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Before macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4 were released to the public, many beta testers who tried Universal Control were unable to get it working if they were already using an iPad in Sidecar mode, but it turns out that in the final release you can actually enable both Universal Control and Sidecar simultaneously on different devices, provided your setup allows for this.

universal-control-sidecar.jpg

In the final version of macOS 12.3, the "Add Display" options in the Displays preference pane distinguishes between devices available to connect via Universal Control and devices available to be used as extended displays, including iPads via Sidecar.

This means that you can now, for example, connect your Mac to one ‌iPad‌ via ‌Sidecar‌ for some extra macOS screen space, and on the other side of your Mac you could control a second ‌iPad‌ or Mac using your main Mac's keyboard and trackpad.

Differences Between Universal Control and Sidecar

For those unfamiliar with the two modes and the differences between them, here's a quick recap. With ‌Universal Control‌, if you have a Mac and an ‌iPad‌ next to each other, or even multiple Macs and iPads, you can use the keyboard and cursor on one device across all of them. So, for example, if you have a MacBook Pro and an ‌iPad‌ on your desk, the MacBook Pro's trackpad can be used over on the ‌‌iPad‌‌ just by swiping across, and the Mac's keyboard will become the ‌iPad‌'s input device. The same is also true of the ‌‌iPad‌‌ if you have a keyboard attached to it.

‌Sidecar‌ works differently. Announced in 2019 as part of macOS Catalina, ‌Sidecar‌ is designed to let you use an ‌iPad‌ as a secondary display for your Mac. Up to one ‌iPad‌ can be used to either mirror the content on your Mac's display or turn it into a secondary display for extra screen real estate in macOS.


To be clear, ‌Universal Control‌ lets you use your Mac's keyboard and trackpad to navigate your ‌iPad‌, but it functions over two different operating systems – macOS and iPadOS. Unlike Sidecar, it does not extend your Mac's display to the ‌iPad‌, it simply allows the keyboard and mouse/trackpad of one device to be used to control one or more other devices. If you want your Mac's content displayed on a nearby ‌iPad‌, you'll need to use ‌Sidecar‌, but you cannot control the same device with ‌Universal Control‌.

With all that said, however, provided you have enough iPads and Macs, it turns out that you can in fact use ‌Sidecar‌ and ‌Universal Control‌ at the same time and enjoy the best of both worlds. Note that Universal Control is still technically in beta, so some setups may throw up lingering bugs.
For more information on how to set up an iPad in Sidecar while also controlling additional Macs and/or iPads using Universal Control, be sure to check out our dedicated how-to article.

Article Link: PSA: Universal Control and Sidecar Can Be Used At the Same Time in macOS 12.3
 
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contacos

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2020
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For me it does not work at all between my iPad Air 4 and MacBook Pro 14 inch with everything enabled. It just „does not“ work. I can only extend my Mac screen. Don’t know if it is wifi related. I doubt it. It’s a standard FRITZ!box router.

When I move my cursor to the border of my Mac, nothing happens
 
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timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
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For anyone interested, the above display arrangement maps onto this setup. The iPad on the right is using Sidecar to extend the display of the 14-inch MacBook Pro on the left of the large monitor, while the 13-inch MBP on the far left is linked via Universal Control.

IMG_0615.jpg
 
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rmcq

macrumors member
Jul 15, 2009
31
99
Universal control is not just keyboard/mouse control. It also lets you drag/drop pretty much anything between devices (assuming OS support). I was even able to drag a Safari tab from my iPad to Safari on my Mac. Another very useful thing was to be able to drag a file from the Mac and drop it into a Spark email as an attachment.

Really well done by Apple to allow the config you’ve demonstrated too. Thanks.
 

j569mxr

macrumors newbie
Mar 16, 2018
27
112
For me it does not work at all between my iPad Air 4 and MacBook Pro 14 inch with everything enabled. It just „does not“ work. I can only extend my Mac screen. Don’t know if it is wifi related. I doubt it. It’s a standard FRITZ!box router.

When I move my cursor to the border of my Mac, nothing happens
i thought it didn't work for me, but you really have to "push through" the side then a grey box shows up on both machines, keep pushing and then you pop over to the other ipad/mac.
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
6,311
5,179
Universal control works between my 2021 MBP and my iPad Pro, but not with my iPad mini 6.

Also as shown in the screenshot of the article, why the iPad mini 6 is only available as a side car display? Anyone knows why?
 

0meg4

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2021
3
5
I've been using Sidecar a lot with my MBP M1 Pro 14".

It is a perfect solution for me as I already use 2 monitors, and the MBP screen, and it gives me more screen real estate.
Today i tried Universal Control, and it's nice, but for me i prefer to have another macOS screen, not the ipad itself.

