[Review]How do you feel about the universal control of macOS and the operation of the iPad?

Universal control function for Mac and iPad

Unveiled as a feature of macOS Monterey 12.3, Universal Control allows you to use your Mac’s keyboard and mouse to control your iPad.
Not only can you operate it, but you can also copy and paste across the walls of your device, making it easier for your Mac and iPad to work together.
I actually used this universal control and tried how the keyboard / mouse operation from the Mac is reflected on the iPad side.

Universal control that seamlessly connects your Mac and iPad

Universal Control is a feature that allows you to control up to two nearby Macs and iPads using your Mac’s keyboard, mouse, and touchpad. It is often said that only Mac and iPad are linked, but in fact, Mac and Mac can also be linked.
Sidecar is another function that links Mac and iPad, but Sidecar is a function that makes the iPad a sub-monitor of the Mac, while Universal Control allows you to control the iPad as it is.
For this reason, in the case of Sidecar, data and apps that are not in the Mac cannot be used, but in the case of Universal Control, data and apps that are only in the iPad can be used.

The reaction speed is quite good, and you can copy images and videos.

I actually tried this universal control.
Usage is simple. First, in preparation, do the following:

  • Mac: Select “Universal Controls” from the System Preferences display and enable “Allow cursor and keyboard to move between all nearby Macs or iPads”
  • iPad: Turn on “Cursor and Keyboard” in the general “AirPlay and Handoff” of the Settings app

Then, from the Mac System Preferences display, simply select the target device in “Link Keyboard and Mouse”.
Enable universal control

Then the Mac and iPad will be connected, so adjust the positional relationship of the display and you’re done.
Adjust the positional relationship between Mac and iPad

I tried copying images from Mac to iPad by dragging and dropping, and copying images from iPad to Mac by copying and pasting:

In this way, you can copy and paste not only text but also images, and even drag and drop is a feature of Universal Control. As you can see in the video, the reaction is quite good, and if you align it properly, you can operate it seamlessly.
I also experimented to see if I could copy a video with a large file size:

I was able to copy videos with file sizes over 30MB without any problems.
I’m not sure about file size and file size limits, but it seems to be a fairly practical feature.

Can I use a high-performance mouse or keyboard?

Earlier, in an article that experimented with how much work you can do with your iPad, I showed you that you can use many of these features by connecting a high-performance mouse or keyboard to your iPad.
Then, when I experimented with how it behaves in the case of universal control, I found that the behavior is different between third-party devices and genuine Apple products.


Third-party devices with severely limited functionality

First, when I used Logitech MX ERGO as a mouse, I couldn’t use anything other than right-click and left-click, and even the wheel didn’t respond:

Aside from the expanded buttons, the inability to use the wheel is fatal.
Also, when I assigned Mission Control to a button using Logitech’s official utility called Logitech Options, pressing this button opened Mission Control on the Mac side even if the cursor was on the iPad side.
I thought it might be because Logitech Options doesn’t support universal control yet, and when I plugged in a Microsoft mouse that didn’t have the utility installed, I couldn’t move the cursor across the wall of the device. Happened.
Even in this state, MX ERGO can overcome the wall of the device, so it may be a problem.
The situation is the same for high-performance keyboards, where the Mac responds when you press a key assigned to volume control or Mission Control.
Using a third-party mouse and keyboard doesn’t seem to behave the same as connecting them directly to the iPad.


Uses seamlessly with Apple devices

I thought the situation might be different for Apple devices, so I tried the Magic Trackpad.
In the case of Magic Trackpad, you can use the full functions of Magic Trackpad such as scrolling as well as gesture operation:

I haven’t tried Magic Mouse or Magic Keyboard, but likewise these devices may be fully functional on a Mac connected with Universal Control.

Screenshots can’t even cross the wall of the device

Another limitation was that the Mac screenshot feature couldn’t even cross the wall of the device.
The Mac has a function to take a screenshot of the range specification with shift + cmd + 4, but unfortunately it is not possible to specify the screen on the iPad side with this function.
The same applies to screenshots and video recordings for each window that can be used with shift + cmd + 5.
Therefore, if you want to use the screenshot on the iPad side on the Mac, you will need to take a screenshot with the function on the iPad side and then move it to the Mac side by copy and paste.

Sometimes the operation becomes unstable

Universal Control is currently in beta.
Perhaps because of this, the operation became unstable occasionally, such as sudden disconnection during the experiment and the inability to drag and drop across the device.
Apple itself

Beta software is under development and some features may not work as expected. If you want to extend or mirror your Mac desktop with your iPad, use Sidecar instead.

Said on the introduction site of Universal Control.
Sidecar is an unstable sidecar, but if you use it for important work such as work, you may want to avoid universal control.

When is Universal Control useful?

Universal Control is a feature that you can use with a keyboard or mouse that connects your iPad to your Mac.
This is a useful feature, but Mac and iPad are originally connected by a universal clipboard, copy and paste is seamless, and iCloud makes file sharing easy.
So when you think about when it’s useful, it’s about when you’re working on a Mac and you’re using an app that’s only installed on your iPad.
This is because you can operate the iPad as it is with the same keyboard and mouse that you used to operate the Mac.
However, it is a pity that Universal Control will be disconnected when the iPad screen is turned off. Leaving the iPad screen on isn’t very wise in terms of battery consumption.
You can also connect automatically when you turn on the screen of the iPad, but in this case, if the Mac and iPad are running at the same time, they will always be connected with universal control.
Due to the limited functionality of third-party keyboards, I don’t feel like using Universal Control for now, and I find Sidecar to be easier to use.
If you’re always using your Mac and iPad side by side, Universal Control may be useful.

Expectations for future development of universal control

Universal Control is currently in beta.
As a result, it is possible that more features will be added in the future, making it a feature that more users will not be able to part with.
For the time being, I’d like to see some third-party keyboard and mouse extensions available on the iPad side.
Also, Sidecar and Universal Control are currently used exclusively, but I think it would be convenient if they automatically switch to Universal Control when a notification comes to the iPad side during Sidecar.
Universal Control is expected to become a formal feature on the upcoming iPad OS 15.5 and macOS 12.4.
By the way, as a function similar to Universal Control, there is a function called “Flow” of Logitech, which allows you to operate the cursor and copy and paste files between Mac and Windows.
If possible, it would be nice if Apple, Microsoft, and even Google could work together to implement a universal control function that transcends the manufacturer’s barriers at the OS level, but it may not be feasible.

Source: Apple, Logitech

Source: iPhone Mania

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