iPad as a second display for Mac: how to turn it on


With the release of iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina, Sidecar is available, allowing you to use your iPad as a second display without installing additional apps on Mac computers.

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This feature works well with the Apple Pencil, so your iPad can also be your Mac’s graphics tablet. IPad can display Touch Bar for Mac controls that didn’t get this built-in touchbar.

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Which OS support Sidecar function

Sidecar requires iPadOS 13 (or later) and macOS Catalina (or later).

Which Macs support Sidecar

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

It is very strange that the previous Mac Pro is not on this list. For all the power this solution offers, it somehow proved incompatible with Sidecar.

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Which iPads are supported by Sidecar

Fortunately, all iPads that can run iOS 13 or later are supported.

  • iPad Pro (all generations)
  • iPad 6 (2018);
  • iPad mini 5;
  • iPad Air 3.

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How to add Sidecar support for older Macs

Even if your Mac isn’t on the list of supported computers, don’t be upset. Developer Troughton-Smith has posted a workaround that can make the Sidecar feature work even on unsupported devices. However, no one can give guarantees of this.

Enter the following command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.sidecar.display allowAllDevices -bool YES

Click on Return (Enter).

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How to use iPad as a second display for Mac

The Sidecar function works both over the air (Bluetooth) and through the charging cable. Naturally, in the second case, the connection will be more stable and with minimal delays.

To activate Sidecar, click the Control Center icon in the macOS bar.

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

Select the icon Sidecar In chapter Display Control Center.

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

In the window that appears, select the defined iPad.

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

The same action is available from the section Sidecar at “System Preferences” macOS.

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

It also hosts some useful feature options that allow you to move the sidebar to the left or right and display the TouchBar at the bottom or top, and enable or disable the Apple Pencil double-tap feature.

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

On older macOS versions, to enable Sidecar, click the AirPlay icon and select the specific iPad.

How to use iPad as a second display for Mac

After completing the above steps, the iPad will display the macOS interface.

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

If you need to display an application on iPad in full screen mode, hover over the green button at the edge of the application window on macOS and select the option Move to iPad

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

While using Sidecar, you can switch to iPad apps. This will pause but not close the Sidecar session. Use the icon in the iPad Dock to return to Sidecar.

How to turn iPad as a second display for Mac

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Scrolling gestures and other actions

You can use a variety of gestures when using Sidecar mode on your tablet.

  • Scrolling: swipe with two fingers.
  • Copy: pinch three fingers together.
  • Cut: pinch three fingers together twice.
  • Paste: spread three fingers apart.
  • Cancel: swipe left with three fingers, or double-tap with three fingers.
  • Repeat: swipe right with three fingers.

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How to use iPad as a second display for Mac or Windows using third-party apps

If your iPad doesn’t support iOS 13, it’s still possible to use your tablet as a second display for your Mac. To do this, you need to use third-party applications: Duet Display (for Mac and Windows) and Spacedesk (for Windows).

See also:

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