How to use Apple Sidecar to add a second screen to your laptop


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Erin Lawrence

Apple sidecar, add screen, ipad, how toApple has added some cool new functionality to its newer Macbooks. Sidecar is a new feature that allows you to add a second screen to your laptop easily, using your iPad.

Here’s how to use Apple Sidecar and get a second screen:

How to use Apple Sidecar to get a second screen

First off, make sure that your Mac and iPad meet the Sidecar system requirements and you can check that out on Apple’s website which is linked up here. You need Catalina operating system on your MacBook and to make sure the OS software on the iPad is also up to date.

You can use Sidecar wirelessly, but to keep your iPad charged during use, connect it directly to your Mac with the USB charge cable that came with your iPad.

With all your hardware in place, here’s how to link the two devices…

  • Click the AirPlay icon in the topmost menu bar on your Mac, then choose the option to connect to your iPad. (Or use Sidecar preferences to connect.)
 By the way, if you don’t see the AirPlay icon, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Displays, then make sure that ”Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available” is selected.
  • Choose your Pad from the list. You should see it change right away. You can move windows to it by grabbing and dragging them, and use it like any other display.
  • Want to mirror your Mac display so that both screens show the same content instead? Return to the AirPlay menu, which is a blue rectangle  while using Sidecar. Choose the option to mirror your display. This is a great way to share your Mac screen with others.
  • To end your Sidecar session, return to the AirPlay menu and choose the option to disconnect. Or click the Disconnect button in the sidebar on your iPad.

You can make adjustments to your sidecar settings too. Click the blue rectangle to re-arrange displays so that your iPad extends the left, right, top, or bottom of your desktop.
If you want to access these settings before you enable Sidecar, you can go to the Apple menu and choose  > System Preferences, then click Sidecar. These preferences are available only on computers that support Sidecar:

  • Show Sidebar: Show the sidebar on the left or right side of your iPad screen, or turn it off.
  • Show Touch Bar: Show the Touch Bar on the bottom or top of your iPad screen, or turn it off.
  • Enable double tap on Apple Pencil: Allow apps that support this feature to perform custom actions when you double-tap on the side of your Apple Pencil (2nd generation).
  • Connect to: Choose an iPad to connect to, or click Disconnect to stop using Sidecar.

Sidecar is a great way to keep tabs on multiple windows on your laptop, while still keeping your set up compact and portable. I use it to monitor email while editing videos, or to compare two documents side by side. The possibilities are endless.

Get an iPad for your new set up here:

*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using this link.

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