How to News

Turn Your iPad Into a Second Screen Using Sidecar on Mac

turn your iPad into a second screen using sidecar
Written by Hassan Abbas

One of the most impressive new features with macOS Catalina and iPadOS 13 is Sidecar. The new feature allows you to extend your Mac display to your iPad. In doing so, you can use Apple Pencil with your Mac for the first time and perform everyday tasks like drawing and sketching or marking up screenshots and PDFs.

With Sidecar, you can use native and third-party macOS apps on your iPad, including Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Photo, ZBrush, and many more.

Macs that support Sidecar (SC)

To use Sidecar, you must have one of the following Macs:

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

Apple never officially announced an official list; instead this comes from Steve Troughton-Smith who did some sleuthing.

iPads that support SC:

To use Sidecar with your iPad, your tablet must support either the first- or second-generation Apple Pencil. These include:

Apple Pencil-iPad:

  • Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch

Apple Pencil (2nd generation):

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch

Requirements to using SC

In addition to having a Mac and iPad that support Sidecar, you must also be signed into the same iCloud account on each machine.

For Wi-Fi use, the following additional requirements apply:

  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on.
  • Both devices are within 10 meters (30 feet) of each other.
  • The iPad isn’t sharing its cellular connection.
  • The Mac isn’t sharing its internet connection.

How to set up SC on Mac

You must first activate Sidecar on Mac and iPad to use the new tool:

  • On Mac, click on System Preferences in the Dock.
  • Click on Sidecar.
  • Click on Devices under Connect to.
  • Select your iPad from the dropdown menu.

If you don’t see your iPad in the list of devices to connect to, try plugging your iPad into your Mac.

How to set up Sidecar on iPad

At this time, it appears the only requirements for using Sidecar on iPad are that both devices must be using the same iCloud account, and connected directly or through Bluetooth. There are no additional Sidecar settings on your iPad.

Customize Sidecar on Mac

There are different ways you can use Sidecar on Mac. These include deciding whether to use the Sidebar on the left or right and whether to show your Mac Touch Bar on the top or bottom of your Mac, when applicable.

To customize:
  • On Mac, click on System Preferences in the Dock.
  • Click on Sidecar.
  • Use the checkbox to turn Show Sidebar on or off.
  • If Show Sidebar is on, use the toggle to select Left or Right.
  • Use the checkbox to turn Show Touch Bar on or off, where applicable.
  • If Show Touch Bar is on, use the toggle to select Top or Bottom.

How to customize Apple Pencil options

There are two settings you can customize for Apple Pencil on Mac:

  • On Mac, click on System Preferences in the Dock.
  • Click on Sidecar.
  • Use the checkbox to turn to Enable double tap on Apple Pencil on or off.
  • Use the checkbox to turn Show pointer when using Apple Pencil on or off.


Let us know if you have any questions about the new Sidecar feature below!

Also Read: What are issues in Troubleshooting MacOS Catalina

About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

Leave a Comment