How to use your iPad as a Second Screen for Mac with iPadOS Sidecar

ipadOS sidecar

The Microsoft Windows operating system is growing, partly due to compatibility with Android smartphones. Apple, that has always been a hot competitor for Microsoft are not relenting in their efforts.

Seeing the compatibility of Surface tablets with Windows computers, they came up with new technology and named it Sidecar.

Launched with MacOS Catalina and iPadOS 13, iPadOS Sidecar allows you to extend the display of your Mac to your iPad. This means a whole lot of new possibilities.

Imagine using your Apple pencil with your Mac!

That’s not even the big deal. Sidecar will bring native desktop apps to your iPad; Illustrator, and more.

However, before you get onto Sidecar, ensure you’ve disposed of your 2009 MacBook because Sidecar isn’t working with that, – of course.

In this article, we’ll go over Macs and iPads that do support iPadOS Sidecar, before going to explain how you can exactly set it up on your Mac and iPad, getting a new iPad, and Mac experience.


Requirements for Sidecar

Sidecar is quite demanding. You’ll need to get almost the latest gadgets, before going on to get the extra accessories to get Sidecar working perfectly, both on your iPad and Mac.

Let’s go over the gadgets part first.

What iPads support Sidecar?

Not all versions of the iPad support Sidecar. If you don’t own one of these versions of the iPad, you should consider upgrading if you’ll like to test the Sidecar experience.

Please note that there is no official document by Apple that outlines what iPads work with the all-new iPadOS Sidecar. This list is a result of detective work by experts.

IF you have the first generation Apple Pencil, these iPads are the best bet

 iPad Air (3rd generation)
 iPad Mini (5th generation)
 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
 iPad Pro 10.5-inch
 iPad (6th generation)
 iPad (7th generation)
 iPad Pro 9.7-inch
 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)

On a second-generation Apple Pencil, the iPad requirements changes to only include the following

 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
 iPad Pro 11-inch

What Macs support Sidecar?

A whole lot, to be general. Anything after 2015 should be suitable, except you’re using some types of the Mac.

To be specific, here are the Mac computers and MacBooks that support Sidecar, right out of the box.

 iMac 27-inch (Late 2015 or newer)
 MacPro (2016 or newer)
 Mac mini (2018)
 MacBook Air (2018)
 MacBook Pro (Early 2016 or later)
 Mac Pro (2019)


Other Requirements

It’s a whole lot of hassle to set up Sidecar, I must confess. Not that the processes are actually difficult, but it’s somewhat demanding to get it set up.

Here are some things you must ensure the proper setup before you start the setup of the iPadOS sidecar.

 You must be signed onto the same iCloud on both devices. This is part of the reason I don’t use Macs. I can’t just get a friend’s MacBook and quickly share my screen’s iPad?
 Both the Mac and iPad must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network if you plan to connect using Wi-Fi. Additional requirements when you’re connecting via Wi-Fi is that you must have Bluetooth and Handoff turned on, and both devices mustn’t be more than 30 feet away from each other. The iPad shouldn’t be sharing its internet connection.
 If you’ll connect manually, it is much easier and simpler, and the only thing you’ll need is a cable to connect the iPad and the Mac.

Gotten all requirements, let’s jump on in and set up Sidecar.

How to set up Sidecar on Mac

Before you can be allowed to use Sidecar, you must activate it first.

Here’s how to activate Sidecar on your Mac.

A.Turn on your Mac, and click on System Preferences in the Dock.
B.You should find Sidecar somewhere in the resulting page, click on it.
C.Under Connect to, click on Devices
D.Find, and select your iPad from the resulting menu. It should be available if you have done the pre-connection steps quite well.
E.If you can’t find your iPad, check to see if your iPad is part of the supported iPads. If it is, you should consider manually plugging your iPad into the Mac, then trying again.


That is all. You don’t need to know how to set up Sidecar on iPad, it doesn’t require setup. Currently, the only setup that you’ll need is that of your Mac, and if it is successful, you can share your Mac’s screen on your iPad without having to go through additional setup steps.



You can further customize Sidecar to make the experience even much better. Would you like to know how to customize Sidecar after setting it up?

Stick around for a minute.

How to customize Apple Pencil Options

You can customize the behavior of your Apple Pencil when using Sidecar. It’s easy.

A.Click on System Preferences on your Mac
B.Click on Sidecar
C.You can choose to Enable double tap on Apple Pencil, or otherwise. Just check or uncheck the box.
D.You can also choose to show pointer when using Apple Pencil. You can do this by checking or unchecking a similarly named box.

How to customize Sidecar

You can use whether to use the Sidebar on the left or right. You can also decide to show the Mac Touch Bar at the top or bottom, of your Mac, by following these simple steps

A.Click on System Preferences in the Dock on your Mac.
B.Click on Sidecar, as you’ve always done.
C.Using the Checkbox, you can toggle the availability of the Sidebar on, and off.
D.If it’s on, you can select if it should be on the right or left, using the toggle.
E.To turn on the Touch Bar, check the show Touch Bar Box and select where you want it to be located, top or bottom.



You’re now sharing the screen of your Mac on your iPad. Open up to a world of new possibilities and never limit yourself to the power of the Mac, alone.

About Raji Ridwan 188 Articles
I'm a tech geek, marketing prodigy, and poetry enthusiast with years of blogging experience. When I'm not writing, I'm trying to catch up with the latest episode of Boruto. I'm still in Naruto by the way! I do freelance writing.