There's good news inside iPadOS 15.5 and macOS Monterey 12.4, which Apple is getting ready to release: when you get the free updates on your iPad and MacBook, iMac or Mac mini, the really clever Universal Control feature will finally come out of beta – which means Apple reckons it's solid enough for everybody to use rather than just brave beta testers. I've used it with my M1 MacBook Pro and my iPad Air, and it's one of those technologies that feels a little bit like magic.
As MacRumors reports (opens in new tab), the beta label on Universal Control has been removed in the release candidates of the two OS updates. Release candidates are the near-final versions that Apple uses to find any last-minute bugs or glitches after it's worked its way through the bigger stuff, so the updates should be arriving very soon.
What is Universal Control and why should you care?
Universal Control is a new feature that enables you to use a single keyboard and mouse/trackpad with multiple Apple devices, so for example I'm typing this on a magic keyboard in front of my Mac; with Universal Control I could use that keyboard and my mouse with my iPad too. The devices remain independent, so my Mac is still a Mac and my iPad is still my iPad, but I can switch between them as easily as I can switch between open apps.
It's a great feature but unfortunately it's only available to users of relatively recent hardware: if your Mac can't run or you don't want it to run Monterey or you've got an old iPad that can't run iOS 15 then you're out of luck. You can still use Sidecar to extend or display your Mac desktop to your iPad, though: that supports Macs running macOS Catalina and most iPads running iPadOS 13 or later.