How to get the universal control feature of macOS Monterey on Windows and Linux

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At WWDC 2021, Apple wowed everyone with SharePlay and Universal Control features on the new beta of macOS Monterey. Apple demonstrated how to use a single keyboard and a single mouse to control other macOS and iPadOS devices. That said, the technology has been around for a while, and apps like Synergy and Barrier have been doing it for many years. Still, if you want to know how to get macOS Monterey Universal Control functionality on Windows, Linux, and older versions of macOS, this guide will help you set it up in a few simple steps. So without further ado, let’s dive into it.

Get the universal control feature of macOS Monterey on Windows and Linux (2021)

In this tutorial we will be using Barrier, an open source application, which lets you share your mouse and keyboard between Windows, Linux, and macOS devices. Its functionality is similar to the Universal Control feature on macOS Monterey. The best part is that Barrier is completely free and also offers clipboard sharing and keyboard shortcuts. Synergy is also a great alternative, but it’s a paid app ($ 29).

For this feature to work, remember that both of your devices must be on the same Wi-Fi network. Also, in this guide I show the steps using Mac and Windows 10 PC, but the steps are the same for Linux as well. As for the Linux installation steps, I’ll mention them at the bottom. So here’s how to go about it.

Configure the barrier on macOS to use the universal control feature

1. First, open the Barrier GitHub page and download the latest DMG file.

2. Then open the DMG file and you will find the Barrier application. Copy it and paste it in the “Applications”Directory.

Get the macOS Monterey Universal Control feature on Windows and Linux (2021)

3. Now open the Barrier application, and you will get a security prompt.

Get the macOS Monterey Universal Control feature on Windows and Linux (2021)

4. To ignore the prompt, open System Preferences and navigate to “Security and confidentiality“. Here, click on “Open anyway” in the “General” section.

Get the macOS Monterey Universal Control feature on Windows and Linux (2021)

5. Then click on “Open“on the security prompt.

Get the macOS Monterey Universal Control feature on Windows and Linux (2021)

6. Finally, Barrier will open on your Mac. Here, the Mac will act as a server. Therefore note the IP address mentioned above. Finally, click on “Reload” and minimize the application.

Get the macOS Monterey Universal Control feature on Windows and Linux (2021)

Configure the gate on Windows to use the universal control feature of macOS Monterey

1. On Windows, the installation process is fairly straightforward. Open the Barrier GitHub page and download the latest exe drop off.

Configure the barrier on Windows

2. After that, double click on the EXE file and install the application.

Configure the barrier on Windows

3. Once installed, open Barrier and click on the “Customer“check box. After that, uncheck the” Automatic configuration “box and enter the IP address of the Mac you wrote down above in step # 6.

Configure the barrier on Windows

4. Now, write down the “Screen name” of your Windows 10 PC and click “ReloadIn a few seconds you will get a prompt. Click on “Allow / Yes.”

Configure the barrier on Windows

Share mouse and keyboard similar to the universal control feature of macOS Monterey

1. Well, you’re almost done and ready to share a mouse and keyboard between two PCs. There is one final step you need to configure before you can interact with multiple systems using a single mouse and keyboard. Go back to your Mac and click on “Configure the server”.

Configure the barrier on macos

2. Then drag monitor icon from the top right corner to where your PC is actually positioned – referring to your Mac. It will allow you to easily move your cursor from one screen to another.

Configure the barrier on macos

3. After that, double click on the monitor icon and enter the exactly the same screen name you noted above in step 4. After that, click “OK” twice.

Configure the barrier on macos

4. Now recharge the barrier on your Mac and Windows PC. There you go, you can also use your Mac’s keyboard and mouse to control your PC. In my experience, it worked well and you can check out a quick demo here:

5. Note that Barrier also offers drag-and-drop file transfers, as does macOS Monterey’s new Universal Control feature. But I couldn’t get it to work on my end. Transferring files using the traditional copy and paste method also didn’t work for me. however, clipboard sharing worked really good. And there is no shake when moving between different screens. You can configure these options from “Configure server -> Advanced server settings”.

Configure the barrier on macos

Configure the barrier on Linux

Barrier can easily be installed on Ubuntu through its Software Center. It’s also available through the Snap Store on Ubuntu. For other Debian based operating systems, you can simply run this command to install the software.

sudo apt install barrier

barrier under linux

Control multiple systems with one keyboard and one mouse

This is how you can experience universal control not only on your Mac devices, but also between computers running different operating systems. And the best part is that you can add as many devices as you want within the Barrier network. Anyway, it all comes from us in this alternative guide for macOS Monterey Universal Control feature.

Also, if you want to get the Hide My Email feature from iCloud on Windows and Android, go to our related guide and give it a try. Also, to make a FaceTime call between iPhone and Android, which is now possible, we have concocted a simple tutorial. And if you have any questions about the mouse and keyboard share bit, let us know in the comments section below.


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