How to Turn Off Universal Control or Disconnect Mac or iPad

Universal Control is an exciting new feature, but losing your Mac cursor on another device can be frustrating. Turning Universal Control off can help!

Since it was announced in June 2021, Mac users have been excited to try Universal Control. This feature, just released by Apple, lets you control other Mac and iPad devices from a central Mac and use its keyboard, mouse, and keypad across the connected devices. While this can be useful, it is also possible to accidentally type on the wrong device or lose your Mac cursor on other screens. I’ll teach you how to turn Universal Control off and temporarily disconnect other devices.

What's in This Guide:

How to Turn Off Universal Control

If you keep losing your Mac cursor by accidentally moving it onto another device screen, you may want to turn Universal Control off while you aren't using it. You can simply turn of Bluetooth or WiFi on your Mac or iPad, but you may need to use these for other reasons. You can disconnect from the device, but it may reconnect automatically. To turn off Universal Control: 

  1. Click on your Mac's Apple icon.

    Click on your Mac's Apple icon.
  2. Select System Preferences.

    Select System Preferences.
  3. Click Displays.

    Click Displays.
  4. Click Universal Control....

    Click Universal Control....
  5. Uncheck Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad.

    Uncheck Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad.
  6. Click Done.

    Click Done.

Keep in mind that you will have to select it again before using Universal Control in the future.

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How to Disconnect Devices from Universal Control: Method 1

  1. On your Mac, open the Control Center.

    On your Mac, open the Control Center.
  2. Click on the blue display icon. Once it is gray, you are disconnected.

    Click on the blue display icon. Once it is gray, you are disconnected.

How to Disconnect Devices from Universal Control: Method 2

For this to be possible, make sure you have Universal Control settings in your Mac's Menu Bar. Then:

  1. On your Mac, tap the display icon in your Menu Bar.

    On your Mac, tap the display icon in your Menu Bar.
  2. Under Link keyboard and mouse to, tap on the device you wish to disconnect.

    Under Link keyboard and mouse to:, tap on the device you wish to disconnect.
  3. If it is highlighted blue, it is connected, if it is gray, it is disconnected.

    If it is highlighted blue, it is connected, if it is gray, it is disconnected.
  4. If your iPad or Mac is awake, you can reconnect them by dragging your Mac's cursor to the either side of your display just like you did during set up.

    If your iPad or Mac is awake, you can reconnect them by dragging your Mac's cursor to the either side of your display just like you did during set up.

If you've checked the box to enable Universal Control to connect to nearby Macs and iPads automatically, the device may reconnect on its own. In this case, you may want to turn Universal Control off completely. I recommend adding Display settings to your Menu Bar for quicker access.

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Now you know how to disconnect devices from your controlling Mac and how to turn off Universal Control completely. If you experience any issues, check out these troubleshooting tricks. For more tips like this, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. Don’t forget to listen to our Why We’re Wild for Universal Control podcast episode!

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.