How Universal Control differs from Sidecar?

How Universal Control differs from Sidecar? The operation of the Apple ecosystem is legendary. Most gadgets complement each other so well that it is almost impossible to refuse one of them – not that. One of the most interesting features of the combination of the two devices is the Sidecar function.

You place the iPad next to the Mac, press a few buttons, and use the tablet as a second monitor. More recently, Apple introduced us to a new feature – Universal Control. At first glance, it is completely incomprehensible – why is it necessary, if there is already Sidecar? This is what I propose to talk about in the article.

There are many differences between universal control and truth. In fact, they are two fundamentally different chips.

I have been using Sidecar technology for years now. The feature is really very useful. You can place your iPad next to your Mac and easily split your work across two screens. Most often I work with text on the main monitor, and using the iPad I interact with various images, since there is an Apple Pencil, it is more convenient to draw with them. The only downside that has been noticed is that the macOS app interface on the iPad is not very nice. It’s all about the aspect ratio. But Apple recently rolled out a feature that completely fixes this problem.

How to Make iPad a Second Monitor for Mac

To begin, I suggest you talk about Sidecar. As I said, the function allows duplicate Mac displays on iPad screens. In effect, you get a second Mac screen on your tablet. You can drag and drop some programs here and work with them easily.

At the same time, the iron resource of the iPad is almost not used. Mac is the leader of this group. For better understanding, imagine that you simply connected a second monitor to your computer and expanded the workspace.

How Universal Control differs from Sidecar

Here’s what a bunch of iPad Macs using Sidecar will look like.

The main convenience of Sidecar is that to connect the iPad you just have to place it next to you and press a few buttons:

  • Sign in to the same Apple ID on two devices.
  • Click the icon with two toggle switches in the top bar of macOS.
  • Next, click on the icon labeled Screen Repeat (AirPlay).
  • Select from the list of available iPad monitors.
  • It’s done, now the iPad will be an extension of the Mac screen.

This is what the second Mac monitor looks like. There are touch buttons on the side.

But, friends, you have to admit, it would be cool to see such a tool that would fully reveal the capabilities of the iPad itself. Still, there is a lot of power in it. Have you ever seen the iPad Air 5? Why should a tablet lose its full potential when doing this type of work?

I will explain with an example. I edit almost all of my images on the iPad. If I need to edit an image that’s on my Mac, I AirDrop it onto my iPad, then process it on my tablet. But I don’t want to drop anything, I just want to drag and drop the file to the iPad with the cursor on the Mac. And Universal Control gives just such an opportunity.

What is Universal Control?

universal control is a technology that allows you to control multiple Apple devices at the same time. Simply put, if you connect an iPad to a Mac, almost nothing will change on the tablet. You can also use it with finger taps or an Apple Pencil. However, it will add a Mac slider and the ability to drag and drop all photos, videos, and other content from the Mac to the iPad. This main difference with Sidecarwhen docked, the iPad simply mirrors Mac’s screen.

You can use your Mac’s trackpad and keyboard to control two other devices. At the same time, everyone works with their own operating system.

If you have several Macs or a tablet at home, this is very practical. Imagine: there is the main computer on which you work all the time. Then you need to drag the file from one device to another without getting distracted. Just take the trackpad from your computer and transfer it to your iPad. Then go to Photos, find the desired image on the tablet and drag it to the computer desktop. Costs? Very!

Which Macs and iPads support Universal Control?

Apple technology has been renowned for many years for its long-term support. It seems to me that it would be blasphemy to remove Universal Control for older models of computers and tablets. And here we must pay tribute to the guys from Cupertino. The list of supported devices is exactly the same as in Sidecar:

  • MacBook (2016 and newer);
  • MacBook Air (2018 and newer);
  • MacBook Pro (2016 and newer);
  • iMac (2017 and newer);
  • iMac (5K Retina 27″ or later);
  • iMac Pro;
  • Mac mini (2018 and newer);
  • Mac Pro.

The list of supported iPads is a little poorer:

  • iPad (6th generation and later);
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later);
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later);
  • iPad Pro (2018 and newer).

Also, keep in mind that for Universal Control to work, you’ll need to update your Mac to ‌macOS Monterey‌ 12.3and to work with the iPad you will need iPadOS 15.4.

Sidecar was also touted as a breakthrough feature and not all devices supported it. But now these demands seem to come naturally. Just enough to ride iPadOS 13 And macOS Catalina.

How to Enable Universal Control

I tested Universal Control on iPad Air 2020 and MacBook Pro 2020. Everything started very quickly, there were no problems. Of course, Apple itself warns in the settings of this chip that everything works in beta mode. No lag was noticed, but the cursor still doesn’t move as smoothly as we’d like. It is possible that on two Macs everything is faster.

To enable universal control you need:

We are only interested in binding the keyboard and mouse. Do not confuse the item with settings.

If you’re using an iPad for these purposes, follow the instructions:

  • Go to Settings on your iPad.
  • Next, open the General, AirPlay and Handoff sections.
  • Activate the toggle switches in front of the Handoff and Cursor and Keyboard.

Enable Handoff on iPad.

It’s interesting that Universal Control and Sidecar can work at the same time. Activate Universal Control first, then switch to Sidecar mode. I doubt it’s some kind of bug. It’s just that Sidecar works as a separate app, and Universal Control simply complements the capabilities of two devices.

How Universal Control differs from Sidecar?

In reality, Compare Sidecar and Universal Control is not quite correct. They are completely different functions offering different possibilities. But if you bluntly explain all the differences, the following will come out:

  • Universal Control lets you control multiple devices at once (Mac and iPad). Sidecar only works with Mac and iPad.
  • Sidecar only extends the Mac display to iPad, while Universal Control lets you experience iPadOS to the fullest with your Mac mouse and keyboard.
  • Sidecar works both wired and wireless. Universal Control operates exclusively through a shared Wi-Fi network.
  • To work, Universal Control has higher requirements for hardware and version of operating systems on Mac and iPad.

The chip is really very useful, but it looks very stupid. How many users do you think need such a feature on an ongoing basis? I personally think it won’t be too popular. What do you think? Give your opinion in our Telegram chat or in the comments below, it will be interesting to read.