Universal Control brings M2 MacBook Air and M1 iPad Air together [Setups]


No external display? No problem!
No external display? No problem!
Photo: slindner1995@Reddit.com

Who says you need an external display in your computer setup? Some people get by just fine without some big, expensive monitor and whatever hub and cables it might require. Instead, they rely on their devices’ built-in screens.

And doing that, the owner of today’s featured setup takes advantage of Universal Control. That helps him work seamlessly across an M2 MacBook Air and an M1 iPad Air mounted on stands.

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M2 MacBook Air and iPad Air convene via Universal Control in setup with no external display

Redditor slindner1995 (“Slin”) showcased her brother’s tidy WFH setup in a post entitled, “Brothers WFH (he doesn’t use Reddit but wanted me to post).”

The compact setup occupies a small desk, and no doubt has an easier time doing so without a big external display taking up space. Instead, an M2 MacBook Air in the color Midnight and an M1 iPad Air sit open and side-by-side on stands.

“He uses his Teams app on the iPad,” Slin said. “It’s controlled by his keyboard and mouse using Universal Control so he can drag the mouse back and forth between the two. Makes sure he doesn’t miss any messages.”

Perfect use of Universal Control

Together, the two Apple devices create a dual-display setup that’s easy to navigate through Apple’s Universal Control functionality, as Slin mentioned. Cupertino put it out with macOS Monterey 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4 in March after numerous delays.

The functionality lets the user go back and forth between Mac and iPad, working and dragging and dropping files from one to the other, using one set of input devices.

In this case, those input devices are a silver-and-black Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and numeric keypad and a black Magic Trackpad 2.

No external display is not for everyone, though

Not that commenters could easily accept a setup post showing no external displays. A lot of setups gloriously splashed across social media sites have several.

“Setups like this look nice, but I feel bad for people that sit behind this 8/9 hours a day,” said one.

“Exactly. I think this is for some kind of light work I believe (I don’t want to be pre judging) but for 8 hours a day and a demanding job a big monitor is what you need, mostly,” said another.

And yet Skin’s brother seems satisfied working from home on this compact, no-nonsense setup. By the way, the only other items it includes are a MagSafe charger in a wooden holder, a set of AirPods, an old-school desk lamp and a house plant.

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. 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.


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