How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Apple’s Macs and iPads include support for a feature called Sidecar, designed to let you use your iPad as a secondary display for your Mac. Sidecar is quick, simple to use, and can either mirror content on your Mac or turn it into a secondary display for extra screen real estate no matter where you are.

This guide covers everything you need to know about Sidecar, from how to use it to compatibility to Apple Pencil integration.

How to Use Sidecar

Using Sidecar requires a compatible Mac running macOS Catalina or later and a compatible ‌iPad‌ running iOS 13 or later. There are multiple ways to activate Sidecar, all of which can be done from Catalina.

The easiest way to get to Sidecar is to use the AirPlay interface on the Mac. When you click the ‌AirPlay‌ icon at the top of the Menu bar (it’s the one that looks like a screen with an arrow), if you have an ‌iPad‌ that’s compatible with Sidecar, it will show up in the ‌AirPlay‌ list.

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From there, simply choose the ‌iPad‌ that you want to connect to and it will automatically turn on and be activated as a secondary Mac display.

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You can also get to Sidecar by clicking and holding the green window expansion button on any Mac app, and you can access Sidecar in the Sidecar section of System Preferences.

Using Sidecar

Sidecar is designed as a secondary Mac display, so it works like any other secondary display you might use with your Mac. You can drag windows from the Mac to the ‌iPad‌ and vice versa, and interact with both using your Mac’s trackpad.

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Sidecar is not designed to work with touch gestures, so while you can tap some on-screen control options or scroll through some webpages, you’re mostly meant to control things with either the trackpad or mouse of your Mac or with the ‌Apple Pencil‌. That’s because Sidecar is not meant to bring touch controls to Mac – it’s just a secondary display option.

Apple Pencil Integration

When using Sidecar, the ‌Apple Pencil‌ (first or second generation depending on your ‌iPad‌) serves as a mouse alternative for clicking, selecting, and other on-screen control tasks. Think of the ‌Apple Pencil‌ as a mouse or trackpad when using it with Sidecar.

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In apps like Photoshop and Illustrator, the ‌Apple Pencil‌ does even more. You can draw right in Photoshop or other similar Mac apps, which transforms the ‌iPad‌ into a graphics tablet for your Mac, not unlike a Wacom graphics tablet. It’s a great way to create art, edit photos, and more with the interactivity of your ‌Apple Pencil‌ but the power of your Mac.

Keyboard Integration

When using a keyboard like Apple’s Smart Keyboard with an ‌iPad‌, the keyboard serves as an alternative to the Mac keyboard, letting you type like you would on the Mac in any open window.

Wired or Wireless Connection

Your Mac can be connected to your ‌iPad‌ over a wired or wireless connection. For a wired connection, you’ll need an appropriate cable, such as a USB-C to USB-C cable for the newest ‌iPad‌ Pros or a USB-C to Lightning cable for Lightning-equipped ‌iPad‌ models.

Using a wired connection allows your ‌iPad‌ to charge and it should cut down on any latency issues you might see from a poor wireless connection. Using Sidecar over a wireless connection works well, though it might not work quite as well when connection speeds are low.

Using a wireless connection requires your ‌iPad‌ to be within 10 meters of your Mac, which is actually pretty far.

Touch Bar and Controls

Sidecar puts a control sidebar on your ‌iPad‌ for doing things like hiding or showing the dock, bringing up the on-screen keyboard, closing a window, or accessing controls like Shift, Command, Option, and Control.

Sidecar also adds a Touch Bar to the bottom of the ‌iPad‌, which is the same as the Touch Bar on the Touch Bar-compatible MacBook Pro models. Even if your Mac doesn’t naturally have a Touch Bar, these Touch Bar controls will show up.

Touch Bar controls will pop up for Apple apps and for third-party apps that have implemented support for the Touch Bar.

Accessing Sidecar Settings

If you click on the ‌AirPlay‌ icon while your Mac is connected to your ‌iPad‌, you can see some quick controls for doing things like hiding the sidebar or hiding the Touch Bar, and there’s also an option to swap between using the ‌iPad‌ as a separate display or mirroring the Mac’s current display.

Additional Sidecar options can be found by opening up System Preferences and choosing the Sidecar section. In this spot, you can move the sidebar to the left or the right of the screen, move the Touch Bar to the bottom or the top of the screen, or enable double tap on ‌Apple Pencil‌.

Sidecar Compatibility

Sidecar is limited to many newer Macs, and it is compatible with the following machines:

  • Late 2015 27″ iMac or newer
  • Mid 2016 MacBook Pro or newer
  • Late 2018 Mac mini or newer
  • Late 2018 MacBook Air or newer
  • Early 2016 MacBook or newer
  • 2019 Mac Pro
  • 2017 ‌iMac‌ Pro

Most older machines are blacklisted from taking advantage of Sidecar, but some older Macs can use the feature via a Terminal command provided by developer Steve Troughton-Smith. There are few details on this method, but those interested can check out our original article on compatibility.

On the ‌iPad‌, Sidecar is limited to ‌iPad‌ models that work with the ‌Apple Pencil‌, so older models that do not have ‌Apple Pencil‌ support can’t be used with Catalina. Compatible iPads include the following:

    : all models
  • ‌iPad‌ (6th generation) or later (5th generation) (3rd & 4th generation)

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Sidecar, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Apple’s Sidecar built-in feature acts as an extension to your Mac screen via your iPad. It gives Apple device users more bang for their buck by acquiring extra screen space using their own devices. Extending or mirroring your Mac screen is ideal for sharing files, presenting, or entertainment, etc.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

This article covers the steps for mirroring your Mac to your iPad using Sidecar and other options, including apps for mirroring your Mac to several devices. We’ll also go over how to mirror your iPad or an iPhone screen to your Mac.

How to Mirror a Mac to an iPad With Sidecar

For your Mac to connect to your iPad, both devices must be using the same Wi-Fi and Apple ID.

If you’re running macOS Big Sur, this is how to begin a Sidecar session:

  1. From the top right of your Mac, access the “Display” options from “Control Center” or the options bar.
  2. Select your iPad under “Connect To.”
    How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

If you’re running macOS Catalina:

  1. From the options bar, select the “AirPlay” symbol.
    How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar
  2. Select your iPad via the menu.
    How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

If the “AirPlay” symbol isn’t available, do this instead:

  1. From the top left, click on the Apple icon.
  2. Choose “System Preferences.”
  3. Select “Sidecar.”
  4. In the Sidecar popup window, choose your iPad via the “Connect To” drop-down menu.

To copy your Mac display’s content on your iPad:

  1. Access the “Display” options from “Control Center” or the “AirPlay” menu.
  2. The Airplay menu should display a blue iPad symbol while using Sidecar.
    How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar
  3. Select the choice to mirror your display.
    How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

You can disconnect your Sidecar session in a variety of ways:

  • If you’re running macOS Big Sur, access the “Display” options via “Control Center,” then select your iPad to stop the connection.
  • For macOS Catalina, go to the AirPlay options and select the “Disconnect” option.
  • In the side menu via your iPad, tap the “Disconnect” button.” Or in “Sidecar preferences” on your Mac.

How to Mirror Mac to iPad Without Sidecar

The Sidecar feature is only supported on recent Mac, iMac, and iPad models:

  • MacBook and MacBook Pro from 2016 or later.
  • MacBook Air from 2018 or newer.
  • iMac starting with 2015 models, iMac Pro, and Mac mini from 2018 onwards.
  • iPad Pro 9.7 inches, 10.5 inches, 11 inches, or 12.9 inches. Or iPad 6th Gen or later, 3rd Gen iPad Air or later, or an iPad Mini 5th Gen.

If your device doesn’t support Sidecar, don’t worry, you can still reap the Sidecar benefits by installing a third-party second screen app. Here are some suggestions:

Air Display

This popular second screen app, Air Display, uses a Wi-Fi connection to turn your iPad into a second screen. It can also connect to your iPhone and iPod; plus, you can extend or mirror up to four screens at once. When streaming between devices, users can still access and use other apps. It also provides a virtual keyboard, mouse input and caters to different setup combinations.
How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar


With iDisplay, you can connect a remarkable 36 devices to one computer, perfect if you need to take a class or practical for sharing documents and files. Its “Smart screen resolution” feature adjusts your extra screen to use each pixel in high resolution. Using Wi-Fi and USB connection, iDisplay supports macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android devices.
How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar


X-Mirage is an AirPlay server (advanced screen mirroring receiver for Mac and PCs) to facilitate

users mirroring or streaming different content wirelessly from their Apple devices to Mac and Windows PCs. It uses full HD 1080p high definition, and you can set up password protection to prevent unauthorized access to your software.
How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Additional FAQs

Can I Mirror a Mac to Multiple iPads?

Yes, you can. Sidecar only supports a connection to one iPad at a time, but several apps are available that allow you to mirror your Mac to multiple iPads and devices simultaneously. These include AirServer, AirDisplay, and iDisplay. The latter supports connections up to 36 devices.

How Do I Show My iPad Screen on My Mac?

If you want to mirror your iPhone, iPad, or iPod device to your Mac screen, QuickTime Player is the way to go. It’s a built-in tool to support iOS streaming to Mac. Developed by Apple, this multimedia tool is great for enjoying your audio, videos, and images. It works using a USB cable or Wi-Fi connection.

