Universal controls not working on Mac and iPad? Try these 11 fixes

Universal Control doesn’t start on your Mac and iPad? Compatibility issues, feature limitations, and incorrectly configured settings often cause it.

Go through the suggestions and solutions below to get Universal Controls working again on your Mac and iPad.

1. Restart the device

If you were able to use Universal Control without problems until then, try restarting your Mac and iPad. That should eliminate any software-related glitches preventing the feature from working.

Restart Mac

Open Apple menu and choose Restart. Then clear the box next to Reopen the window when re-login and choose Restart again.

Restart iPad

Open Setting app and press Shared > Turn off. Next, pull Power slide right, wait for 30 seconds and hold Top to restart the device.

2. Check device compatibility

Like Sidecar, Universal Control only works on newer Macs and iPads. If you are trying to use this feature for the first time, it is best to check the compatibility of your devices.

Check Mac Compatibility

Universal Control supports all Macs from 2018 onwards. So if you use an older macOS device, you can still use this feature as long as your MacBook Pro 2016 or 2017, MacBook 2016, iMac 2017 or iMac 5K Retina 27 inch 2015.

Additionally, the Mac must be running macOS Monterey 12.3 or later. Open Apple menu and choose About this Mac to check the model and system software version.

Check iPad compatibility

Universal Control requires iPad Pro (any generation) or iPad 6th generation, iPad Air 3rd generation, iPad mini 5th generation or later. iPadOS 15.4 or later is also a necessary condition. Open Setting application and select Shared > About this iPad to check the device model and system software version.

3. Update system software

If you use a Universal Control-compatible Mac or iPad running earlier versions of system software, you must update to macOS 12.3 Monterey or iPadOS 15.4 to start using this feature. You should also install any featured updates as they often contain general improvements and bug fixes.

Update your Mac

Open Apple menu and choose About this Mac > Software updates > Update now.

Update iPad

Open Setting app and press Shared > Software updates > Download and install.

Can’t update your Mac or iPad? Learn how to fix stuck macOS or iPadOS updates.

4. Check out the general control options

Next, make sure that Universal Control is working or set up the way you want it to on your Mac and iPad.

Check out general controls on Mac

Open Apple menu and choose System Preferences > Display > Global control. Then select the checkbox next to Let your pointer and keyboard move between any nearby Mac or iPad if it doesn’t seem to work.

The other two options affect Universal Controls in the following ways and should ideally work:

Push over the edge of the screen to connect to a nearby Mac or iPad – Requires you to push the cursor in the corner of the screen to connect to an adjacent device.

Automatically reconnect to any nearby Mac or iPad – Automatically reconnect to devices when in range.

Check out the versatile control options on iPad

Open Setting app and press Shared > Airplay & Handoff. Next, turn on Keyboard and Mouse (Beta) optional if it doesn’t work.

5. Manually connect to the device

If Automatically reconnect to any nearby Mac or iPad option doesn’t work in your Mac’s General Controls settings, you must manually connect it to your iPad to start this feature.

To do that, select Control Center icon and extension Display. Then select the device you want to connect in Link keyboard and mouse to section.

6. Use the same Apple ID

Universal Control won’t work unless you use the same Apple ID or iCloud account on your Mac and iPad. If you have separate Apple IDs (for example, for work and personal), make sure that’s not the problem.

Check Apple ID on Mac

Open System Preferences app on your Mac and select Apple ID. You can find your Apple ID on the left side of the window.

Check Apple ID on iPad

Open Setting app on your iPad and tap your profile picture. You can find your Apple ID at the top of the screen.

Are you using the wrong Apple ID? Learn how to sign in with the right iCloud account.

7. Rearrange the screen

The multi-controller is smart enough to automatically locate your devices, but it can sometimes make mistakes. To check that, open System Preferences app on your Mac and select Display. If the screens are out of order, drag them around as needed.

8. Check Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Universal Control uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to switch between your Mac and iPad. If you continue to have problems getting the feature to work, check that the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules are working on both devices.

Check Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on Mac

Open Control Center. If Bluetooth and WIFI icons appear inactive, select to activate them.

Check Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on iPad

Swipe down from the top left of the screen to open the Control Center. If Bluetooth and WIFI icons appear inactive, tap to activate them.

9. Handoff test

In addition to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, Universal Control also requires Handoff to communicate. Turn on the function if it doesn’t work.

Check out Handoff on Mac

Open Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Then choose Shared and activate Enable Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices right to buy.

Check Handoff on iPad

Open Setting and press Shared > AirPlay & Handoff. Then turn on the side switch Hand.

10. Turn off Internet Sharing and Personal Hotspot

Internet Sharing and Personal Hotspot are two features that can interfere with Universal Controls on Mac and iPad. Disable them and check if that makes a difference.

Turn off Internet Sharing on Mac

Open System Preferences application, select Shareand uncheck the box next to Internet Sharing.

Turn off Personal Hotspot on iPad

Open Setting app, press Personal hotspotand turn off the side switch Personal hotspot.

11. Restart Network Settings

If none of the above fixes help, you must reset the network settings on your Mac and iPad. That should resolve any corrupted Bluetooth or Wi-Fi profiles that prevent the devices from communicating.

Reset network settings on Mac

Open seekeroption To go > Go to Folder on the menu bar and go to the following folder:

/ Library / Hobbies /

Then drag the file below to the Trash.

com.apple.Bl Bluetooth.plist

Next, go to the following directory:

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

Then drag the files below to the Trash.

com.apple.airport.preferences.plist

com.apple.network.identification.plist

com.apple.network.eapolclient.configuration.plist

com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist

NetworkInterfaces.plist

options.plist

Finally, restart your Mac.

Importance: If you face any network related problems afterwards, restore the files above from the Recycle Bin.

Reset network settings on iPad

Open Setting app and press Shared > Transfer & Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Next, enter your device passcode and Screen Time passcode. Clap Reset confirm.

Full control

Universal Control is a handy feature on Mac and iPad, so taking the time to get it working correctly is well worth the trouble. However, like with anything software-related, you can reduce the risk of other problems by keeping the system software up to date on both devices.

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