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Home / Tips and Tricks / Apple Sidecar: How to use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac

Apple Sidecar: How to use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac



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Apple Sidecar lets you use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac.


Angela Lang / CNET

Now that MacOS Catalina has released ( how to install it ), you can officially use your iPad as a second screen on your Mac. Before Apple Sidecar was an iPad feature, it was best known as a delicious cocktail. But we are happy to raise a glass for Apple's new dual-screen tool.

Sidecar is especially useful when you need to be portable, such as in a cafe and when traveling, but you can of course use it at work and at home. The new feature works on your Mac if it runs MacOS Catalina . Here's everything we know about how Apple Sidecar works.

Which iPads work as a second screen with Sidecar

All iPads that have the new software update iPadOS 13 work with Sidecar. Here are compatible iPads.

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Sidecar lets you connect your Mac and iPad for dual screens.


Apple

Which Mac works with Sidecar

Along a compatible iPad, you need a Mac that can work with Sidecar.

  • MacBook Pro, 2016 or later
  • MacBook, 2016 or later
  • MacBook Air, 2018 or later
  • iMac, 2016 or later plus iMac Retina 5K, 27-inch, late 2015 model
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac mini, 2018 or later
  • Mac Pro, 2019

Connecting your iPad to your Mac

For Apple Sidecar to work, you need to connect your iPad to your Mac with either a charging cable or a Bluetooth wireless connection. Of course, this is your first step. Remember that you need to stay within a 10-meter range of your Mac (that's just over 32 feet) for Bluetooth to work. You must also make sure that both devices are logged into the same iCloud account.

How to set Sidecar when your iPad is connected

When your iPad is connected, click the AirPlay menu on your Mac. Your iPad should appear in the menu. There are two ways you can set your dual screens – you can extend your desktop screen to have two different screens, or you can mirror your screens so that they both show exactly the same.





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Sidecar turns your iPad into a second screen





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Extending your Mac screen to your iPad

Choosing the option to expand your screen means that you can have a set of apps and browser tabs open on your Mac while you have a completely different app or set of apps on the iPad. For example, you can watch a video on iPad while typing on Mac. You will also be able to drag and drop documents and other items from one screen to another.

Reflecting your two screens

The other option when setting Sidecar with iPad is to display the same screen on both devices by mirroring your screens. This means that you see exactly the same set of apps on both screens at the same time.

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Extend your Mac desktop screen to your iPad or mirror your screens.


Apple

This is especially useful if you want to draw on your iPad during a presentation while others are looking at your Mac. Or if you're on an airplane, you can play a movie on your Mac while your buddy is watching the iPad, so you don't have to fight both on the same screen.

However, since the goal of Sidecar is to give you a second screen to work with, many of your iPad features are not available while connected to your Mac.

Sketch with Apple Pencil

If you want to write in your own handwriting, draw, design graphics and edit photos, you can use Apple Pencil to get the job done on your iPad. Because MacOS Catalina makes it possible to connect your Mac to your iPad, your sketches can easily be transferred to your Mac by dragging and dropping them from one screen to another.

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Apple

Use the Touchpad and Sidebar Controls

With the Sidecar, you can also use your iPad as a touchpad (the app tray at the bottom of the screen) for easier access. You can also turn it into a sidebar tool (your most frequent documents are stored here as icons) to create shortcuts to apps (see below).

Apps that you can use with Sidecar

Apple announced that Sidecar will work with these apps, but hopefully more will come in the future.

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Affinity Designer & Photo
  • Cinema 4D
  • CorelDraw
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Maya
  • Exercise
  • Painter
  • Principle ]] Sketch
  • Substance Designer & Painter
  • ZBrush

Originally published earlier this year. Updated to include now available with MacOS Catalina update.


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