To start a mirroring session from your iPad to Mac using a USB cable, check out steps:

1. Connect your Mac and iPad with your USB cable, using lightning cables if possible.

2. Once your devices are connected, a file selection menu will pop up. Select “File” from the menu.

3. Select “New Movie Recording.”

4. Select “iPad” as the default device.

The mirroring session between your iPad and Mac screen will now start.

To start a wireless mirroring session, you just need to ensure both devices use the same Wi-Fi network.

Two Screens Are Better Than One

Apple’s Sidecar feature allows device owners to get more use out of their devices by extending their Mac screen onto their iPad. And extra screen space is always welcome. It’s great for boosting productivity or seeing what your audience sees when presenting – for example.

Starting a mirror or screen extending session using Sidecar is relatively simple, but Sidecar does have limitations like only being able to one device at a time. However, there are plenty of third-party apps available for connection to multiple devices simultaneously. So, don’t let that little limitation slow your viewing experience down.

What do you like most about Apple products? Tell us in the comments section.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

To connect your iPad as a display, either connect your iPad to your Mac over USB, or—to do it wirelessly—ensure Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff are turned on. You’ll also need to be logged in to the same Apple ID on both devices. Click the AirPlay button in your Mac’s menu bar and select your iPad from the list.

Quick Answer, how can I use my iPad as a second monitor for my Macbook Pro for free? On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Sidecar. Set options for showing the sidebar and the Touch Bar on iPad, and for using Apple Pencil. If you’re not already connected to your iPad, click the “Connect to” pop-up menu, then choose your iPad.

As many you asked, how can I use my iPad as a second screen for Mac without sidecar? Now that the Duet app is set up on your Mac, you have to purchase, download, and open the Duet app on your iPad. Next, connect your iPad to your Mac with a USB to Lightning or USB-C cable. Almost instantly, your Mac’s display should appear on your iPad. You can now use your iPad as a secondary display.

Also, how do I use my iPad as a second screen for my Macbook Pro 2013? To use your iPad as a monitor, simply connect it to your Mac using a standard Lightning or 30-pin cable (I use an Amazon Basics one, mostly because it’s black …) and launch the Duet app on your iPad. Within 2-3 seconds, the Mac will automatically detect the iPad and start using it as a second monitor.

Subsequently, how can I use my iPad and Macbook together?

  1. If you’re using macOS Big Sur, click the Display menu in Control Center or the menu bar, then choose your iPad from the menu.
  2. If you’re using macOS Catalina, click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar, then choose your iPad from the menu.

Can you use iPad as a second monitor for PC?

To use your iPad as a second display, you’ll need to install the SplashTop app on your iPad and on your desktop. … But it also offers a screen mirroring mode for free. Also make sure that iTunes is installed on your computer. SplashDisplay requires iTunes to make a connection.

How do I use my iPad as a second screen for Mac 2015?

  1. Go to System Preferences ➙ Displays.
  2. Make sure that “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available” is checked.
  3. Click the AirPlay dropdown in the menu bar ➙ select your iPad as second monitor.

How do I connect my iPad to my macbook pro wirelessly?

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. To set up Wi-Fi syncing, connect your iOS device to your computer with the included USB cable.
  3. In the Summary tab, select “Sync with this [device] over Wi-Fi”.
  4. Whenever the computer and the iOS device are on the same network, the iOS device will appear in iTunes, and you can sync it.

How can I use my iPad as a second monitor with cable?

Plug your iPad into your computer with a lightning-to-USB cable, and your iPad should light up with an extension of your Windows or Mac desktop. Move your mouse to the right of your desktop, and it’ll travel over to the iPad. You can even touch the iPad to control Windows or OS X. It could not be any simpler.

How can I use my old iPad as a second monitor for free?

How do I turn on sidecar on older Macs?

What’s the difference between an iPad and a MacBook?

Software is the most important difference between the iPad Pro and MacBook Air. The iPad Pro runs on iPadOS, while the MacBook Air is powered by macOS. The former is a mobile operating system designed specifically for the iPad that’s based on Apple’s iPhone software, while macOS is Apple’s desktop operating system.

How do I connect my iPad to my MacBook Pro via USB?

Connect the large end of the included USB transfer cable to the dock port on the bottom of the iPad, and connect the small end to one of your Mac Pro’s USB ports. The Mac Pro has two USB ports on the front of the chassis and three on the back. Your Apple display may also have USB ports.

How do I connect my iPad Pro 2020 to my Mac?

You can connect iPad Pro to your Mac or PC to charge the device or sync content using iTunes. First, identify the ports on your computer. If your computer is a more recent model that has a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or USB-C port, connect to it with the USB-C to USB-C cable that came with iPad Pro.

How do you do screen mirroring on a Mac?

  1. Click on the Control Center icon in the menu bar. It should be next to the time in the top-right corner, next to the Siri button.
  2. Click Screen Mirroring.
  3. You’ll see a list of devices that are available on your network to mirror your screen on. Click the device you want to use.

Can I AirPlay my iPad to my Mac?

AirPlay content to your Mac: You can use AirPlay to send content to your Mac from an iPhone, iPad, or another Mac. … Mirror or extend the display: You can mirror your iPhone or iPad on your Mac or extend their display by using a Mac as a secondary display for apps such as Keynote.

To use your iPad as a second display, you’ll need to install the SplashTop app on your iPad and on your desktop. SplashTop is primarily a remote-access tool — it lets you use your Windows desktop from your iPad remotely for a subscription. But it also offers a screen mirroring mode for free.

How do I turn on sidecar on my iPad?

Set up Sidecar on MacBook Select your iPad and connect. Click system preferences. Click Sidecar. Select your iPad and connect. Click system preferences.

How can I use my iPad as a second monitor wirelessly?

Connecting your iPad Grab your iPad, make sure it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac, then load the Air Display app. Return to your Mac and click the menu bar icon. Check that Air Display is turned on, select your iPad in the drop-down menu.

Why is my iPad not showing in sidecar?

On your iPad: Head over to Settings → General → Handoff, then turn on Handoff. Now, restart both of your devices. After they reboot, turn on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Handoff on your Mac and iPad. Next, try using Sidecar as usual.

How do I use my iPad Pro as a second monitor without sidecar?

Now that the Duet app is set up on your Mac, you have to purchase, download, and open the Duet app on your iPad. Next, connect your iPad to your Mac with a USB to Lightning or USB-C cable. Almost instantly, your Mac’s display should appear on your iPad. You can now use your iPad as a secondary display.

Do you need same Apple ID for sidecar?

Hello, I am sorry, Sidecar requires the same Apple ID on both iPad and Macintosh. Both devices must be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID using two-factor authentication. To use Sidecar wirelessly, both devices must be within 10 metres (30 feet) of each other and have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Handoff turned on.

How do I use sidecar with another Apple ID?

Sign in as new user(log or sign out, click switch user and sign in as new user). Set the Apple ID of the iPad for the new user when asked(in this case Apple ID of your wife.). Now you can fruitfully connect your devices using Sidecar.

What iPads can use Sidecar?

Which iPads support Sidecar? All iPad Pro models. iPad (6th generation or later) iPad mini (5th generation or later) iPad Air (3rd generation or later).

Can two users share an iPad?

Shared iPad is a multiuser mode for use in iPad deployments. It allows users to share an iPad while maintaining separation of documents and data for each user. Each user gets their own private, reserved storage location, which is implemented as an APFS (Apple File System) volume protected by the user’s credential.

How do I AirPlay from my iPad?

How to Use AirPlay Open the Control Center. Tap Screen Mirroring. All devices available for AirPlay appear in this menu. Tap the name of the device you want to connect to your iPad. The iPad display appears on the TV. To turn off AirPlay, go to the Control Center, tap Screen Mirroring, then tap Stop Mirroring.

Is duet display better than sidecar?

Duet Display automatically recognizes the connected devices and adjusts the extended resolution to the native resolution of the device. Sidecar provides less resolution. Sidecar also does this automatically and adjusts the resolution so that you get a crisp display, even on the iPad.

Can you use sidecar with iPad on different Apple ID?

Answer: A: No, both devices must be signed into the same Apple ID.

Does sidecar work with family sharing?

The sidecar feature is incredibly disappointing. My wife has the latest iPad and I’ve got the latest MacBook Pro, even though we’ve got Family Sharing enabled we cannot use the Sidecar feature without completely logging either one of us out. Apple’s limiting infrastructure could really use an update in these cases.

Do you need to be signed into iCloud for sidecar?

When you sign into your user account on the Mac that is signed into your own iCloud account which would also be the same user account on your iPad, you should be able to use the Sidecar feature without having to sign out of your wife’s iCloud account.

What does Apple Sidecar do?

macOS Catalina and iPadOS include support for a new feature called Sidecar, designed to let you use your iPad as a secondary display for your Mac. Sidecar is quick, simple to use, and can either mirror content on your Mac or turn it into a secondary display for extra screen real estate no matter where you are.

How do I share my iPad with family?

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch Go to Settings. Tap your name, then tap Family Sharing. Tap Add Member. Enter your family member’s name or email address and follow the onscreen instructions. Choose whether you’d like to send an invitation via Messages or to invite them in person.

How do I share my iPad with my child?

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch Go to Settings. Tap your name. Tap Family Sharing, then tap Add Member. Tap Create an Account for a Child, then tap Continue. Follow the onscreen instructions to finish setting up the account. You can use the child’s email address for their Apple ID.

Does my iPad have AirPlay 2?