I don't think I will use Universal Control that much as I use Sidecar, as a portable 2nd monitor.
 

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nicho

macrumors 601
Feb 15, 2008
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3,024
Universal control works between my 2021 MBP and my iPad Pro, but not with my iPad mini 6.

Also as shown in the screenshot of the article, why the iPad mini 6 is only available as a side car display? Anyone knows why?

Did you update iPadOS on the mini? It works perfectly on mine.

Also, the screen needs to be "on" before initiating to link to the iPad, I found.
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
847
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Edinburgh, UK
Universal Control is already one of the best QOL updates to macOS in years for me. I work with my iMac and MacBook, and already I've adjusted to working with the single trackpad and keyboard. It works so well, I accidentally found drag and drop file transfers work a treat too!

Latency is non-existent, feels the same as a directly plugged-in monitor.
 

theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
6,324
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Does Sidecar work between two Macs - or is it only Mac -> iPad?

Otherwise, it would be rather useful for anybody about to have a spare 5k iMac...
 
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torment12345

macrumors newbie
Aug 7, 2015
26
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Mine doesn't work at all...everything updated and right next to each other. One is on a wired connection and the other wireless....does this make a difference?

edit: yes they have to be on the same wifi. will not work being on different connections. (iMac Pro on 10gig and iPad Pro on 5G wifi)
 

Davidglenn

macrumors regular
Dec 3, 2014
135
170
I used Universal Control and Sidecar on my 2017 MBP and my iPad 6th generation in the RC Beta. I found it so useful with the extra real estate. Plus being able to control both. I will now test timmyh with a monitor and 2 IPads. That looks a great setup when I need more screens.
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,759
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I've been loving universal control. Sidecar is okay, but the PPI is way too small when using the iPad display next to a desktop monitor. Either the iPad has to be way too close or set to an unusably small resolution. UC lets the iPad be an iPad but you can seamlessly use it from the same hand position as your Mac. So far I've been keeping mail/twitter/messages on the iPad since the apps on iOS are way better than on Mac, and safari/Xcode/slack on Mac.
 

ScreenEstate

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2022
3
1
I think I accidentally did this when trying to set up Universal Control. All three monitors (my iMac, MacBook, and a display connected to the iMac) were mirroring my iMac display.
Hold on, so could you finally, say, use a Retina 5k iMac (Late 2015 e.g.) as a second screen for a 16" Macbook Pro using Sidecar? That would be a game changer for me. How much more lag would that create as opposed to a normal external screen?
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
847
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Edinburgh, UK
Hold on, so could you finally, say, use a Retina 5k iMac (Late 2015 e.g.) as a second screen for a 16" Macbook Pro using Sidecar? That would be a game changer for me. How much more lag would that create as opposed to a normal external screen?
Assuming it's supported, then yeah looks like you'll be able to use it (maybe as a spiritual successor to the "target display mode" that was nixed a while back).

Latency between my 2017 iMac 5K and 2020 16" MacBook is non-existent, however I'm using the mouse / keyboard sharing rather than screen extension.
 
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ScreenEstate

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2022
3
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Assuming it's a supported device, then yeah looks like you'll be able to use it (maybe as a spiritual successor to the "target display mode" that was nixed a while back).

Latency between my 2017 iMac 5K and 2020 16" MacBook is non-existent, however I'm using the mouse / keyboard sharing rather than screen extension.
Yeah it would be the new version of "target display mode".. Ive used sidecar with an iPad a lot and its great, but it's best when you connect via cable. How would you connect imac and Macbook via cable? With just a Thunderbolt cable?
 
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Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
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Yeah it would be the new version of "target display mode".. Ive used sidecar with an iPad a lot and its great, but it's best when you connect via cable. How would you connect imac and Macbook via cable? With just a Thunderbolt cable?
Sorry, I've just fiddled with this and I actually couldn't find a way to extend the display to my MacBook, but I was able to mirror from my built-in iMac display.

They print "beta" everywhere on this, so it might just be my setup, or it's something that they may introduce in the future. Sorry again if I got your hopes up!

I have the devices connected wirelessly, with an extra LG 5K monitor connected via a Thunderbolt -> DisplayPort cable.
 

ScreenEstate

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2022
3
1
I mean I could just sell the iMac and buy a Studio Screen instead, that would obviously be a better setup. But we really need some kind of target display mode again, it sucks to have a perfectly good screen with the iMac but not be able to hook it up to a modern computer.
 

beanbaguk

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
970
1,601
Europe
I suddenly got it working thanks to this PSA.

Works perfectly and very cool when transferring content to and from the iPad. Love it. (I already used sidecar for a couple of years)
 
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