2 Sidecar Alternatives to Use iPad as Second Screen for Mac

If you're looking to use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac, you may be familiar with the native feature called Sidecar. While it works seamlessly, it does have its limitations. Sidecar only works if both your iPad and Mac are logged in with the same Apple ID, and it doesn't offer touch support. Additionally, it may not work on older iPads and Macs. Thankfully, there are alternatives to Sidecar that offer more features and compatibility. In this article, we will explore two Sidecar alternatives that work on any iPad and provide touch support, gestures, and customization options.

1. Duet Display

Out of all the third-party Sidecar alternatives we tested, Duet Display stood out as the most reliable option. It not only supports both wired and wireless connections but also offers higher-tier plans with better gesture support and pixel-perfect rendering. However, Duet Display is a paid app with a monthly subscription starting at $3/month for a wired connection and $4/month for a wireless connection. Despite the cost, Duet Display provides an excellent user experience.

To get started with Duet Display, download the app on your iPad from the App Store and install it on your Mac. Grant the required permissions during the setup process. After installation, open the Duet Display app on both devices. If you have a Duet Air subscription, tap on the wireless icon on the iPad app and select your Mac to start using your iPad as a second screen. If you prefer a wired connection, connect the devices using a USB cable. Once connected, you can adjust the display settings from the Duet app on your Mac.


  • Works both wired and wirelessly
  • Can use the touch screen of the iPad to navigate your Mac
  • Offers gesture customization options
  • Works on other operating systems like Android and Windows
  • Allows remote access to your Mac


  • Requires a monthly subscription
  • Apple Pencil support requires a separate in-app purchase

2. Splashtop Wired XDisplay

Another alternative to Sidecar is the Splashtop Wired XDisplay app, which offers a multi-screen feature for free. Despite its name, Splashtop provides both wired and wireless options, with the wireless option being part of a paid subscription. If you only need to use your iPad as a second display with cables, the free version of Splashtop should suffice.

To use Splashtop Wired XDisplay, download the Splashtop XDisplay Agent on your Mac and the Splashtop Wired XDisplay HD app on your iPad. Install the Splashtop XDisplay Agent on your Mac and restart the app for it to start working. Connect your iPad and Mac using a USB cable and trust the connected Macbook on your iPad. The app will take a few seconds to establish a connection between the devices. Once connected, you can adjust the display arrangement settings on your Mac to position the iPad according to your preference.


  • Supports both wired and wireless options
  • Wired support is free to use (wireless is tied to a subscription)


  • Clumsy installation process and OS restart required
  • Takes time to connect with devices
  • No customization options

While Sidecar offers the best functionality and seamless integration, Duet Display and Splashtop Wired XDisplay are excellent alternatives if you don't have an iPad logged in with the same Apple ID. Regardless of the method you choose, you can use your Mac's keyboard and mouse or even the iPad's touch screen for navigation. If you're interested in using your Chromebook as a second display for your Mac or PC, check out our article on how to do so.