But it’s not restricted to Apple’s own ecosystem. One key thing about AirPlay 2 is that the music source (and control) is always an Apple product. You can’t get AirPlay 2 on an Android device.

Is AirPlay and screen mirroring the same?

AirPlay Mirroring is different than AirPlay in a number of areas. AirPlay Mirroring establishes a video stream based on the H. 246 video format that is continuously being streamed to the Apple TV box (and sent to the TV screen).

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

When you have a lot of windows open, or you’re undertaking a specifically complex operation, it can be helpful to have an extra display for your Mac.

Luckily, you can use your iPad as a second display for your Mac using the Sidecar tool.

While you need to ensure that your Mac is operating on macOS Catalina or newer, and that your iPad is running iPadOS 13 or later, there are hardware requirements as well.

A general rule of thumb seems to be that this only works for Macs from 2016 or later, and for iPads from around that time, though for a full list of compatible devices click here.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Mac (From $1,299.00 at Apple)

iPad (From $279 at Walmart)

How to use your iPad as a second display for a Mac

To connect your Mac and iPad, we’ll be using a feature called Sidecar.

1. Make sure both your iPad and Mac are signed into the same iCloud account. You should also plug your iPad into its charger, as well as your MacBook if you’re using one, as Sidecar can take a lot of battery power.

2. Click on the AirPlay icon in the top menu bar of your Mac.

3. Scroll down and click on your iPad.

  • You can also get here by going to “Sidecar Preferences” in your System Preferences.

4. Your AirPlay icon should be replaced by a blue square, showing that Sidecar is running.

5. You will also notice your Mac’s background displayed on your iPad. You can now move files, windows, and programs from your MacBook to your iPad and back.

If you have an Apple Pencil, you can also use it as a cursor on the iPad.

For a full list of all the extra features that come with using your iPad as a second display, check out this article from Apple’s official website.

By Lewis Painter, Senior Staff Writer | 06 Apr 2020

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

While you had to originally opt for third-party options if you wanted to use your iPad as a second screen with your Mac, the introduction of macOS Catalina changed everything.

The new operating system brought a number of improvements to the overall macOS experience, with Sidecar taking the centre stage for many Mac users. You see, Sidecar allows you to use any iPadOS 13-enabled tablet as a second display without the need for any cables, and it brings extended functionality too.

As well as extending and mirroring your Mac display, you can use the iPad as a high-end graphics tablet (as long as you’ve got an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil) and the virtual Touch Bar displayed on the tablet brings a feature previously exclusive to MacBook Pro owners to all Mac owners.

Here, we’ll explain all you need to know about using your iPad as a second screen for your Mac. If you’re looking for a solution for Windows, we recommend taking a look at how to use a laptop as a second display.

What you’ll need to use Sidecar

Like most things, there’s a catch; due to the hardware requirements, it’s not a universally-supported feature. If you want to use an iPad with Sidecar on macOS Catalina, you’ll need one of the following iPads:

  • Any iPad Pro (12.9, 11, 10.5 and 9.7in)
  • iPad (6th gen or later)
  • iPad Mini (5th gen)
  • iPad Air (3rd gen)

And you’ll need a fairly recent Mac too:

  • MacBook Pro (2016 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 or later)
  • MacBook (2016 or later)
  • Mac mini (2018 or later)
  • 21.5in iMac (2017 or later)
  • 27in iMac (late 2015 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • Mac Pro (2019)

How to use Sidecar on macOS Catalina

If your Mac and iPad are compatible with the Sidecar functionality of macOS Catalina, make sure that both devices share the same Apple ID login, and that the iPad is within 10 metres of your Mac. It might seem obvious to have a second screen nearby, but it’s still worth noting!

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your Mac and iPad if you plan to connect wirelessly, or plug your iPad into your Mac via Lightning or USB-C cable (depending on the model of iPad). There’s no real difference in latency, but your iPad should last longer if it’s plugged in.
  2. To connect to your iPad, click the AirPlay icon in the menu in the top-right of the screen on your Mac. If you’re unfamiliar with the icon, it looks like a TV with a triangular stand.
    How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar
  3. You should see your iPad listed in the AirPlay drop-down – click on it to connect to it. Your iPad should then come to life, displaying the familiar macOS interface, ready for use as a second screen.

If you want to mirror your display instead of extending it, click the iPad icon in the top-right of the display (it’ll have replaced the AirPlay icon) and select ‘Mirror Built-in Retina Display’.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

And, once you’re done using the tablet as a second display, click the iPad icon in the top-right of the Mac display and click Disconnect. It’s that simple!

What if I don’t have macOS Catalina or supported hardware?

Sidecar in macOS Catalina is a game-changer for Mac and iPad owners, but what if your current hardware doesn’t support Sidecar? Or what if your Mac isn’t able to upgrade to Catalina? The good news is that there are third-party options available, but these vary in quality.

One of the best options that we’ve personally used is Duet Display. It was developed years before Sidecar made its debut and was created by a team of ex-Apple engineers, offering a way to use any iPad as a second screen on any Mac running 10.13.3 or earlier, and any PC too.

Unfortunately, macOS 10.13.14 broke some of the DisplayLink functionality that Duet relies on, and didn’t fix the issue until the release of macOS 10.14.2, so you’ll have to upgrade to 10.14.2 if possible. Duet covers this in more detail on its site, and if you’re interested, you can grab Duet Display on the App Store for £9.99/$9.99.

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

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Author: Lewis Painter, Senior Staff Writer

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Our resident Apple expert, Lewis covers everything from iPhone to AirPods, plus a range of smartphones, tablets, laptops and gaming hardware. You’ll also find him on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.

Sidecar is the feature you’ve been waiting for to let you effortlessly connect your Mac and iPad together.

Mac and iPad users rejoice! Sidecar is a quick and easy way to use as an iPad as an extra display for your Mac. If you’ve been thinking about getting another monitor for your Mac, but aren’t ready to pull the trigger, you might have had one all along: your iPad!

With Sidecar you can quickly and easily connect your iPad to your Mac and use it as an extra monitor. Here’s a quick introduction for you.

How Does Sidecar Work?

Sidecar uses AirPlay to connect your Mac to your iPad. That’s the same technology that lets you share your iPhone’s screen to other Apple devices.

Using AirPlay means that Sidecar can be used completely wirelessly. No cables required, and no clutter necessary. If your iPad is running low on juice or you just want the fastest connection possible, you can also connect your iPad to your Mac through USB-C and use Sidecar with a wired connection.

What Is Sidecar Used For?

Even if you’ve never been a multi-monitor type of person, with Sidecar, you can try it out. Sidecar can be used for pretty much anything you’d use a traditional monitor for, whether it’s for work or play. Just put your iPad in a stand and start trying it out.

You can use Sidecar to work on one monitor while watching your morning newscast on the other. If you’re a student, you can use one display to finish up that last-minute essay, while viewing your notes on the other screen. If you’re an artist, try pulling up a photo on your Mac’s display, and then use your iPad to sketch your version of it. The possibilities are endless.

Sidecar Gives You More Options

If you already own a Mac and an iPad, Sidecar is a great way to try out a multiple monitor setup without spending a penny. If you’re someone who’s always on the move, Sidecar can be a great way to pack a multi-monitor workstation into a package you can take anywhere. Give Sidecar a try for yourself!

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

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Sometimes the best way to get your work done is by expanding your canvas with a second display. It’s screen real estate that defines how many apps we can work with without changing windows. Working with two different input methods, however, like touch versus mouse and track can introduce friction.

That’s why Apple built its new Sidecar feature in macOS Catalina. Feeling cramped on your Mac screen? Sidecar lets you instantly turn your iPad into a second display — no additional hardware required.

Getting started

Sidecar is a brand new feature for using your iPad as a second display for your Mac. You don’t need the latest tablet or computer to use it either.

Sidecar works with plenty of recent iPads and Macs. If you have one of these Macs on macOS Catalina and iPads on iPadOS 13, you can use your iPad as a second display for your Mac:

  • iPad Pro: all models
  • iPad (6th generation) or later
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
  • iMac introduced in 2017 or later, plus iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac mini introduced in 2018 or later
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Sidecar on macOS Catalina and iPadOS 13 also requires the Mac and iPad to use the same iCloud account with two-factor authentication for security.

Your Mac relies on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple’s special Handoff feature to communicate with the iPad, and you’ll want both screens to be within 30 feet of each other to maintain the wireless connection.

How it works

Ready to extend your Mac display with your iPad? Bring both screens together, and keep in mind that Sidecar will use battery so stay powered if that’s a concern.

You can start Sidecar from the Mac in multiple ways.

System Preferences

  • Launch System Preferences
  • Select Sidecar
  • Click ‘Select Device’ under Connect to and choose your iPad

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Menu Bar

  • Click the or icon in the top right corner of your Mac
  • Select your iPad under Connect to


  • Move your mouse cursor over your current active window’s full-screen icon in the top left corner of the app
  • A menu will appear that includes the option to ‘Move to iPad’

Once you initiate Sidecar, you can drag windows and files from your Mac screen to your iPad. It works just like using a dedicated external monitor.

The productivity benefits are huge. You don’t even need to use touch input or a dedicated keyboard with your iPad. Your Mac’s mouse or trackpad and keyboard totally control the experience.

When you no longer want to use your iPad as a second display for your Mac, you can disconnect from the icon on your Mac or look for the disconnect button (a box with a line through it) on your iPad.

