Sidecar is a new feature that turns iPads into secondary displays for Macs, iMacs, MacBooks and MacBook Pros running on macOS Catalina. This feature is a game changer that allows users to maximize their use of their Macs and iPads.

The new Sidecar feature allows users to extend their desktop for added screen space, perfect for those who work on editing and need as much screen space as possible. It also mirrors the desktop to the iPad so that the Apple tablet can be used as a presentation tool (or vice-versa, where the presenter looks at the iPad while the Mac faces everyone).

The new macOS feature also allows users to use their compatible iPads as input devices similar to how graphic artists use graphic tablets when working on digital art. Users can draw or make finger gestures to manipulate images on their iPad, and see it happening in the Mac at the same time.

How to use Sidecar on an iPad

It's easy to use an iPad as a secondary display. Here's how to do it:

First, make sure that the iPad and Mac is compatible with Sidecar, and the Mac is running on macOS Catalina. Here’s the list of iPad models that have Sidecar support:

  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad mini 5
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro (all generations)

Here's a list of compatible macOS devices:

  • MacBook (Early 2016) or newer
  • MacBook Air (2018) or newer
  • MacBook Pro (2016) or newer
  • Mac Pro (2019)
  • Mac Mini (2018)
  • iMac 27″ (Late 2015) or newer
  • iMac Pro (2017) or newer

Next, connect the iPad to the Mac using a charging cable or a wireless Bluetooth connection. CNet noted that both devices should be logged on to the same iCloud account. What's more, iPads using Bluetooth should be kept within 10 meters from the Mac.

After connecting the iPad, users will need to click on the AirPlay menu on their Mac. From here, users will then choose to extend the desktop for more screen estate or to mirror it so that the iPad and Mac will display the same thing.

Sidecar allows users to take advantage of the Touch Bar that appears on the iPad, as well as the iPad's ability to be used for sketching, drawing and editing. Sidecar is compatible with a slew of apps including Adobe Illustrator, Final Cut Pro, Maya, Sketch and more.

Apple iPad Air and Mini Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini. Photo: Apple/Press Release