. Now you are ready. The latter is a traditional Sidecar, but the symbol Sidecar no longer exists.

When you select a device to connect, the screen of that device appears next to the picture on the main monitor, so drag and drop it according to the position (up/down/left/right, seems to automatically recognize the position) on the left/right case, but up/down needs to be adjusted manually). This makes it possible to move the mouse pointer according to the physical layout.

I tried it, and the mouse pointer and key input can be completed smoothly, the same as when the HID is physically connected. You can also copy and paste text and drag and drop files (depending on the application). It will be a very attractive environment.

However, sometimes the movement of the mouse pointer is jerky. In this case you can fix it by disconnecting or turning off and on the common control check, but at the moment I don’t know the exact procedure that returns.Items on the Common Control Panel[ベータ版]Seems to be related to this field.

If the connected device hibernates, restarts, or locks the screen, the login panel or authentication screen will be displayed to wake up first, but there is no problem because the shared keyboard and mouse can then be used.

So when connecting a MacBook 12 to a Mac mini and using the MacBook 12 keyboard and trackpad as the main, if the screen is locked, touch the mouse or something on the side of the Mac mini to show the login panel (a bit of a hassle). However, if you don’t, the login panel won’t appear), after which you can use the keyboard on the side of the MacBook 12 for operations, including entering passwords.

Next, simply examine how much you can drag, and the results are as follows. The targets are mostly image files.

Application Name macOS→iPadOS iPadOS→macOS
photo app
Google Photos × ×
Photoshop × ×
Safari (Facebook) ×
Facebook × ×
Email (with photo) ×

X means the image cannot be dragged in the first place, and the image can be dragged but not dropped.

I was looking forward to it, but it’s still not perfect. This is unavoidable because it requires support for iPad OS apps. For photos, it’s safe to access the Photos app, and for other things like text, it’s safe to access the Files app. You can copy and paste text on macOS → iPadOS and iPadOS → macOS without any problems. This works seamlessly.

There are a series of actions in the video of WWDC 2021, please take a look if you are interested.

WWDC 2021 – June 7 | Apple (about 1 hour 23 minutes)

I have tried various things

Compatible models for Mac and iPad are Mac mini M1, MacBook Pro 16 @ 2019, MacBook 12 @ 2017, and iPad Pro 12.9 M1. Unfortunately, macOS Monterey doesn’t work on MacBook 13 @ 2012 and Mac mini @ 2011, so I can’t use it. iPad (Pro) also requires a model compatible with iPad OS 15.4.

The first is the combination of the most compact MacBook 12 and iPad Pro 12.9. When placed side by side, the latter has a larger screen and feels a little lopsided. The iPad Pro side supports both horizontal and vertical positions. Sidecar is only in a horizontal position for some reason, so if you can use a vertical position, that alone is handy, even if the apps running on macOS are different.

Connect iPad Pro 12.9 to MacBook 12

Vertical position is also possible

Next, connect the iPad Pro 12.9 to the Mac mini. Originally it was placed vertically to the right of the monitor, but due to misalignment with the keyboard and making it difficult to type, the layout was changed so that the main monitor was raised slightly and the iPad Pro was placed horizontally. If this is the case, the line of sight will not move, making it easier to type. At this time, if the Dock is down, it will respond every time the mouse pointer moves down, so change the position to the left. Currently, this state is the easiest to use, so it works as-is.

Originally, it was placed vertically to the right of the main monitor, but due to a mismatch with the view of the keyboard…

Lift the main monitor slightly and place it horizontally below.This makes operation easier

The story is a bit off topic, but for the same reason (eye diversion) I’m not good at multiple monitors. This may not be the case if the panels are connected to each other in some way, but since the main monitor has a light hood, that’s not the case. Previously, it used three virtual desktops. 1: Businesses like email, scheduling, messengers, 2: Development, 3: Writing and images…

With the addition of this Universal Control, the 1: Business system has been moved to the iPad Pro side. In other words, there are two virtual desktops. However, while writing a long and confusing email, I opened the web version of Gmail on the Mac…

Since the MacBook system is originally equipped with a trackpad, there is no problem, but in the case of a desktop system such as Mac mini, if there is a Magic Trackpad, three-finger swipe up = Mission Control, left and right swipe = application switching, etc. It is also convenient to use this gesture on the iPad Pro side. For this reason, I only connect the Magic Mouse 2 to the Mac mini, but I removed the original Magic Trackpad I used to use from Chrome OS Flex and connected it (I plan to buy the Magic Trackpad 2 later. It’s also a new one type of black. Or!?).

Since three-finger gestures are available on the iPad Pro side, I want a Magic Trackpad for desktop systems.

Swipe up with three fingers and the iPad Pro will display a Mission Control-like display.

At this point, I removed the iPad Pro 12.9, connected the MacBook 12, and placed it under the monitor (the keyboard and Magic Trackpad on the Mac mini side are temporarily saved). The apps that use it are the same as macOS and the Mac mini, and the keyboard and trackpad use the MacBook 12’s, which is convenient (especially the trackpad I wrote about earlier).

However, I’m not a big fan of the MacBook 12’s thin, small keyboard, which is fine for occasional use, but mostly difficult, so I reverted it back to the original (iPad Pro). It’s a shame because it’s just the right size. Maybe the MacBook 13 or the M1 version of the Air.

Replace iPad Pro 12.9 with MacBook 12 and use MacBook 12 keyboard and trackpad to control Mac mini

System Preferences > Displays > Add Display looks like this

In the end, it’s not practical, but I tried connecting all MacBook 12, iPad Pro 12.9 and MacBook Pro 16 to Mac mini. However, the fourth MacBook Pro 16 cannot connect. So there seems to be a maximum of three. At this point, all keyboards and rack pads are available for each device.

When I connect a MacBook 12, iPad Pro 12.9, and MacBook Pro 16 to the Mac mini in sequence, the error occurs on the fourth MacBook Pro 16.up to 3

Last but not least, I think a lot of people think it would be handy if iOS/iPhone also supported Universal Control. I was the same at the beginning. There could be many reasons why Apple doesn’t support it, but one of them is the distance from the screen.

Laptops like the MacBook have a relatively close screen position, so it’s practical to put the iPhone there, but for desktops like the Mac mini or iMac, it’s very close to the screen. The screen is far away. Even with the iPhone at the same distance, the characters are small and difficult to read. While there may be individual differences, the iPad Pro 12.9 is actually set to larger characters (115-125% in Safari) than when it’s at hand.

So the next option is to use a combination of Galaxy and Windows to map the iOS screen to the screen on macOS, just like when you sync apps with your smartphone. If the window size is set to be variable to a certain extent, the character size problem will disappear, and both keyboard input and mouse operations on the macOS side can be used, so it may be more convenient to use a Mac. Whether this feature will be included in the next macOS 13 is just a WWDC 2022 fun (if it’s closed, I’m sorry).

Also, I would like this feature to be standard in Windows (USB connection, but there is a commercially available “500-USB070” which I actually bought and used, but it didn’t work well). I would like to ask Microsoft because it would be convenient to combine laptops, desktops, tablets, etc.

As mentioned above, Universal Control can share keyboard, mouse, and trackpad on Mac and iPad (Pro), and also supports copy and paste of text, and limited drag and drop of files. This is a handy feature that allows you to use up to 3 units as one system. If you have a compatible Mac and iPad (Pro), or another Mac, you can try it out, so enjoy a different availability than Sidecar.

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