Going further

Sidecar isn’t just a convenient way to expand your screen real estate on your Mac with your iPad. macOS Catalina includes special integration that makes Mac control from your iPad even easier.


Yes, there’s a sidebar in Sidecar! It’s loaded with tools for key modifiers like Command and Shift, hiding and showing the Mac menu bar and Dock, toggling the on-screen keyboard, and using undo.

Sidebar controls are great for when you pick up your iPad and walk around with your work. Just remember to stay within 30 feet to remain connected.

The sidebar can be relocated or hidden using the Sidecar section in System Preferences on the Mac.

Touch Bar

Even if your Mac doesn’t include a Touch Bar, Apple’s display on MacBook Pro keyboards, Sidecar can present an on-screen Touch Bar with your iPad.

This is great for accessing quick controls and other actions even if you’re using Sidecar with an iMac or other Mac without a Touch Bar.

You can optionally relocate or hide the Touch Bar from Sidecar in System Preferences.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Apple Pencil

The iPad is still a giant touch screen even when used with Sidecar. You’ll need an Apple Pencil to manipulate the on-screen cursor without a mouse or keyboard, but multitouch gestures are still available.

Apple highlights several useful gestures for using touch to control the second display experience from your Mac with Sidecar:

  • Scroll: Swipe with two fingers
  • Copy: Pinch in with three fingers
  • Cut: Pinch in with three fingers twice
  • Paste: Pinch out with three fingers
  • Undo: Swipe left with three fingers, or double-tap with three fingers
  • Redo: Swipe right with three fingers

The Apple Pencil can also be used to draw or write in Mac apps using the iPad as the input window, and second generation Apple Pencils can use the new double tap gesture to perform custom actions.


So what happens to your iPad when it’s being used as a second display for your Mac with Sidecar? Good news: It’s still your iPad!

You can go back to the Home screen on your iPad and use it just like you would otherwise including accessing other apps. Your Sidecar session will remain active, and you can return to the Mac experience with the blue Sidecar app icon on the Home screen. This app icon only appears when Sidecar is active.

Sidecar isn’t just useful for using your iPad to expand your Mac screen space. You can also turn your iPad into a mirrored display of your Mac workspace wirelessly.

This use case is great for presenting content from your Mac to an audience using your iPad. Just explore the icon on your Mac menu bar and see which arrangements work best for you!

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

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Even if your physical workspace is cramped, at least your digital workspace doesn’t have to be.

The Apple iMac/iPad combo, with the iPad mounted in a HoverBar Duo stand.

It can be hard not to obsess over something when it’s suddenly denied you. Holed up here in a 2m x 2m home office that seems to get smaller the longer this lockdown in Sydney drags on, I’ve been obsessing over space: space around me, and space on the laptop in front of me.

About the former, nothing can be done until the weather warms or the lockdown lifts.

But about the latter, the space on the screen, there is plenty to be done. There are many ways to add some extra real estate to your computer screen, so that even if your physical workspace is confined, at least your digital workspace won’t be.

I’ve written previously about adding a second screen to your laptop, by buying a portable monitor such as the espresso Display or the Asus ZenScreen. But what can you do when you can’t get to the shops, or you don’t want to fork out for a new screen?

A second screen, even if it’s small, can make all the difference to productivity.

Those are the options I’ve been exploring these past few weeks, and while I can’t sit here and tell you they’re better than going out and buying a portable monitor to hook your laptop up to, I can say some of them are pretty good, and definitely worth exploring.

Of the five or six options I’ve been experimenting with, by far the best one is available only to Apple users. If you have a MacBook or an iMac and you have an iPad, the MacOS operating system has a feature known as “Sidecar” that effortlessly turns your iPad into a second display for your Mac.

If you have the iPad on the same Wi-Fi network as the Mac, or if the iPad is plugged directly into the Mac using a USB cable, Sidecar will turn the tablet into a surprisingly high-quality second screen that’s pretty hard to distinguish from a dedicated display even if the connection is over Wi-Fi.

Obviously, your typical 10.2-inch iPad, or even 10.9-inch iPad Air, is nowhere near as big and (thus) as useful as a proper 13- or 16-inch espresso Display, but having an iPad as a second screen can be incredibly useful all the same.

Often, all you need is a small screen for keeping half an eye on your inbox or on Slack while you concentrate on the main task on the main screen, and an iPad is perfect for that.

(Just as a side note, the HoverBar Duo tablet stand could be just the thing for mounting a second screen next to the main screen when you’re using a desktop PC rather than a laptop. We’re hoping to review that in coming weeks.)

If you do happen to have an iMac/MacBook and an iPad, you’re about to get another option for using the two devices together. A feature called “Universal Control” in the forthcoming version of MacOS will let you use your Mac’s keyboard, trackpad and mouse to control your iPad as well as your Mac.

At the time of writing, the feature had yet to be added to the beta version of MacOS Monterey, so we’re yet to test it out but it looks like it will be every bit as good as Sidecar, possibly better.

The main difference between Sidecar and Universal Control is that, with the latter, the apps on that second screen will be iPad apps running on the iPad, rather than MacOS apps being displayed on the iPad, as they are with Sidecar.

But you’ll still be be able to cut and paste between the two displays and even drag and drop files from, say, the desktop on your Mac into Photoshop running on your iPad, operating them in tandem as if they were the one computer but with the added flexibility of being able to use your favourite iPad apps and your favourite Mac apps at the same time. It all looks rather nifty, and I, for one, can’t wait.

Not quite so nifty are your options if you’re a Windows and/or Android user.

This lockdown, I’ve experimented with a handful of apps that turn Android tablets (and indeed Android phones) into second displays for Windows PCs, and by far the best of them is Duet, which you run on your Windows PC and your tablet to join the two together.

Duet is a lot like Sidecar in that it lets you turn a tablet into a second screen for your PC using either a Wi-Fi or a USB cable connection but, unlike Sidecar, it’s not easy to set up. In my tests the results haven’t been quite as satisfying either.

Where the Sidecar display is almost magically sharp and responsive, the Windows/Duet screen on my Android tablet has a tiny bit of lag, a tiny bit of sluggishness, and it’s not quite as sharp as it could be either. It looks like it’s been compressed by the Duet app running on Windows, and then decompressed with a slight loss of detail on the tablet.

Mind you, I am using a four-year-old Windows laptop and a three-year-old Android tablet for my Duet experiments, compared with a new iMac and a new iPad for Sidecar, so you may well get better results if you use newer machines.

In any case, it’s still pretty good, and far better than constantly tabbing between apps, or running them in small windows, like you have to if you’ve got only one display.

I’ve been dabbling with using an Android phone as a second screen to my Windows laptop, and even that is pretty good. As I write this, I’ve got Duet running on a Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 phone, with Slack open so I can keep an eye on it and quickly reply to editors without breaking my stride.

Not that I have much of a stride nowadays. Not holed up here in my home office, which – did I mention? – is just 1.5 x 1.5 metres in size, and shrinking by the minute.

Likes A cheap (or free) way to get a second screen for your laptop or desktop.
Dislikes Duet can be fiddly, and can crash when you try to use it to add a third display.
Price Sidecar is free. Duet is $15.99.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

One of the more useful features in macOS Catalina is Sidecar, which allows you to use your iPad as a second display for your Mac. This is practical if you want to work on a document on your iPad using the Apple Pencil, or if you want to be able to show something from your Mac to a colleague or client without them needing to look over your shoulder. And if you work on a laptop, having that additional screen space for occasional or even regular usage can make your work a lot smoother.

In this article, I’ll show you how you can use Sidecar to extend your Mac’s display.

Sidecar compatibility

To use Sidecar, you need a Mac from 2016 or later (one exception is the late-2017 5K Retina iMac), and an iPad Pro (any model), iPad (6th generation or later), iPad mini (5th generation or later), or iPad Air (3rd generation or later). Your Mac and iPad must be signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID, using two-factor authentication, and you should be within about 10 meters or 30 ft; this is the range of Bluetooth, which is used for discovery and to establish connections. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be turned on, along with Handoff.

You can also use Sidecar with a USB connection; just use the cable that came with your iPad to connect it to your Mac. This limits your flexibility, since you can’t move the iPad very far, but if you want to use Sidecar all day, with, for example, a specific app always on your iPad, this allows it to have enough power.

Connecting to Sidecar

There are a couple of ways you can use Sidecar. If you have the AirPlay icon in your menu bar, you can click it and choose an iPad. The Mac will send the frontmost window to that iPad.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

From the AirPlay menu, you can also choose to mirror the display. If you do this, you’ll see the same thing on your iPad as on your Mac. This is a good way to show someone else something on your Macs, such as design drafts, photos, or videos. You can hand someone your iPad, so they can be, for example, across a desk or table from you, and when in this mode, you can switch apps, type, and edit files, as normal; the only difference is the display: it changes to the aspect ratio and resolution of the iPad.

To return to your normal display, click the AirPlay icon and choose Disconnect, or tap the Disconnect button in the sidebar on the iPad. (I discuss the buttons in the iPad sidebar below.)

Move windows to Sidecar

Mirroring the display is of limited use, but where Sidecar becomes really practical is when you move a single window to your iPad. You may want to do this for a number of reasons, such as when you need to view two windows at the same time, but are working on a laptop, where you don’t have enough screen real estate.

