How to use one keyboard with two Macs

If you’re in the unique situation of needing to use two Macs at once, the task can be made easier if you can control both of them with one keyboard. Here are a couple of ways to do it. It is also possible to use the same mouse as we explain here: How to share one keyboard and mouse with multiple Macs.

Universal Control

Universal Control lets you share a mouse and keyboard across multiple Macs and iPads that are in proximity and logged in to the same Apple ID account. It has its limits:

  • You need the correct Macs (running macOS Monterey version 12.4 or later) and iPads (iPadOS 15.4 or later); click the link above for minimum models.
  • Your Mac has to be logged in, as Universal Control relies on Continuity’s Handoff feature, which only works while an account is active.
  • If you use fast-user switching on a Mac, this can kill Universal Control and may require logging out and back in, even if you’re using the same Apple ID on multiple accounts on the same Mac.

Switchable Bluetooth keyboard

If you don’t meet all the criteria or simply want (as one Macworld reader does) one keyboard for two Macs and can’t achieve that because of the login requirement, you can opt for a particular kind of Bluetooth keyboard–one with switchable support for two or more host connections. We have some Bluetooth keyboards in our round up of the Best Keyboards for Mac.

Several models from multiple companies exist, with Logitech offering the most different options.

While you can also get multi-device mouses (from Logitech and others), you may not need one if you’re just looking for login support. macOS lets you use tab and keyboard features to select accounts and perform all the login screen actions required.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Paul.

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently, along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@macworld.com, including screen captures as appropriate and whether you want your full name used. Not every question will be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.

We also discuss How to share one keyboard and mouse with multiple Macs (and sometimes iPads) here.


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