How to enable Universal Control in macOS Monterey beta 5

macOS Monterey was announced in June at WWDC 2021 with a new feature called Universal Control, which will allow users to control an iPad or even another Mac using their main computer's keyboard and mouse. Unfortunately, this feature was never available to beta users, but a developer has found a way to partially enable Universal Control in macOS Monterey beta 5.


The feature can be enabled by changing some internal files in the operating system, similar to how users could revert to the old Safari in the first beta version of macOS Monterey. The process isn't exactly difficult, but modifying system files can always lead to other problems, so keep this in mind before trying.


Developer Zhuowei Zhang (via MacRumors) has shared the codes you need to enable Universal Control on a supported Mac on GitHub. To make things easier, you can download the file from GitHub to simply move it to the correct folder on your Mac.


After downloading the file that contains the correct tags, move it to the following folder: / Library / Preferences / FeatureFlags / Domain / - if the folder does not exist, you can create it manually. Since this is an internal macOS folder, you may need to disable System Integrity Protection on your Mac before modifying it. You can read more about how to disable SIP in this article on Apple's website.


After moving the file to the correct folder, a simple reboot should enable Universal Control on your Mac. It's worth noting that the feature requires a 2016 or later Mac with iCloud and Handoff enabled.


How does it work?


One thing to note is that Universal Control can only be used with another Mac by following this method. Since there is no way to modify iPadOS 15 internal files without jailbreak, Universal Control will not work with an iPad at this time.


In my tests with two Macs (an Intel MacBook Pro and an M1 MacBook Air), Universal Control worked as promised. I was able to move the cursor from one Mac to another, as well as play gestures and type on both Macs using the same keyboard. The lag is barely noticeable and I was also able to move files between Macs using just the mouse.


At this point, it's unclear why Universal Control isn't officially available in the macOS Monterey beta. Perhaps this could be due to some issue on the iPadOS side, or Apple is planning to delay the feature for a future release.


Of course, this method was tested only with macOS Monterey beta 5 and may not work with future beta versions.

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