Or perhaps you want to keep your eye on a specific app during the day; putting it on its own display lets you view it at a glance. For example, move a messaging app – one that isn’t available on the iPad – using Sidecar. Some people regularly use two displays for such reasons, but with an iPad, you can save space and only use it when you need it. This said, you’ll probably want a large iPad if you plan to do this often; the iPad mini is almost certainly too small to be practical, unless you’re just using it to keep an eye on a simple app.

You may want to work on a file, such as a graphics file, using your Apple Pencil. In that case, move the window to your iPad Pro, and you’ll have much more flexibility editing it than with a mouse or trackpad.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

To move a window to your iPad, hover your pointer over the green button at the top left of a window, and choose Move to iPad. The iPad displays the window, resizing it to fit the 4:3 aspect ratio of the iPad. You’ll see the window’s menu bar, along with any buttons in its toolbar or elsewhere in its interface.

I’ve found that Sidecar can be wonky at times. Sometimes it sends the wrong window, and sometimes it sends more than one window. I think this has something to do with the fact that I use Spaces on my Mac, to work with different desktops. If I quit and relaunch the apps in question, then it works.

Working with Mac windows on an iPad

When you move windows to Sidecar, your iPad acts as an extension to your Mac’s display. If you go to System Preferences > Display, then Arrangement, you’ll be able to choose where the iPad is in relation to your display. This is important, because you can move your cursor from your Mac to the iPad’s app and work with a mouse or trackpad. In my case, as shown below, I have the iPad set to the right of my iMac’s display. So if I move the cursor to the right of the display on the iMac, it leaves that display and enters the iPad and I can work with it.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

As I mentioned above, Mac windows scale to fit the iPad’s aspect ratio, and you can use all the controls in an app: buttons, sliders, etc. You can use a mouse or trackpad, your fingers, or an Apple Pencil, and the latter is especially useful if you want to work in detail.

There are a number of icons in the sidebar on your iPad when you use Sidecar. Here’s what they do; this is from an Apple support document about the feature:

You’ll be able to use multi-touch gestures in your Mac windows with Sidecar. For example, to scroll, you don’t just swipe with one finger, but with two. You can pinch in with three fingers to copy, and pinch out with three fingers to paste. You can undo an action by swiping left with three fingers or double tapping with three fingers.

Sidecar is a great way to extend your Mac’s display, either occasionally or frequently. Once you get the hang of working with it, you may never go back.

Apple has two ways to link your Mac and iPad, but they work in different ways.

Apple now has two ways to get work done with your Mac and iPad: Universal Control, currently appearing in beta versions of iPadOS and macOS, and Sidecar, which was introduced back in 2019. If you’re not sure about what these two features actually offer, how they can be used, or what the difference is between them, we’re here to provide some clarity.

You can be forgiven for getting confused if you’re not super-clear about what makes Universal Control different from Sidecar or vice versa. They both make it easier to use a Mac with an iPad , they both rely on using the same Apple ID on the same wifi network, and they both function pretty much automatically when everything is set up.

The TL;D R version of this is that Sidecar extends your Mac’s display to your iPad, whereas Universal Control lets you use your Mac’s keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) to control both your Mac and your iPad. Sidecar focuses on displays, while Universal Control focuses on input devices.

How to Use Sidecar

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Sidecar lets you use your iPad as a secondary display for your Mac computer, almost as if you plugged an external monitor into it. It’ll work via a USB or Lightning cable, or wirelessly as long as your devices are signed into the same Apple ID and on the same wifi network.

You need a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, and an iPad running iPadOS 13 or later. For Macs, the feature is supported back to the 2016 MacBook Pro, the 2016 MacBook, the 2018 MacBook Air, the 2015 iMac, the 2018 Mac Mini, the 2019 Mac Pro, or the iMac Pro; for iPads, the oldest supported devices are the 2018 iPad, the 2019 iPad Mini, the 2019 iPad Air, or any iPad Pro. All newer Macs and tablets should work.

If you’re taking the wireless option, you need wifi and Bluetooth enabled on both devices, and the Handoff syncing feature needs to be enabled as well: It’s under General and AirPlay & Handoff in the iPad Settings, and under General in the Mac System Preferences. Then Sidecar should work seamlessly.

The feature can be activated from the Control Center icon in the menu bar on macOS. I f everything has been set up correctly, the iPad device will show up as a display option. Select it, and the Mac screen extends to the iPad display; if you’d rather mirror the screens instead, this can be configured from Control Center too. Further options are available via Sidecar in System Preferences on the Mac.

Program windows can be moved over to the iPad by dragging them or by using the move option that appears when the cursor hovers over the green full screen button. The touchscreen functionality on your iPad won’t work with your Mac apps, though if you’ve got an Apple Pencil then this will work as normal—only you’ll be tapping and drawing on macOS rather than iPadOS. What’s more, you can use the Sidecar icon in the iPad dock to jump between iPad apps and the secondary screen functionality.

How Universal Control Works

More recently, Apple introduced Universal Control. Here it’s the keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) that are shared, not the displays. Your iPad keeps on running iPadOS as normal, and your Mac keeps on running macOS, and you can actually use two Macs for Universal Control if you need to, but not two iPads.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

The following prerequisites are required, unfortunately you cannot use any iPad or Mac:

  • A compatible Mac running macOS Catalina
  • A compatible iPad running iPadOS 13

Macs that can utilize Sidecar in Catalina:

  • MacBook Pro or MacBook from 2016
  • MacBook Air from 2018
  • iMac from 2016 / 27-inch, 5K from late 2015, iMac Pro
  • Mac mini from 2018
  • Mac Pro from 2019.

iPads running iPadOS 13 that can act as a second monitor using Sidecar:

  • iPad 6th generation
  • 5th generation iPad
  • iPad mini 5th generation
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air 3rd gen
  • iPad Air 2

Any of the current iPad range including:

  • 12.9in iPad Pro
  • 11in iPad Pro
  • 10.5in iPad Pro
  • 9.7in iPad Pro

Both the Mac and the iPad will need to be logged into the same iCloud account.

To get Sidecar working you will need to:

  1. Connect your iPad using the lightning cable, or use Bluetooth
  2. Select AirPlay from the menu bar of the Mac, choose the option to connect to the iPad. The iPad will now show an extension of your Mac’s desktop.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

This can also be done from System Preferences, click Sidecar.

(If you cannot see the Sidecar option in System Preferences then your Mac doesn’t support Sidecar)

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

To mirror the Mac’s display, go back to the AirPlay menu on the Mac, which is now a blue rectangle when you are using Sidecar. Select the option to mirror the Mac’s display.

If you want to show your Macbook’s Touch Bar on the iPad:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Sidecar and check the box for “Show Touch Bar”
  2. from the drop-down menu on the left you can select where on the iPad’s screen the Touch bar will be.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Your iPad is now set up and working as an additional screen providing valuable extra screen space when you are working on your current project. Or alternatively use screen mirroring to share your Mac’s screen with another person.

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How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Apple has added some cool new functionality to its newer Macbooks. Sidecar is a new feature that allows you to add a second screen to your laptop easily, using your iPad.

Here’s how to use Apple Sidecar and get a second screen:

How to use Apple Sidecar to get a second screen

First off, make sure that your Mac and iPad meet the Sidecar system requirements and you can check that out on Apple’s website which is linked up here. You need Catalina operating system on your MacBook and to make sure the OS software on the iPad is also up to date.

You can use Sidecar wirelessly, but to keep your iPad charged during use, connect it directly to your Mac with the USB charge cable that came with your iPad.

With all your hardware in place, here’s how to link the two devices…

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

  • Click the AirPlay icon in the topmost menu bar on your Mac, then choose the option to connect to your iPad. (Or use Sidecar preferences to connect.) By the way, if you don’t see the AirPlay icon, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Displays, then make sure that ”Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available” is selected.
    How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar
  • Choose your Pad from the list. You should see it change right away. You can move windows to it by grabbing and dragging them, and use it like any other display.
  • Want to mirror your Mac display so that both screens show the same content instead? Return to the AirPlay menu, which is a blue rectangle while using Sidecar. Choose the option to mirror your display. This is a great way to share your Mac screen with others.
  • To end your Sidecar session, return to the AirPlay menu and choose the option to disconnect. Or click the Disconnect button in the sidebar on your iPad.

You can make adjustments to your sidecar settings too. Click the blue rectangle to re-arrange displays so that your iPad extends the left, right, top, or bottom of your desktop.
If you want to access these settings before you enable Sidecar, you can go to the Apple menu and choose  > System Preferences, then click Sidecar. These preferences are available only on computers that support Sidecar:

  • Show Sidebar: Show the sidebar on the left or right side of your iPad screen, or turn it off.
  • Show Touch Bar: Show the Touch Bar on the bottom or top of your iPad screen, or turn it off.
  • Enable double tap on Apple Pencil: Allow apps that support this feature to perform custom actions when you double-tap on the side of your Apple Pencil (2nd generation).
  • Connect to: Choose an iPad to connect to, or click Disconnect to stop using Sidecar.

Sidecar is a great way to keep tabs on multiple windows on your laptop, while still keeping your set up compact and portable. I use it to monitor email while editing videos, or to compare two documents side by side. The possibilities are endless.

Get an iPad for your new set up here:

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Lifehacker's Complete Guide to macOS) : title How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar Lifehacker's Complete Guide to macOS Many people turn to Macs because they’re incredibly easy to operate. That’s true, but there’s still plenty worth knowing before you can truly master your Mac.

