One of the most exciting features that Apple announced at WWDC 2021 was Universal Control. This feature lets you seamlessly switch the cursor and keyboard between multiple Macs and iPads. In fact, it’s so seamless, there’s no setup necessary. You can glide your cursor from one device to another, simply by pushing it off the edge of one screen and into the screen that’s next to it.
This feature will be available in macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15, but it won’t be available at launch. But thanks to developer Zhuowei Zhang, it’s possible to test this feature out. If two of your Macs are running macOS Monterey Beta 5, you can use a Plist file to enable the hidden code. Sadly, there’s no way to enable this on the iPad right now, so you’ll need to wait until the final release to use it between your Macs and iPads.
How to enable Universal Control in macOS Monterey Beta
If you’re already running macOS Monterey beta 5, all you have to do is download a file and place it in the Library folder. Take a look at the steps below.
Head over to Zhuowei Zhang’s GitHub page for the “Ensemble.plist” file. Here, right-click the “Raw” button and download the linked file to your desktop (it will be in a “.plist” extension).
Now, open Terminal, and paste in the following command.
sudo mkdir -p /Library/Preferences/FeatureFlags/Domain/
This will create the folder. If you aren’t able to create the folder, you might have to disable System Integrity Protection. Now, let’s open the folder using a Terminal command. Type in the following command and hit the Enter key.
Now that the Domain folder is open, simply drag in the “Ensemble.plist” file to the folder. Enter your admin password to confirm. Once the file is moved, reboot your Mac to enable the feature. Repeat this process on all Macs where you want to use the Universal Control feature.
This feature only works on Macs from 2016 and later, and with iCloud and Handoff enabled.
You can confirm that the feature is active by going to “System Preferences”. Here, go to the “Displays” section. In the “Add Display” dropdown, you’ll see a “Link Keyboard and Mouse” section. This means the feature is active.
Here’s how Universal Control works between two Macs. pic.twitter.com/gcqaNN7hxd
— Filipe Esposito (@filipeesposito) August 29, 2021
To use Universal Control between two Macs, simply put them side-by-side, make sure that iCloud and Handoff are enabled, and just push the cursor from one edge of the screen to another.