Universal Control is an excellent feature for Macs and iPads that allows a single keyboard and mouse to seamlessly control up to three devices. Universal Control arrived with macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4, but there are cases where the older Sidecar feature is the better option—and it’s still there.
Universal Control vs. Sidecar
Universal Control is a feature that arrived with macOS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4. Once you set up Universal Control, you can push your mouse pointer through the edge of one device’s screen and onto another. This means seamless control over up to three Macs and iPads, as long as at least one device is a Mac. You can copy and paste from one device to the next, drag-and-drop files to copy them, and generally forget you’re using different systems. However, each device is still running its own apps and you can’t drag windows from one screen to the next.
Sidecar allows an iPad to act as an external monitor for a Mac, using a wireless or wired connection. The experience is exactly the same as using an external monitor, with an added virtual Touch Bar and Apple Pencil integration for macOS.
How to Get Sidecar Back
If you’ve updated to the latest version of macOS and iPadOS, the default feature is now Universal Control, but Sidecar has not been removed. Switching between these two modes is actually quite easy.
First, click on the Apple logo at the top left corner of the macOS screen, then select “System Preferences”.
Under “System Preferences,” select “Displays.”
If your iPad hasn’t been connected yet as either a Sidecar or Universal Control device, click on “Add Display”.
Now make a choice between “Link Keyboard and Mouse”, which is Universal Control, or “Mirror or extend to,” which is Sidecar.
If you don’t see your iPad at all, make sure that both devices are signed in to the same iCloud account.
If your iPad is already running in Universal Control mode, select “Display Settings” on the “Displays” window instead.
Now choose your iPad from the lefthand pane, and open the “Use as” dropdown menu.
Finally, select “Extended or mirrored display” to activate Sidecar.
If you want to switch back, change this option to “Linked keyboard and mouse.”