One of the neater features you’ll find in macOS Catalina—one that definitely got my attention, at least—is Apple’s new “Sidecar” mode. Like a tiny seat attached to a larger motorcycle, Sidecar allows you to link your iPad to your Mac and use it as a secondary display. And if you have an Apple Pencil, you can even interact with objects on the screen.

Since the feature is being tested as part of macOS Catalina, its exact nature might change once the final version of the OS ships out (this fall). Even now, Apple hasn’t listed which combination of devices support Sidecar, but here’s what people have pieced together as possibilities:

  • Late 2015 27” iMac or newer
  • 2017 iMac Pro
  • Mid 2016 MacBook Pro or newer
  • Late 2018 Mac mini or newer
  • Late 2018 MacBook Air or newer
  • Early 2016 MacBook or newer
  • 2019 Mac Pro

As for iPads, any device that runs iPadOS should also be able to work with Sidecar, which means any iPad Pro, the fifth- and sixth-generation iPad, the iPad Mini (fifth-generation) and iPad Mini 4, and the iPad Air (third-generation) and iPad Air 2.

The Safest Way to Install the macOS Catalina Beta

The public betas for all of Apple’s latest operating system iterations are finally out (save for…

If your Mac isn’t on that list

You probably won’t be able to run Sidecar once the final version of macOS Catalina ships if your Mac is too old. Right now, you can get away with using a little loophole to try the feature out . Pull up Terminal in macOS Catalina and enter the following:

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defaults write AllowAllDevices -bool true; defaults write hasShownPref -bool true; open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Sidecar.prefPane

Once you hit Enter, your System Preferences should appear and the new “Sidecar” option should be visible. You might not like the quality of the Sidecar treatment, but you’ll at least be able to see what it looks like (conceptually). As one Redditor writes :

“I managed to make Sidecar work with my Mid 2014 MacBook Pro work and iPad Pro. It’s great in terms of minimal lag, but the image quality is bad. I guess the limitation is about hardware HEVC encoding which requires Intel Core 6th gen processor.”

Getting started with Sidecar

To get started with Sidecar , pull up System Preferences and look for the Sidecar option. Open it up, and you’ll see a pretty screen with a few basic options. You can connect to your device wired or wirelessly—your choice.

Apple enthusiasts wanting a touchscreen on their Macs now have an innovative solution that allows an iPad to extend or mirror the Mac desktop.

Apple has been stubbornly resistant to incorporating touchscreens into its Mac computers, but frustrated consumers now have a surprisingly sophisticated solution that leverages their iPads called Sidecar. Sidecar allows a user to connect their iPad — via a wireless or wired connection — to a Mac to either extend the Mac’s display or to mirror its display. In either mode, the joys of touch, gestures, and the Apple Pencil are available to Mac users who up until now have been bereft of such functionality on their Macs.

Apple has long held that while touch belongs on its phones and tablets, it has no place on its computers. The policy bucks the trend of other PC manufacturers. Sidecar doesn’t exactly reverse that policy, but it does seem to exploit a technicality. While the touch functionality is wedded to the iPad with Sidecar, the desktop, apps, and functionality are decidedly Mac. As a result, Sidecar has been embraced by its early adopters who have been singing its praises on social media.

The first step for getting Sidecar set up is to connect your iPad to your Mac. This can be done wirelessly or with a USB cable. In either case, you’ll have to select ‘connect to iPad’ under the AirPlay icon (Catalina) or in the control center (Big Sur). You’ll need to be logged in to the same Apple ID on both the iPad and the Mac. To operate wirelessly you’ll need Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff all turned on. By default, the iPad will show an extension of the Mac’s existing desktop leveraging the iPad as extra real estate but you can switch to mirror mode via the AirPlay or Display menu. One of the more interesting bits of functionality is the ability to move a specific window to the iPad display. So, for instance, you’re working in Adobe Lightroom editing a photo, you can move just the photo itself to the iPad for touch editing or editing with the Apple Pencil. To do this, all a user needs to do is move the pointer over the green, full-screen icon on the window and move the window to or from the iPad.

Apple Sidecar Gives Macs iPad Touch Controls

Once you’re up and running Sidecar becomes a simple case of ‘what you see is what you get.’ All of the functions that require a mouse on the Mac can now be done via touch or pencil on the iPad. Plus there are some neat little perks that come with using the iPad version of the desktop. All of those iOS multitouch gestures now work on the iPad-driven Mac desktop. And Apple gives you the opportunity to surface the Sidebar and Touch Bar on the iPad. The Sidebar is a ribbon of functionality on the edge of the iPad for basic, universal keys like command, control, and shift. The Touch Bar is duplicated from the MacBook Pro and contains application-specific functions that otherwise might be difficult to find. Sidecar’s requirements vary by Mac, iPad, and OS. If you meet the following specs, though, there’s a good chance you can run Sidecar: MacOS Catalina or newer on a 2013 or newer Mac and iOS 13 or newer on any iPad Pro or other later-model iPad.

While not a literal Mac touchscreen, Sidecar is a decent alternative for Mac loyalists who have been clamoring for them, albeit requiring an iPad to use. It also neatly allows Apple to maintain its long-held stance on touch displays for Macs. Nobody is going to complain that there is finally some type of touch option for Mac users, though.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Source: Apple

One of the most significant new features of macOS Catalina is Sidecar. The feature lets you use your iPad as a second display for Mac. For years, Duet Display has offered a similar paid product for many years. As Sidecar and macOS Catalina launches, here’s a look at the critical differences between both tools.

What is Sidecar?

First introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June as part of Apple’s macOS Catalina unveiling, Sidecar works wirelessly and wired between a macOS Catalina-supported device and tablet with iPadOS 13 installed. The Sidecar functionality is currently not available on iOS 13 or any iPhone.

Main purposes

Out of the box, Sidecar provides many different use cases. The first of these is as a second Mac display, which allows you to extend the computer’s real estate or act as a mirror. Further, you can place one app on each screen, or put your main canvas on one display and your tools and palettes on the other.

Sidebar’s second big highlight is that it brings Apple Pencil quasi-support to Mac for the first time. It does so by letting you use the input device on your tablet to control Mac apps on your connected computer. Desktop apps like Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer and Photo, CorelDRAW, Sketch, and many more, now support this with others expected to go online in the coming months.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Source: Apple

There’s also convenient sidebar and Touch Bar controls available that allow you to interact with multi-touch gestures to pinch, swipe, and zoom. Newly created iPadOS text editing gestures are also supported with Sidecar, including copy, cut, paste, and more.

Supported devices

Sidecar requires Macs with Skylake processors and later, as well as iPad models that support Apple Pencil.


  • MacBook introduced in 2016 or later
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2016 or later
  • Mac mini introduced in 2018 or later
  • iMac introduced in late 2015 or later
  • iMac Pro introduced in 2017 or later
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019


  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation or later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)

Two more things

Continuity Sketch and Markup are two Sidebar-related features that work on any Mac that supports macOS Catalina, plus any tablet with iPadOS 13 and iPhones with iOS 13.

Continuity Sketch lets you create on your mobile device a sketch that easily inserts into any document on your Mac. With Continuity Markup, you can sign documents, correct papers, or circle important details in images using either your Apple Pencil on iPad or finger on iPhone.

Sidecar is free to use, assuming your devices are supported.

  • Free, no subscription required
  • No app required
  • Easy setup for casual users
  • Limited gestures
  • Won’t work on iPhone or older devices

What is Duet Display?

Created by former Apple engineers, Duet Display lets you turn your mobile device into a second display for Mac or PC. Until the introduction of Sidecar, Duet Display only supported Apple mobile devices. That support now extends to Android devices. Duet Display also works on Chromebooks.

What Duet Display offers varies greatly according to your subscription level, for which there are three. To get started, you must first buy the Duet Display app for iOS or iPadOS. You can install the $10 app across multiple Apple mobile devices; the Mac version is free to download from the Duet Display website. Android users must download a Duets Display app from Google Play separately.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Source: Duet Display

A free Duet subscription lets you use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac or PC. It includes touch screen capabilities, including iPad Keyboard support. However, your devices must be wired to work.

For $20 per year, you can purchase a Duet Air subscription, which adds wireless support, plus everything in the free version. You also gain a remote desktop connection that’s accessible from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

Available for $30 per year, Duet Pro has been designed for digital artists and includes features that Sidecar does not. These include full gesture support, more resolution options, remote desktop support, customizable pressure curves, customizable performance (battery efficiency vs. performance), predictive line lead (which predicts the characteristics of lines, then rendering them without going to the Mac), shortcuts such as undo/redo, and more.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

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One of the best features Apple released in the last couple years is Sidecar, a way to connect your iPad to your Mac for use as a secondary display.

It even works in conjunction with other monitors – if your Mac is powerful enough, that means you can have multiple extra displays in action to really dial up your productivity levels.

You can mirror your computer’s screen to the iPad, use it to display a completely different set of software, and even utilize the iPad’s touchscreen to control macOS apps.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Drawing in Photoshop via an iPad Pro

If you have an Apple Pencil, that quickly turns powerful desktop software like Adobe Photoshop into something you can manipulate with a stylus – without the need for an expensive graphics tablet.


To use Sidecar, you’ll need to have a relatively modern iPad and Mac. If you’re not sure, you can find a full list of compatible devices here.

