Apple delays release of Universal Control for macOS, iPadOS until 2022

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Apple has pushed back the launch date of Universal Control, a key feature of macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15, until Spring 2022.

In an update to Apple's macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15 feature pages on Monday, the company said that Universal Control will be "available this spring."

The feature, which lets users control multiple Mac and iPad devices with a single mouse and keyboard, was originally slated for a launch with the base versions of iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. However, in September, Apple delayed it until sometime in the fall of 2021.

It was, however, absent from beta versions of macOS 12 and iPadOS 15, as well as their subsequent point releases. The feature page update on Monday confirms that it won't arrive in 2021 at all, and instead in the spring of 2022.

Universal Control is a planned feature iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. It allows users to put three Apple devices in closes proximity, and use a single keyboard and mouse or trackpad. Once associated, a user can easily drag and drop files between devices and switch between them as needed.

By placing a second device near a compatible Mac, users will be able to pair devices together via Continuity features in the AirPlay & Handoff section under the Mac's settings.

A gray bar will appear on the side of paired devices. By dragging the cursor from one screen to another, users can "hand off" keyboard and mouse control to another device. This can be especially useful for dragging documents, files, and images between devices.

At the 2021 WWDC, Apple said that the devices are using proximity to determine how a user wants to connect. The user's behavior selects which side of the display the additional computer has been placed.

This orientation can be controlled in the Monitors control pane, but to what extent isn't quite clear yet — and the feature has not yet been exposed in any beta to date.

The devices connect via a direct Wi-Fi signal. The UI of dragging objects across devices disguises the fact you're performing a simple AirDrop, but the result is the same.

Apple devices that will support Universal Control on iPadOS 15 and macOS 12

Supported Macs

  • MacBook (2016 onward)
  • MacBook Air (2016 onward)
  • MacBook Pro (2016 onward)
  • iMac (2017 onward)
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac mini (2018 onward)
  • Mac Pro

Supported iPads

  • iPad mini (fifth-generation and onward)
  • iPad (sixth-generation and onward)
  • iPad Air (third-generation and onward
  • iPad Pro

Users will need to be signed onto all devices via iCloud with the same Apple ID. Devices will need to have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on, and must be within 30 feet of each other.