How To Turn Your iPad Into A Second Mac Display With Sidecar?

how to turn ipad into mac display with sidecar

An iPad running iPadOS can be considered to be secondary display in the macOS Catalina which is for your Mac with a single click by using the Sidecar. Here are given some of the important things which you need to know regarding the usage of Sidecar for yourself when both iPadOS and Catalina ships.

Getting Started

You essentially need two important things to make use of Sidecar such as a Mac running macOS 10.15 Catalina and also an iPad running iPadOS. Apart from that, they may be further requirements in terms of hardware but these are not published by Apple. Presently, we also believe that the lower cutoff is the 2015 MacBook of whichever variety such as the 2013 Mac Pro, the late 2015 iMac and 2014 mini and newer.

If you want to get started with the Sidecar then, it is very simple. There is no digging in menus, no fiddling around and also no opening display preferences. It is very easy to open the AirPlay menu and also head to the menubar.

It should specifically appear in this menu as long as your iPad is either on or near your Mac or plugged in with a Lightning or USB-C cable. Just you need to click on it and as a result, both the displays will be refreshed and you will see your Mac desktop extended to the display of iPad.

This particular feature is shockingly smooth and fast with great graphics in our experience with Sidecar. This applies even at the time of going wireless. One thing that cannot be done is unplugging of your iPad in such an attempt to go wireless. Doing so will again contribute to disconnect the display. Apart from that, it will again require you to quickly reconnect with the AirPlay menu once more.

Sidecar UI

The Sidecar UI is considered to be quite simple on your iPad. Your Mac’s Screen will be again slightly recessed with a bar to the bottom and also one side by default. The sidebar is also the home to many common controls which you specifically may need. But, in case you are using the keyboard of iPad, then, you may not have these buttons like Shift, Command, Control, and Option.  There is again the presence of buttons which helps to open the on-screen keyboard, to move the Dock to the iPad and to disconnect from your Mac.

The button is also the home to the Touch Bar which is very similar to that you would get to see on the keyboard of MacBook Pro. For this to be useful, you do not preferably need to have a Touch Bar on your Mac. However, it shows and contributes to bringing several app-specific controls. You also have fast access to scrub bar and media controls at the time of playing a video. Along with that, you can also easily change tools or mute tracks in the Final Cut Pro X.

Depending on your preference, the Touch Bar can be moved to the bottom or the top and the Side Bar can be moved to the right or the left from the Mac. Both of these bars can again be turned off as well which helps to bring your Mac’s desktop full screen specifically on the iPad.

Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil
                           Apple Pencil

Generally, the Apple Pencil works great with the Sidecar. It can either control the UI and be controlling of the mouse or in specific the artistic applications which can make use of a tablet.

You can just rely on your iPad which you already have instead of shelling out for an Intuous or Wacom tablet that can again get pricey. Even on the MacBook Air, people have pulled up the Affinity Photo and also easily edited 47MP RAW photos.


There is the presence of a System Preferences panel to the Sidecar which possesses a few options for you to choose from. But, the customization is considered to be very limited. Limited options are generally for the best in order to keep the utility simple for the wider market.

You can also move the sidebar to the right or the left from the System Preferences and so, it is possible for you to move the Touch Bar from the bottom to the top. Apart from that, you can also easily disable or enable the double tap functionality of the Apple Pencil.

You can hide the Touch Bar and sidebar completely in case you go from the top menubar. This helps to opt to either extending your display or mirror your display.

One Of Many New Features

Sidecar is specifically one of the many new features which come to the macOS Catalina. iTunes has again been split into podcasts, music, and TV-specific apps and so, the developers are preferably able to port their iOS apps directly to the Notes, Mac, and Reminders which got significantly revamped and lot more. Alongside iPadOS, iOS 13, watchOS 6 and tvOS 13, Apple will be releasing the macOS 10.15 Catalina this fall.

Hardip Koradia

Written by Hardip Koradia

Hardip Koradia is a pro tech blogger with years of experience in writing resourceful articles on different tech topics like mobile apps, PCs, gadgets, software, how to guides, etc. His passion for technology inspired him to start Techbylws, a growing tech blog.