Next, you’ll need to ensure you have the necessary software on both devices.

For iPad, head to Settings > General > Software Update. You’ll need iPadOS 13.0 or higher.

For Mac, press the Apple button to the far left of the status bar and choose About This Mac. Then, click Software Update from the Overview tab. Make sure you have macOS Catalina (10.5) or higher.

You’ll also need to ensure both devices are logged in using the same Apple ID. This allows them to sync wirelessly, so long as they’re nearby one another.

Setting up Sidecar

To connect your devices together, open System Preferences on the Mac and click Sidecar. You should see a drop-down list beneath the words Connect to. Choose your iPad from the list, and wait a few moments while the devices sync up.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Don’t forget to hit Disconnect when you’re done

Once connected, you can play with the settings here to customize a few things. Tickboxes allow you to switch both the Sidebar and Touch Bar on and off, with choices for exactly where on the iPad each one will appear.

The Sidebar comprises a series of shortcuts for common actions, and includes key modifiers like the shift and command buttons for easy access. The Touch Bar replicates the strip display above the keyboard on certain Macbook models, enabling extra commands depending on which app you have open.

Meanwhile, toggling on Enable double tap allows you to switch drawing tools in compatible macOS apps using a double-tap on a second-generation Apple Pencil.

Position your displays

Your cursor will move between the two devices, but the default positioning of the displays probably won’t match up to reality. This can be a bit disorienting as you try to figure out how to move the cursor from one display to another.

(One quick trick to find it is to shake your mouse really fast – this causes the cursor to temporarily increase in size so you can find it easily.)

Luckily, you can tell Sidecar exactly how your devices are positioned in relation to one another. Head back to the main System Preferences menu and this time choose Displays. Click over to the Arrangement tab.

Here, you’ll see a virtual recreation of your display positions. You can simply click and drag to move them around until the positioning better reflects the real world.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

…until it matches this

You can also tick the Mirror Displays box if you’d rather see exactly the same thing on both screens.

Sidecar is a flexible tool, and there are all kinds of uses for a second display – especially if you use a Mac professionally. Play around with the configuration until you’re happy, and enjoy all that new digital real estate!

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How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

By default, Sidecar for Mac sets iPad to be on the right side of the Mac display, but what if you want to change the iPad position to be on the left side? Or to the top, or bottom of the Mac display? Or perhaps you want the iPad display to be a little bit up or down? Much like you can change positions and orientations of other external displays on Mac, you can also change the iPad Sidecar position side on Mac too.

For the less familiar, modern versions of macOS and iPadOS allow an iPad to turn into an external display for a Mac by using the fantastic Sidecar feature on Mac, allowing for a quick and easy dual display setup. It’s easily one of the best productivity features available for Mac and iPad users, since it allows you to have more screen real estate for the Mac by extending the desktop and workspace to the iPad display, just like any other external display.

How to Change iPad Sidecar Screen Position on Mac

Want to switch the Sidecar screen from the right to the left of the Mac display? Or above or below it? No problem, here’s how you can change where the Sidecar display is oriented relative to the Mac display:

  1. Connect the iPad to the Mac using Sidecar as usual
  2. From the Mac, pull down the sidecar menu and choose “Display Preferences” (alternatively, pull down the  Apple menu and choose “System Preferences” and then select the “Display” preferences)

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

Your iPad sidecar display is now set to where ever you want it to be, relative to your Mac display.

You can always move it back to the right side of the Mac display if you feel like it, or move it above or below, or anywhere else. This is just like any other external display with the Mac.

Sidecar extends the Mac desktop and is a great productivity feature for anyone, but it can be particularly handy for mobile Mac users who have a MacBook Pro and an iPad and who want to setup a quick multi-display workstation while on the go.

Of course the iPad screen is fairly small, ranging from 9.7″ to 12.9″, so if you’re looking for a huge productivity boost at a desk environment then it’s hard to beat a large external display for extending your workaable space. If you are using several external monitors with the Mac, you’ll almost certainly want to set the primary Mac display, which becomes the default of where new windows and apps open up to.

Can you put Sidecar into Vertical Portrait Orientation?

For most external displays, you can rotate screen orientation to 90° into portrait mode (or flip it upside down if you wanted to do that for some reason) as well, whichever best accommodates your workspace. However, Sidecar currently supports landscape horizontal orientation only. While you can always put your iPad into portrait or vertical orientation while in Sidecar mode and use Apple Pencil or other apps anyway, the display will not rotate as of current system versions.

Sidecar is a great feature, and as long as you have a modern Mac and modern iPad, running modern macOS and iPadOS releases, you’ll be able to use it. You can always check the Sidecar compatibility list here if you aren’t sure if this is available to you.

Do you have any helpful tips, tricks, or experiences with using Sidecar? Let us know in the comments!

Last year, Apple showed us the new iPadOS and macOS Catalina. Among the many new features, it makes sense to highlight the Sidecar option. This technology allows you to use iPad as an external monitor for Mac. For a long time I treated this function more like a toy, but when I had to work from home from morning to evening, I realized that it would be nice to have another monitor at my disposal. The big 30-inch, alas, remained in the office, did not have time to pick it up. Just at the end of last year, I took the 7th generation iPad (which is a “budget” 10.2-inch) – it’s time to try out this feature.

How to make iPad a second monitor

Sidecar is one of the many innovations that extends the ecosystem capabilities of Apple devices. Unlike the Duet Display application, which also displays a Mac image on the iPad and allows you to interact with computer elements on the touch screen, Sidecar is much more functional and useful. To turn the iPad into another monitor, just follow one sequence of actions, which will take you no more than a minute. In the future, you will connect the tablet to the Mac without any problems, since it is enough to do this once, and you will remember everything.

  1. Both iPad and Mac must be signed in with the same Apple ID account.
  2. To use your iPad as a monitor, just place it near your MacBook, iMac, or other Apple computer.
  3. After that, click the AirPlay icon in the top menu bar on your Mac, then select the option to connect to iPad – it will appear in the list of monitors.
  4. Now the iPad will be a continuation of the Mac screen. You can move windows on it, and also use it as a regular display.

I liked that, if necessary, only one application can be displayed on the screen – for this you need to hold the icon for switching to full-screen mode in the window of the desired application.

How Sidecar Works

iPad can be used not only as a second screen or monitor for a single application (I brought Telegram there to leave only a text editor and browser on the main Mac monitor). The feature also allows you to duplicate the contents of the Mac screen. To do this, return to the AirPlay menu as a blue rectangle while using Sidecar. And select the screen duplication option.

When using the iPad as a backup for the main monitor, a side menu with control keys appears on it. There is Command and Shift, as well as other modification keys, which allows you to select commands with the touch of a finger or using the Apple Pencil. That is, if you want, you can take an iPad, lie down on the bed and work on it, like on a Mac. It is useful if, for example, you use a 27-inch iMac – you can’t put such a computer on your lap.

One of the unique features of Sidecar is the ability to display the Touch Bar on your iPad (even if it isn’t on your MacBook). All programs that have functional touch keys will display the corresponding buttons directly on the tablet screen.

I have a 2012 MacBook Pro Retina that clearly doesn’t fit the Sidecar in terms of parameters. There is one way on the Web to get around this limitation, but it has stopped working after the release of macOS Catalina. As an alternative, some suggest installing some kind of left patch – I tried it, and after that on the MacBook Pro all the icons on the top panel disappeared, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, rebooting did not help. I had to restore the system. So if you really need this feature, you have to fork out for the new Mac.

IPad and Mac Tips

Although Sidecar can be used wirelessly (you need to connect to Wi-Fi), the function only works correctly at a distance of up to 10 meters. It’s much easier to place the iPad next to the Mac using a special stand and get another monitor at your disposal. Here is an example of such a stand, but there are a lot of them on the Web, you can choose which one you like.

Many people buy an iPad Pro for 60-100 thousand rubles, and it seems to me that using a tablet as a second monitor is a good way to recapture your investment. Nevertheless, when we work at a computer, the tablet mainly lies nearby or in another room on the couch, and so it will always be with you.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecar

How to connect & use your iPad as a second display With macOS Catalina

The new version of Apple’s OS (operating system) macOS 10.15 Catalina comes with many amazing new features and functionalities. Apple has tried to equip almost every possible functionality in macOS Catalina, from Podcasts, Screen Time, Find My, Approve with Apple Watch to Sidecar many more. Indeed it worths to talk about every new update in macOS 10.15 Catalina, but in this article, I will talk about one of the best features: Sidecar. A very exciting feature which is my favorite in macOS Catalina is Sidecar. Now you can Mirror the screen on your Mac to your iPad to have two different screens displaying the same content. Read below how to connect & use your iPad as a second display on macOS Catalina.

On macOS Catalina and iPad OS now you are able to use your iPad as a second display for your Mac. You can connect your iPad to your Mac either using a cable or wirelessly within 10 meters. Mirror the screen of your Mac and see how a presentation looks in presentation mode on your iPad while editing it on your Mac.

  • Got to the AirPaly Menu of Mac
  • Choose your iPad from the Dropdown in AirPlay
  • Mirror Built-in Retina Display
  • Use As Separate Display
  • Hide sidebar
  • Hide Touch Bar

You can edit the display mode more in the Open Sidebar Preferences. You can move the sidebar to the left or right side and the Touch Bar to the bottom or to the top and you can enable double tapping on the apple pencil.

