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I may be misunderstanding how Universal Control works/what it's meant to do, so hopefully this isn't a dumb question - but I think that I should be able to use my keyboard and mouse to control two MacBook Pro's that are sitting side-by-side (provided the requirements are met).

  • I have two MacBook Pro's - 2021 w/ M1 chip, both running macOS Monterey with no pending updates (ie, both are up to date).

  • Both machines are connected to the same 5Ghz Wi-Fi network, both have Bluetooth enabled and are sitting an inch apart on my desk.

  • Both machines are logged into the same iCloud account.

  • Both machines have universal control enabled under Display settings

    Universal Control preferences macOS Monterey

  • Both machines have Hand off to iCloud enabled:

    Handoff preference macOS Monterey

  • The firewall is disabled for both the machines.

I think basic universal control connectivity is established - Universal control for sharing of clipboard contents works fine - I can copy/paste between the two machines.

Universal Control for sharing a display works - I can see the other MacBook under Add Display and when I connect to it, I can extend my desktop from one machine on to the other (which is not what I'm trying to achieve - this is basically using the second MacBook as monitor where as I want to use it as a separate machine but be able to use a single keyboard/mouse setup for both)

What I'm expecting to be able to happen, is to push the mouse thru the edge of one screen and have it show up/control the other macbook - ie, be able to control the keyboard/mouse on the secondary machine from my primary machine.

Should I be able to do this or am I misunderstanding what Universal Control does?

Is there anything else I can try (other than rebooting the machines repeatedly and logging in/out of the same iCloud account which I have already tried on both machines).

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  • Welcome to Ask Different :) When you click on the Add Display dropdown under the Displays preference pane, are you able to see Link Keyboard and Mouse section as shown: i.stack.imgur.com/vUs9r.png ?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Aug 8, 2022 at 2:10
  • No - I can see only "Mirror or Extend To" under the Add Display dropdown - no "Link Keyboard and Mouse" (which I guess is what I need to be seeing for this to work). Strangely though I only get that option available on one of the macbooks - the other Macbook has only a Display Settings button instead of the "Add Display" option - despite it allowing it's screen to be shared. I've done a number of further log out/in to iCloud and reboot cycles with no luck - suspect beyond a hard reset/install there's not much I can do other than wait til the next OS release cycle.... Aug 11, 2022 at 19:21
  • Join the club, for some of us Universal Control is just unusable. It works on a clean new install for a few days and then simply... stops. No clue why or how to fix. I've done a lot of troubleshooting here and Apple are completely useless: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/444208/…
    – Hackeron
    Aug 14, 2022 at 23:01
  • No progress on this issue?
    – 2540625
    Dec 1, 2022 at 20:53

2 Answers 2

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OMG! - After literally months of trying to find a solution, what I did was change my iCloud account password, when you do this, make sure you tick "sign out all devices".

This is a pain because it resets your app specific passwords, it signs out your phone, ipad, everything, but once I've re-signed in, followed by shutting off all devices, after booting, I can now move my mouse between a Macbook Pro M1, a Mac Mini M1 and an iPad Air 3!

I hope this lasts as this is game changing functionality!

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  • I agree, this is a fantastic feature. I wish it had an explicit connect or some form of debug. It does get confused every so often. It seems related to one machine wanting to do an update, but that is a complete guess.
    – jj2f1
    Mar 7 at 16:11
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Problem fixed - for a (I believe) unrelated iCloud issue I was prompted to check for OS updates. One of the devices turned out to still be on 12.3 (vs the other running 12.5). I had assumed that because no updates were presenting as pending that both machines were up to date, and on the same version.

Updating the 12.3 machine to 12.5 enabled the Share keyboard/mouse option. I suspect it wasn't anything to do with the version so much as doing the OS update triggering something internal.

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  • I remember reading several articles/posts on Universal Control only working when all involved devices had been updated to the most recent release. So versions seem to be important here.
    – nohillside
    Aug 15, 2022 at 4:08
  • @nohillside I can corroborate this. I can't get my work laptop, which is still on Monterey, to recognize my personal laptop which is on Ventura. Guess I'll have to wait until admin approves Ventura. >:|
    – Mike S.
    Dec 22, 2022 at 19:20

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