TC Teach: How to Use Your iPad as a Second Mac Screen with Sidecar

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TC Teach: How to Use Your iPad as a Second Mac Screen with Sidecar
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Introduced by Apple in 2019 with the arrival of macOS Catalina and iPadOS 13, Sidecar allows Mac users to use their iPad as a second screen, extending or mirroring the contents of their computer’s display.

Today, continuing our list of tips and tutorials, you can see below how to use this feature, using your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac!

How to Use iPad as a Second Mac Screen with Sidecar

If you don’t have that much space or want to keep your setup mobile, buying a monitor to use with your Mac might not exactly be the best option; further justifying the idea of ​​using an iPad as a second screen.

Image: playback/Apple

Through Sidecar, you can connect your tablet to your Apple computer, mirroring or extending the content shown on the Mac – just as it would on a regular monitor. The feature can be used both wired and wireless.

Check out the following categories:

  • Compatibility and requirements
  • How to use Sidecar
  • Extended screen settings

Compatibility and requirements

Before leave for the hug, it is important to check if your devices are compatible with the technology. And it’s not worth having just one of the compatible devices, both devices need to be in agreement to work with Sidecar.

Check below if your devices fit:

Macs with macOS Catalina or later

  • MacBook (models released in 2016 or later);
  • MacBook Air (models released in 2018 or later);
  • MacBook Pro (models released in 2016 or later);
  • iMac (models released 2017 or later) or iMac with Retina Display (27″, Late 2015);
  • iMac Pro;
  • Mac mini (models released in 2018 or later);
  • Mac Pro (model released in 2019);
  • Mac Studio.

iPads with iPadOS 13 or later

  • iPad (6th generation or later);
  • iPad Air (3rd generation or later);
  • iPad mini (5th generation or later);
  • iPad Pro (all models).

In addition to being compatible with the technology, both the iPad and the Mac need to be connected to the same iCloud account and have two-factor authentication enabled.

For wireless connectionthe devices need to be close, at a maximum distance of 10 meters, and have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Handoff activated. Also, both cannot be sharing the internet connection.

For wired connection, the iPad must be configured to trust the Mac. To do this, simply connect your iPad to your Mac and unlock it. Then click on “Trust”, on Mac, and on “Trust” on the iPad.

How to use Sidecar

Now that you’ve made sure that both your Mac and your iPad are compatible and all requirements are being met, it’s time to learn how to use Sidecar:

  • First, make sure the iPad is nearby (or connected to the computer);
  • On Mac, open the “System Settings”. To do so, click on the Apple menu on the top bar and select the aforementioned option;
  • Now, click on the side menu of “screens”;
  • Click on the drop-down menu “+” located next to your screen layout drawing and select iPad.
    • If your macOS is on an earlier version, look for the “Sidecar” option in the “System Preferences” search.

At that moment, the Mac screen will automatically extend to the iPad display and you will be able to see your mouse in action on the tablet screen; in addition to being able to drag your windows and activities as if it were, in fact, a second monitor.

Now that the iPad has been connected, the “Screen Mirroring” (or “AirPlay” in earlier versions of macOS) will appear in the Mac menu bar. Click on this icon to select quick actions, such as toggling between extending and mirroring, hiding or showing the Sidebar and the touch bar etc.


This Sidebar and the touch bar, as you may have already noticed, are on your iPad screen. The Sidebar, on the left, with icons for essential Mac commands, and the touch barat the bottom, with important shortcuts in compatible applications – present even if your Mac does not have the component.

Extended screen settings

To configure the layout of these screens, define how they work, position and the presence of menus or activate double-tap with Apple Pencil, you need to take a few steps in your Mac’s settings.

  • With the menu of “System Settings” > “screens” opened again, click on the iPad at the top of monitors;
  • In the new menu, under “use as”, define the operation of the second screen, opting for mirroring or extending the computer screen;
  • Click in “Organize” to define the arrangement of the screens, and select the position (or presence) of the Sidebar and the Touch Bar;
  • Activate the option switch “Enable Double Tap on Apple Pencil” to enable the Apple Pencil (2nd gen) gesture for custom actions.

  • Click on the button “Advanced” to set more specific binding and battery and power options.

To end the iPad connectionat the macclick on your iPad model in the “Screen Mirroring” or “AirPlay” located on the top bar, or, still in the “screens“, Click on the button “disconnect”.

At the iPadif the Sidebar is activated, click on the disconnect icon located at the lower end of the bar and confirm the operation by touching “disconnect”.


Although it is not possible to use the Mac interface with your fingers, you can return to the iPad home screen with the same “drag up” gesture that you use for other applications. The Sidecar icon will appear on the Dock from the iPad. You can use the feature again by tapping on it or closing it through the iPad’s multitasking menu.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise