How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

If you don’t want to spend money on an external monitor for your MacBook, you can use Apple’s Sidecar feature to turn your iPad into a secondary display. Read on, as we’ll walk you through the steps to set it up. What Is Sidecar? In a nutshell, Sidecar lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac, either via a wired connection or wirelessly. You can set it to the left or right of your main display and use it like any other monitor, but that’s not all it can do. Notably, Sidecar takes advantage of your iPad’s touchscreen. It even supports the Apple Pencil, which makes it a great addition if you’re an artist looking to expand your creative options. If you’re jealous of the touchscreen on Windows computers, this doesn’t get you all the way there, but it’s a step closer. Setting Up Sidecar on Your Mac […]

How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

If you don’t want to spend money on an external monitor for your MacBook, you can use Apple’s Sidecar feature to turn your iPad into a secondary display. Read on, as we’ll walk you through the steps to set it up.

What Is Sidecar?

In a nutshell, Sidecar lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac, either via a wired connection or wirelessly. You can set it to the left or right of your main display and use it like any other monitor, but that’s not all it can do.

Notably, Sidecar takes advantage of your iPad’s touchscreen. It even supports the Apple Pencil, which makes it a great addition if you’re an artist looking to expand your creative options. If you’re jealous of the touchscreen on Windows computers, this doesn’t get you all the way there, but it’s a step closer.

ipad system requierments

Setting Up Sidecar on Your Mac

Because of Apple’s confusing iPad naming scheme, it’s a good idea to check your Mac’s model, year, and age and which iPad you have. Once you do, we recommend checking Apple’s Sidecar requirements to ensure both your devices support Sidecar.

 

ipad system requierments

 

Use Sidecar Wirelessly

Before you get started, check if your Mac and iPad are signed in to the same Apple ID and connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Also, make sure Bluetooth is enabled on both devices and position them within 30 feet of each other.

To start using Sidecar wirelessly, click the Control Center icon in the menu bar and select Screen Mirroring. Now, simply choose your iPad under the Mirror or extend to header.

 

How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

 

Use Sidecar over USB

If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi or would like to charge your iPad, you can also use Sidecar over USB. Simply plug your iPad into your Mac with the included USB-C cable. Make sure your iPad is set to trust your Mac. Otherwise, you won’t be able to connect.

Now, all you need to do is head to the Control Center on your Mac, click Screen Mirroring, and select your iPad from the list of devices. If your iPad doesn’t appear on the list, check the cable you’re using.

You can use Sidecar wirelessly and still plug the iPad into your Mac to charge it if needed. This is generally simpler than using the USB option.

 

How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

How to Use Sidecar on Your Mac

Once you connect, you can choose to either mirror your screen or extend it. Most people will probably want to use the extend option for extra-screen real estate, and that’s what Sidecar uses by default. Simply click the Screen Mirroring icon in the menu bar and choose between Mirror Built-In Retina Liquid Display and Use As Separate Display.

To change which side of your Mac the iPad appears on for proper mouse movement, go to System Settings, then go to the Displays menu. Here, switch to the Arrange tab and drag the iPad to whichever side of your Mac display you’ve physically placed it.

On the same Displays page, you can also choose whether you’d like to use your iPad or Mac as the main or extended display. For instance, if you’d like to change what your iPad acts as, select it, then set the Use As option to Main displayExtended display, or Mirror for Built-in Display.

You can use your iPad like any other second monitor once you’ve connected your iPad via Sidecar. You have a few options to move a window from your main screen to the iPad. You can drag it to the edge of your screen until you see it appear on your iPad. It should look similar to the image below.

Make sure to keep dragging toward the edge of your Mac’s screen until you see the pointer appear on your iPad’s screen.

Alternatively, you can hover over the green full-screen button in the top-left of a window, then choose Move to [Your iPad’s Name].

While using Sidecar, you can still use your iPad as you normally would by switching apps. Once you’ve switched, you’ll notice a new Continuity app icon on your iPad’s Dock. Simply tap this icon to return to using your iPad as a monitor.

Once you’re done using your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac, all you need to do is tap the Disconnect icon at the bottom of the sidebar. Alternatively, you can visit the Control Center on your Mac and toggle off Screen Mirroring.

If you’re on a budget and can’t afford an external monitor, setting up the Sidecar feature is a worthwhile alternative to achieving a multi-monitor setup. While you can explore a few more customization options by heading to System Settings > Displays, everything we discussed above is enough to get you started.

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