How To Use Apple Sidecar.
If you are running out of display area, it might be time to consider a second monitor. This will increase your productivity, but it is not a very convenient option. For Mac users with limited ports, using a second monitor is quite difficult without adding an expensive adapter to the list of costs.
Apple is one step ahead, however. If you have a Mac and a spare iPad, you can use your iPad as a second screen with Apple Sidecar. This feature is built-in and available for macOS users with macOS 10.15 Catalina and iPad users with iPadOS 13.
Minimum System Requirements for Apple Sidecar
To use Apple Sidecar with a macOS device, you need two things – a Mac and an iPad. However, Sidecar is only available on the latest Mac and iPad models.
You need a macOS device running macOS 10.15 Catalina. For MacBook and MacBook Pro owners, your device must be 2016 or later. MacBook Air owners will need a 2018 or newer model for Sidecar support to be available.
Sidecar is also supported on iMac (2017 and newer models), iMac Pro (all models), Mac mini (2018 and newer models), and Mac Pro (2019 and newer models)
Not every iPad supports Sidecar. All iPad Pro models support Apple Sidecar, but only iPad 6th generation and later support it. IPad Mini owners need a 5th generation model or later, and iPad Air owners need a 3rd generation model.
To use Sidecar, your iPad and Mac must be authorized using the same Apple account and an account that has two-factor authentication enabled. If this is not the case, Sidecar will not work.
Connect to iPad using Apple Sidecar
If your Mac and iPad support Apple Sidecar and both are up to date, you can start using Sidecar almost immediately, but you’ll need to connect to your iPad first.
There are two ways to connect iPad to Mac. You can connect wirelessly using Bluetooth by making sure Bluetooth is turned on on both devices, or you can connect iPad to Mac directly with a supported charging cable.
- To connect to iPad, click AirPlay in the Mac menu bar. Your iPad, if within reach (within a few meters), will appear in the dropdown list. Select the iPad connection option.
- If a connection is established, your iPad’s screen will change and display the desktop background. You can move open windows to it by dragging them manually with the trackpad or mouse to the screen, or by hovering over the green icon in the open window and clicking the Move to iPad button.
- You can also choose to mirror your Mac screen instead of extending it to display the same content on iPad as on Mac.
Click the screen icon in the menu bar (it will replace the AirPlay icon). Under the AirPlay: Sidecar Display list, click the Mirror Built-in Retina Display option. Instead, it will start mirroring your display on your iPad.
- To turn off the Apple Sidecar display and return iPad to general use, tap the screen icon in the mirror panel (instead of the AirPlay icon) and select the Disable option. Sidecar will be disabled and your iPad screen should return to normal.
Use Sidebar, Touch Bar, and Apple Pencil with Sidecar on iPad
When connected to an iPad using Apple Sidecar, the second display will show two additional menus (depending on your device type). These are the sidebar and touchpad.
Sidebar is a menu on the side of iPad that appears when it is used as a side display. This allows you to quickly use common Mac keys such as the Command and Option keys, undo certain actions, and quickly hide or show the Mac Dock or menu bar.
- You can enable this in the Sidecar preferences menu by clicking Apple icon menu> System Preferences> Sidecar and checking the Show sidebar checkbox. From the drop-down menu, you can select where to place the accompanying element.
If you have a new MacBook or MacBook Pro, you will most likely have a touchpad at the top of your keyboard called the Touch Bar. You can get this feature in Apple Sidecar mode on your iPad, displaying different options and actions when using different apps on your Mac.
- To enable the Sidecar Touch Bar, click the Apple menu> System Preferences> Sidecar icon and enable the Show Touch Bar checkbox by selecting a position from the drop-down menu next to it.
Apple Pencil can also be used as an additional control device for your iPad, allowing you to draw or control specific applications. It also supports double-tapping the Apple Pencil to quickly switch between tools in certain apps, but you’ll need to enable this first in Sidecar’s settings.
- To do this, click the Apple menu icon> System Preferences> Stroller and click to select the Enable double-tap on Apple Pencil check box.
Use iPad Multi-Touch Gestures with Apple Sidecar
If you want to take full advantage of your iPad’s touch capabilities, you can use the various multitouch gestures that iPad supports to control Mac apps in Sidecar mode.
To do this, you first need to enable gestures on the iPad. You can check this in your iPad’s settings by tapping Settings> Home Screen & Dock> Multitasking and making sure the Gestures toggle is set to On.
Here are some common gestures you can use with iPad in Sidecar mode.
- To scroll the iPad screen, press with two fingers and swipe up or down.
- To undo an action, swipe left or double-tap the iPad screen with three fingers. To redo the action, swipe right.
- You can use three-finger gestures to copy or cut text or images. Repeat this twice to cut the text instead.
- Use three fingers to stretch the iPad screen to insert.
Use Multiple Screens and Monitors
With Apple Sidecar, you don’t need an expensive second monitor to mirror or extend your macOS display. With Sidecar, you can use your iPad as a second monitor for free, giving you a fast and portable display for use at home or on the go.
Unfortunately, Windows users do not have a similar functionality out of the box. The best option for Windows PCs is still using a second monitor – fortunately, setting up two monitors in Windows is very easy.