How to use Sidecar on macOS and iPadOS

Sidecar allows you to use your iPad as a wireless, external monitor for your Mac. Here’s how to take advantage of this feature on macOS and iPadOS.

iPad Pro with a white Magic Keyboard

When you buy a new Mac or a recent iPad, you can take advantage of some tight ecosystem features. For example, Universal Control lets you control the tablet using your Mac’s keyboard and trackpad/mouse. There are many other macOS/iPadOS continuity features to connect your Mac and iPad, too, including Sidecar, which helps you transform your iPad into a wireless, portable monitor for your Mac computer. Not only do you get to view macOS content on it, but you get to utilize touch controls through your fingers and Apple Pencil. If that interests you, here’s how to set it up.

Make sure you’re running at least macOS Catalina and iPadOS 13 or later versions of these operating systems.

Using Sidecar on your Mac and iPad

  1. Place the two unlocked devices side by side, and make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled on both.
  2. Launch the System Settings app on your Mac.
  3. Enter the Displays section.
  4. Tap on your iPad in the list of available displays.
  5. Click on Use as and pick Extended or mirrored display.
    How to use Sidecar on macOS and iPadOS 2
  6. Tap again on Use as and choose whether the iPad acts as a Main display, Extended display, or Mirror for built-in display.
    How to use Sidecar on macOS and iPadOS 3
  7. Setting the iPad as a main display would set it as Desktop 1 and the Mac’s screen as Desktop 2.
  8. Similarly, choosing it as the extended display would set it as Desktop 2, while the Mac’s screen remains as Desktop 1.
  9. Choosing the mirroring option would show identical content on both the iPad and Mac screens.
    How to use Sidecar on macOS and iPadOS 1
  10. You can also tap the green dot button on any compatible macOS app tab and move the window to your iPad’s display through the dedicated button.
    How to use Sidecar on macOS and iPadOS 4
  11. Once you set it up the first time, you can directly mirror your macOS content to iPadOS through your Mac’s Control Center> Screen Mirroring.
    How to use Sidecar on macOS and iPadOS

As you can see, mirroring your Mac’s content to your iPad is an effortless process, thanks to Apple baking the feature on a system level. It’s ideal for those who work on the go, sparing them the need to have a dedicated external monitor they’d need to set up every time. With this macOS/iPadOS offering, you can enjoy a wireless solution that requires no advanced technical knowledge.

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