Universal Control is a new feature that Apple revealed during WWDC21. Universal Control allows files to be exchanged between a MacBook, iPad, or iMac in a completely new way.
The “Universal Control” feature is somewhat reminiscent of the Sidecar function, which transforms an iPad into a secondary monitor. However, the iPad does not function as a display here, but it allows Apple devices to be controlled directly via the trackpad or mouse of a MacBook or iMac. This also allows you to transfer files back and forth easily.
When you switch from the Mac to the iPad, the cursor will change from an arrow to the iPad’s signature round dot. The cool thing is this: both devices can be used together permanently. This option can be set up via the system settings.
In order for the pairing to work, both devices will have to be logged in via iCloud using the same Apple ID with Handoff activated. The devices will exchange data over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Just make sure that both devices are relatively close to one another to facilitate a smooth data exchange process.
There is a caveat though: not all MacBooks and iPads are supported.
Supported iPads, MacBooks, and iMacs for Universal Control
- 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)
- iPad Pro
- iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
- iPad (6th generation and later)
- and iPad mini (5th generation and later)