Apple’s Latest Releases Bring Universal Control and Unlocking Your iPhone With a Mask On

Apple’s Latest Releases Bring Universal Control and Unlocking Your iPhone With a Mask On
Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Universal Control has finally arrived. Apple’s long-awaited feature debuts today with the release of macOS Monterey 12.3, which brings a handful of other welcome additions.

But first, let’s talk Universal Control. I tested the beta for the feature around two months ago and was amazed by how seamless it all worked. For the uninitiated, Universal Control lets Apple gadget owners use a single input — a mouse, touchpad, or keyboard — across multiple Macs and iPads.

When I tested the feature on a MacBook Pro 13 and iPad mini, it worked just as advertised. Once those devices were updated to iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3, an invisible bridge formed between them that my cursor could automatically cross to transfer between the two. Using the feature is as simple as placing the devices near each other and pushing your cursor beyond the phony wall as if it were platform 9 and 3/4-style.

With your cursor jumping between the two software realms, you can easily drag-and-drop files from an iPad to a Mac and vice versa. It also lets you use a Mac keyboard and trackpad on your iPad so you don’t have to connect another accessory to the tablet. With its wide OTA rollout today, macOS Monterey 12.3 can now be downloaded on all eligible Macs from the Software Update section in System Preferences. Keep in mind that Apple is still labelling Universal Control as a beta despite making it available to all users.

The software update brings a few other additions, including 37 new emojis, improvements to spatial audio, and another voice for Siri. Those emoji include melting face, biting lip, heart hands, bubbles, beans, face with diagonal mouth, eggs, and low battery, while Spatial Audio for M1 Macs now supports dynamic head tracking.

Also released today — a week after Apple revealed its new Mac Studio, Studio Display, and iPhone SE at its “Peek performance” event — are iPadOS 15.4 and iOS 15.4, the latest versions of Apple’s iPad and iPhone operating systems. Where the tablets received support for Universal Control, the big addition to iOS is the ability to use Face ID to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask.