How to Use Your iPad as a Second Screen for Your Mac

When you own multiple Apple devices, you’ll discover that they can cooperate in a variety of ways. Apple enthusiasts have a tendency to invest in the Apple ecosystem.

If you happen to own both a Mac and an iPad, you can use Sidecar, an inbuilt function of the iPad, to use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac. iPads may mirror or extend the screen of your laptop thanks to a function called Sidecar.

We’ll walk you through how to utilize it and set it up in this article.

Requirements for Sidecar to Work

Requirements for Sidecar to Work
Requirements for Sidecar to Work

Here, we’re focusing on SideCar, a feature that lets your iPad use your Mac as an extra display.

Although the feature was originally known as SideCar, it isn’t mentioned by that name in any of the activation steps in the most recent version of MacOS that we are aware of. In Apple’s documentation, it’s still called “SideCar.”

Before we dive deep into the process, let’s quickly go over the requirements for Sidecar to work:

  1. Verify that the Apple ID you are using to log in on your Mac and iPad are the same.
  2. Pick one of the connections listed below:

Wireless: In terms of wireless connectivity, confirm that both your Mac and iPad have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. They must be roughly 33 feet (10 meters) apart and within Bluetooth range of one another.

USB: Use the proper USB cable to connect your iPad and Mac.

3. Try one of the following on your Mac:

macOS 13: Navigate to the System Preferences menu, select Displays, and then pick your iPad from the “Mirror or extend to” option below.

10.15 to 12.5 on macOS: Navigate to the Apple menu > System Preferences, pick Displays, click Add Display, and then choose your iPad from the “Mirror or extend to” selection below.

How to Use Your iPad as a Second Screen for Your Mac

1. Choose one of the following actions if you haven’t already linked to your iPad:

Choose one of the following actions if you haven't already linked to your iPad:
Choose one of the following actions if you haven’t already linked to your iPad:

macOS 13: Navigate to the System Preferences menu, select Displays, and then pick your iPad from the “Mirror or extend to” option below.

10.15 to 12.5 on macOS: Navigate to the Apple menu > System Preferences, pick Displays, click Add Display, and then choose your iPad from the “Mirror or extend to” selection below.

2. Take one of the following actions:

Switch between screens with a window:

You can either drag the window or move the cursor over the green button located in the upper-left corner of the window and select “Move to.”

Utilize the iPad’s sidebar:

To reveal or conceal the menu bar, Dock, or keyboard, tap any of the icons there with your finger or Apple Pencil. Or, to use keyboard shortcuts, hit one or more modifier keys, such Ctrl.

Using the iPad Touch Bar:

Tap any button in the Touch Bar with your finger or an Apple Pencil. The available buttons change based on the task or application.

Toggling between the Mac desktop and the iPad Home Screen on an iPad:

You can swipe up from the iPad’s bottom edge to display the Home Screen. Tap the iPad’s Sidecar icon in the Dock to get back to the Mac desktop.

Orient the screens differently or mirror them (macOS 13):

Select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then select Displays from the sidebar. Scroll down to the right and select Arrange.

Adjust the configuration of the screens or flip the displays (macOS 10.15 to 12.5):

Make your modifications by selecting Displays from the Apple menu > System Preferences.

Using your iPad as a second screen for your Mac can significantly improve your productivity and provide a seamless multitasking experience.

3. One of the following should be done when you’re ready to cease using your iPad:

On iPad: Tap the Disconnect icon at the bottom of the sidebar.

On Mac: Click Control Center in the menu bar, click Display, then deselect your iPad from the list below “Mirror or extend to.”

Mirror or extend to
Mirror or extend to

Sidecar is a native feature that offers a lag-free and high-quality output on your iPad. However, it’s worth noting that Sidecar only works when both devices are logged in with the same Apple ID and is not compatible with older iPad and Mac models.

But if you still prefer to use your iPad as a second screen or want to take advantage of the touch screen functionality, there are also third-party apps available that offer similar functionality.

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