When Apple demonstrated its new Universal Control feature during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote back in June 2021, it made Apple fans drool. Too bad Cupertino made everyone wait longer than expected to get their hands on it.
But now, Universal Control is finally in beta testing ahead of its public release, and the anticipatory drool is once again flowing — especially among those who get to test it out.
The owner of today’s iMac Pro-based featured setup, a game developer and blogger, is no exception.
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Apple’s Universal Control
Redditor BacioiuC extolled the virtues of Universal Control in beta as part of his post titled, “My Universal Control Desk Setup for Game Dev and Blogging.”
“UC is one of my favourite things Apple ever did!” he exclaimed. He’s apparently making the most of it with his setup, which features a 27-inch iMac Pro (comes with Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse), an M1 Pro MacBook Pro and an iPad Air 4. And you can also spot a Sony PlayStation controller on the right side of the dimly lit photograph.
He said he uses the iMac Pro for game development and programming. He sets the MacBook Pro to work for business tasks, writing articles and as the main point of control for his setup as a whole. The iPad handles tasks and to-do lists, email, YouTube video playback, game testing, and game play for his blog reviews of various game titles.
UC lets Apple gear works together like magic
So, how does Universal Control help him?
“I have to build a massive xcode project or Unity needs to do lightmapping or raytracing and it bogs down the system? I have two more systems left to work with,” he wrote on MacRumors forum. “And this is something no multi monitor setup is going to save you from. I can let the iMac Pro crunch what it needs to crunch and I can continue my meetings/videos/work on the M1 Macbook or the Air 4.”
Cult of Mac asked him what that vintage-looking display on the right is for, if anything.
“Old monitor is a Performa Plus Monitor from Apple, from 1994 IIRC,” he replied. “I have it hooked up to a Color Classic II from 1993 for retro game development (I make and release games for old computers). You can see a C64 just above the iMac Pro in the picture and there are a few more just outside of view.”
BacioiuC also wrote on his blog about his favorite games to play using Universal Control on an iPad.
Anyway, with Universal Control in the picture, his movements from one (modern) device to another amid all those tasks becomes much more seamless. As some would say, moving across devices even becomes … magical.
What is Universal Control?
Universal Control is a new Continuity feature in macOS Monterey. It allows you to wirelessly connect multiple Apple devices and use them all with a single keyboard and mouse. You just have to make sure the devices are near each other and logged into the same iCloud account.
If that sounds like Sidecar, rolled out in 2019, take note that it’s not. Sidecar makes an iPad into a secondary display for a Mac. Universal Control blends usage of iPadOS and macOS using the same Bluetooth connection and input devices.
You can read much more about using it in Killian Bell’s recent article for Cult of Mac, in which he calls Universal Control “one of Apple’s most magical features yet.” And, given the Cupertino tech giant’s penchant for magical products, that’s saying something.
In his dive into the beta version, Bell praises Universal Control’s easy setup. He also describes the real feel of using it, the delightful little surprises that come along as you get used to it, and explains who will find it most useful and more.
Shop these items now:
- 27-inch iMac Pro
- 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro
- iPad Air 4
- Sony PlayStation 4
- Ikea Alex shelf with drawers (on desk)
If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.