Okay, Apple’s drag-and-drop demo was actually pretty cool


At today’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple showed off its new version of macOS, and with it a feature called Universal Control, which lets you use your Mac’s mouse or trackpad to control the cursor on an iPad or other Mac screen. , taking you in and across multiple devices. It doesn’t sound groundbreaking on paper, but Craig Federighi did something really cool during the demo: he moved his cursor on an iPad, then clicked on a photo and dragged it across two other computers to place it in a Final Cut timeline.

The feature is called Universal Control and could be incredible if it really works that well.

While Logitech’s Flow and programs like synergy have similarly allowed users to jump between computers with ease, it’s usually not that impressive in real life – some solutions require special hardware, some don’t really support drag and drop, and some have complicated settings. Apple’s version seems seamless.

It’s worth noting that, according to Apple’s site, there are a few minor caveats to Universal Control – it only works with three devices (so Apple showed its full capabilities in this demo), and it won’t work on every device you get. of the new versions of macOS and iPadOS.

Here is the list of Macs that can launch Universal Control:

  • MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
  • MacBook (2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 and later)
  • iMac (2017 and later)
  • iMac (5K Retina 27-inch, Late 2015)
  • Mac mini (2018 and later)
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro 2019

As for iPads, it works with:

  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (6th generation and later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

While the feature works with iPads, it needs to be launched on the Mac — if you’re hoping to slingshot a file to your Mac with an Apple Pencil or your finger, you’re out of luck (as nice as that sounds).

Apple says the feature requires no setup (except your two devices are signed in with the same Apple ID and have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff enabled), but until we actually use it, there’s no way to know how fast and could be reliable. Will it work every time you put your iPad next to your iMac, or will you find yourself tapping your fingers on the desk and waiting for them to realize they should communicate?

Obviously we need to see how Universal Control works in real life, but the demo makes it seem like everything, as the saying goes, just works – Federighi brought the computers close together and was able to move between keyboards, mice and screens. It makes for an incredible demo, alluding to the eternal dream of computers: being able to just use all your devices together, regardless of their form factor or operating system (although this version of the dream, of course, ignores non-Apple devices).