Universal Control finally arrives on macOS Monterey after a long delay

WWDC 2021 screenshot
(Image credit: Apple)

Since being announced at WWDC 2021 alongside Apple’s software updates, users have been waiting for Universal Control to arrive on Mac and iPad, and it’s finally arrived.

Available to try out on the beta versions of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3, the feature allows you to control a mouse on both a Mac and iPad at the same time. In this mode, you can drag and drop files between devices without having to send files or use a cloud service to do this.

Universal Control was set to arrive in October with the launch of iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey, but it saw delays, most likely to how the complications could be with sharing files between two different devices.

But so far in testing, it works great, and for anyone with both devices, makes it much easier to manage your content side by side.

Analysis: it works, and it’s fantastic

Setting up the feature is an easy process, by going to System Preferences > Display on your Mac, and check that your iPad is showing.

If it is, you can configure it to make sure if the tablet should be placed to the left or right of the Mac, and that’s it.

Users are already showcasing the feature on Twitter, with the mouse switching over to multiple devices as if they were all connected to one another.

iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 don’t just bring Universal Control, as there’s also a keyboard brightness setting for your iPad, making it much easier to manage in Control Center instead. There’s also a FaceID option for masks, giving you the option for your iPhone and iPad to scan your face while wearing a mask, without using an Apple Watch to authenticate as before.

If this was in the era of iOS 9, we’d most likely have seen these features at WWDC with iOS 16, focused as a big tentpole announcement. But in recent years, we’ve seen features arrive across the year, such as trackpad support arriving on iPadOS 13.4 in March 2020.

With Universal Control looking likely to arrive for everyone in the next couple of months, it makes us wonder what could be coming to macOS 13. But regardless, we’re seeing bigger features arrive across the year instead, and for users, that’s a big win.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.