Touch Bar on iPad: The Touch Bar of your Mac on your iPad seems a little different. You can access the options including Siri, changing the volume and customize other few options.

Sidebar on iPad: The sidebar has also a few different button options to choose from. You can move the Dock over to the iPad, there is a comment option, an undo button and open the keyboard.

Apple has explained some of the key functionalities of Sidecar on the Preview page for macOS Catalina, including Draw and sketch in apps, continuity Markup, continuity Sketch, Gesture, Developer Support and more:

Draw and sketch in apps

Use the precision and intuitiveness of Apple Pencil with your favorite creative Mac apps. Draw and write naturally, edit a photo or graphic, and use it to point and click as you do with a mouse.

Continuity Markup

Write and sketch on PDFs or mark up your documents with Apple Pencil. See the updates live on your Mac as you mark them up on your iPad.

Continuity Sketch

Create a sketch on your iPad using Apple Pencil and easily insert it into any document on your Mac.


Use the same Multi-Touch gestures you’re familiar with on iPad, along with all-new text editing gestures that let you cut, copy, paste, and undo without lifting your hands from the onscreen keyboard.

Developer support

Developers don’t need to do anything for Sidecar support — it just works. Apps with advanced stylus support can use Tablet Events in AppKit to enable pressure and tilt for Apple Pencil. Additionally, developers can specify custom behavior for double-tap on the side of Apple Pencil through a changeMode event. Read more on Apple Preview Website…

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Affinity Designer
  • Affinity Photo
  • Cinema 4D
  • CorelDRAW
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Maya
  • Motion
  • Painter
  • Principle
  • Sketch
  • Substance Designer
  • Substance Painter
  • ZBrush

This is how you can get your Mac’s screen on your iPad and edit your presentation and other work on your iPad and get other advantages of Sidecar.


On Monday, Apple released macOS Catalina, the latest major update to its desktop operating system. Going into the update, a lot of Mac owners were excited for a feature called Sidecar. If you haven’t following the development of Catalina, Sidecar allows you to use a newer iPad as a secondary display with your Mac. It’s a feature that’s been available on macOS through a variety of third-party apps for a couple of years now, but, as usual, Apple’s ability to deeply integrate Sidecar into macOS made the feature all the more compelling. There’s just one issue with Sidecar: you’ll need a relatively new Mac and iPad.

According to an Apple white paper spotted by The Verge, Sidecar only works with Mac laptops and desktops that include a sixth-generation Intel Skylake processor or later. When it comes to Apple’s laptop lineup, it just so happens that any model that includes a Skylake processor also includes one of the company’s troubled butterfly keyboards. Specifically, Sidecar works with 2016 and later MacBooks, 2018 and later MacBook Air models and 2016 and later MacBook Pros. In other words, tough luck if you’ve been holding onto your non-butterfly keyboard MacBook.

Desktop support for the feature is similarly limited. You’ll need a 2015 or later iMac, a 2018 Mac mini, an iMac Pro or the upcoming Mac Pro. It’s also worth noting you’ll need a relatively new iPad to take advantage of the feature. Here, Apple says an iPad with Apple Pencil support and iPadOS 13 is required to use Sidecar. Another limitation of the feature is that you can only use it with two devices that are authenticated to the same Apple ID. As such, you can’t say, for instance, borrow a family member’s iPad if they’re tied to different accounts.

One theory that explains the limited number of devices that support Sidecar is that the feature depends on HEVC, a high-efficiency video codec. Starting with the Skylake generation, Intel added built-in support for the codec to its CPUs. Even if true, it’s still a disappointing limitation since some of the more powerful Broadwell-equipped Macs could have likely handled the feature.

While it’s a bummer Sidecar works with so few Mac and iPads, the good news is that, as mentioned above, there are third-party alternatives that offer the same functionality. Duet Display, for example, works with a much greater variety of Macs and iPads. You can even use it with a Windows PC, if that’s more of your jam.

How to use your ipad as a secondary mac display without sidecarLeif Johnson/IDG

We’ve already looked at many of the multitasking features you’ll find in iPadOS, but one of the most useful may be the Mac-compatible Sidecar mode, which lets you use your Apple tablet as a secondary display.

What is Sidecar?

Available to Mac users who have iPads running the most current edition of the OS, Sidecar enables users to extend their Mac desktop by using their iPad as a second display or as a high-precision input device across creative Mac apps.

This works in both wired and wireless mode and is controlled via the Display menu.

You’ll also see a control that lets you enter this mode when you hover your cursor above the green traffic light at the top left of a Mac app (on your Mac).

When in use, you can use your iPad to mirror your Mac display or as a second display for additional screen space. Or you can use your iPad as a graphics tablet for drawing with your Apple Pencil. (The latter lets you write on your iPad to draw, sketch, or write in any Mac app that supports stylus input.)

What does Apple say about Sidecar?

In its press release announcing the feature, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said:

“Users will appreciate how they can expand their workspace with Sidecar, enabling new ways of interacting with Mac apps using iPad and Apple Pencil.”

Apple adds the following:

“With Sidecar, iPad can be used as an extended display for Mac and a high-precision drawing tablet across supported Mac apps. For users on the go, Sidecar makes it easy to bring an extended display with them so they can spread their work out over two displays wherever they happen to be. When paired with an Apple Pencil, they can use their iPad to draw, sketch or write in any Mac app that supports stylus input. Sidecar is a great tool for editing video with Final Cut Pro X, drawing with Adobe Illustrator or marking up iWork documents. And like all Continuity features, Sidecar can run on a wireless connection, so users can work with greater mobility.”

How to connect your iPad to your Mac

You can connect the your iPad and Mac with a USB-C cable (adaptors may be required). You can also connect wirelessly over Wi-Fi.

It is important that you are logged into the same Apple ID and that Bluetooth is active on both devices for this to work.

You then connect the two devices using AirPlay in the Menu bar:

  • Find the iPad you want to use.
  • Select it, and your Mac screen should become immediately visible on your iPad.
  • While in use in this mode, the AirPlay icon should become light blue.
  • You can also send an app to Sidecar on your iPad by hovering the cursor above the green expansion window you’ll see at the top left of the app window on your Mac. Choose Move to iPad to immediately see that app on your tablet.

To stop using your iPad as a second display, just tap AirPlay and choose “Disconnect.”

You can mirror your Mac display on your Mac by choosing “Mirror Display” in AirPlay

Can I use my iPad as an iPad while in Sidecar mode?

Of course! Sidecar works like an app on your iPad – Apple insiders call this “iPad space.” That means you can continue to use your iPad as an iPad while in this mode by switching to another app.

What about full-screen apps?

You’ll get full-screen app support using Sidecar – just tap the green button at the top left corner of the app.

What you get when using your iPad in Sidecar mode

1. A Sidebar: When using your iPad in Sidecar mode, you’ll find a new Sidebar on the the left-hand edge of the display. This provides you with access to your most-used controls and modifier keys in apps that support Sidecar. You’ll also find tools that let you capture an entire webpage, document, or email, as well as markup in full-page view.

2. A Touchbar: If you’ve ever used a Mac that’s equipped with a TouchBar, then you’ll recognize it at the bottom of the iPad display when used with apps that support TouchBar. This will also work with Macs that don’t have a TouchBar.

3. A keyboard: Tap the keyboard icon in the Sidecar Sidebar (hard to say that fast), and you can type into your Mac app using the virtual keyboard on your iPad if the Mac’s own keyboard is too far away to reach.

Where are Sidecar Settings?

Sidecar System Preferences aren’t on your iPad, but in System Preferences on your Mac (in the Sidecar pane). Here you can:

  • Switch both Sidebar and Touchbar off.
  • Change the position of both Sidebar and Touchbar.
  • Enable double taps when using Apple Pencil.
  • Enable or disable visible pointer when using Apple Pencil.

How to control display behavior

If you want to use your iPad to extend your Mac display, you can set how this behaves in System Preferences>Displays>Arrangement. Here you can position your iPad screen relative to that of your Mac and/or any other displays you use.

What about Apple Pencil?

If the app you are using supports “Apple Events,” then you’ll be able to use your Apple Pencil to write/draw in supported apps.

If you want to sketch into a document or markup a PDF, you can do so using Apple Pencil on your iPad, and those marks will appear on your Mac window, too.

Apple has said this will work with lots of creative apps, including those from Adobe, and Serif.

Which iPads will run Sidecar?

  • iPad Pro (all generations)
  • iPad (5th and 6th generation)
  • iPad mini (4th and 5th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

Which Macs will run Sidecar?

Apple hasn’t yet told us which Mac models are compatible with the feature, though at present, consensus seems to be:

  • Mac 27-inch (Late 2015 or newer)
  • MacPro (2016 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2018)
  • Mac Pro (2019)
  • MacBook Air (2018)
  • MacBook (Early 2016 or newer)

What about older Macs?

If you are using an older Mac and don’t mind a slightly laggy experience when using Sidecar, and have enough experience to write a little code, then these instructions may help you get the feature working with your Mac.

How to get started using Sidecar now

If you own a supported iPad and a Mac, you can join Apple’s Public Beta Program, upgrade your devices and begin using Sidecar straight away.

I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you rely on either device, as this is beta software – and if you do, please backup your data first.

You can also use third-party apps such as Luna and Duet Display to turn your iPad into an external screen.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Jonny is a freelance writer who has been writing (mainly about Apple and technology) since 1999.