I love Apple’s Universal Control feature. For those unfamiliar with it, Universal Control allows me to control my Mac computer and two other devices (two iPads) with one keyboard and mouse. It’s a lovely feature. I have an iPad on each side of the Mac and vacillate using all three displays. It’s called Low-Tech Grandma Geek Heaven! This, from the woman who used to think that more than one screen was overkill. My, how things change!
Having a Heavenly Experience Until It Wasn’t
I happily got things done on my iPads and Mac using Universal Control. All was going well until it wasn’t. Over time, I noticed that the mouse would disappear, and the keyboard would stop working. The disconnect only happened when I was using one of the iPad screens.
I’d wiggle the mouse trying to find the pointer, but it hid from me, and the keyboard was non-responsive. What gives?
After several seconds (it seemed like minutes), I’d find the mouse pointer, and the keyboard would start responding. Being new to the Mac and iPad ecosystem, I assumed I had inadvertently hit a key to make things go kablooey. Once things recovered, I returned to getting work done until it happened again.
Disconnecting More Frequently
This new annoying anomaly started occurring more frequently. It got to the point where it disconnected every 3 to 4 minutes. Talk about being frustrated.
Thinking the problem was my Wi-Fi connection, I plugged one iPad into the back of the Studio display and the other into the Mac Mini. Everything was wired, so there’s no excuse for the disconnecting behavior.
At first, things were working just fine, but that only lasted for 25 minutes (yes, I timed it). After that, the quick disconnection resumed.
It caused me to look online to see if anyone else had the same problem. Lo and behold, there were several people with the same problem.
Fiddling Around in Settings
As I said before, I’m new to the full Apple ecosystem (I’ve only had the Mac for a few months). My Mac uses Sonoma, and both iPads are up to date with version 17.1. One of the first things in troubleshooting is ensuring you have the updated software, which I did.
Next, I went back into the Settings and finagled with all the controls as outlined by the Apple support team. I turned the computers off and on. Thinking that would solve the problem, I went back to work.
Disconnection Problem not Solved
Much to my dismay, the problem was not solved. After a while, I started to think it was the Logitech MX keyboard (Amazon affiliate link). Several folks with this same issue are using the Logitech MX keyboard. However, after reading further in the forum, this same glitch happened with Apple’s Magic keyboard. Since there were various keyboard brands, I discounted the fact that the Logitech MX was the problem. I kept digging.
This is Not a New Problem
Apparently, this is not a new issue. From what I can see, it’s been happening for over a year. All troubleshooting fixes I’ve read are pretty much the same, and none fixes the problem.
Part of the issue in diagnosing the problem is that Universal Control disconnects sporadically. It’s something akin to having an electrical issue in a car. The problem doesn’t always occur, but there’s definitely a problem.
I don’t have a solution and will continue to search for one. Meanwhile, I’ve slightly altered how I work to reduce my frustration when things disconnect. I genuinely enjoy using the Universal Connection feature when it works properly. However, when it doesn’t, it’s not worth using.
Universal Control Troubleshooting Sites
In case you’re interested, here are a few of the troubleshooting recommendations I came across in my search (unfortunately, they didn’t solve my problem):