Use your iPad as a second display for your Mac with Sidecar

With Sidecar, you can use your iPad as a display that extends or mirrors your Mac desktop.

iPad next to Macbook using Sidecar

Extend or mirror your Mac desktop with Sidecar

Follow these steps on a Mac and iPad that meet the Sidecar system requirements. 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.

Start a Sidecar session

  • If you're using macOS Big Sur, click the Display menu in Control Center or the menu bar, then choose your iPad from the menu.
    macOS Big Sur Control Center Display options with cursor hovering over Connect To: iPad
  • If you're using macOS Catalina, click the AirPlay icon  in the menu bar, then choose your iPad from the menu. (If you don't see the AirPlay icon, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Displays, and select “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available”.)
  • Or just move a window to your iPad, as described in next section.
  • Or connect using the menu in Sidecar preferences.

Switch to screen mirroring

  • By default, your iPad shows an extension of your Mac desktop. You can move windows to it and use it like any other display.
  • To mirror your Mac display so that both screens show the same content, return to the Display menu or AirPlay menu, which shows a blue iPad icon   while using Sidecar. Choose the option to mirror your display.

End the Sidecar session

  • If you're using macOS Big Sur, return to the Display menu in Control Center or the menu bar and choose your iPad again to disconnect from it.
  • If you're using macOS Catalina, return to the AirPlay menu and choose the option to disconnect. 
  • Or use the Disconnect button  in the sidebar on your iPad, or in Sidecar preferences on your Mac.

Learn more about using external displays. For example, you can use Displays preferences to arrange displays so that your iPad extends the left, right, top, or bottom of your desktop.

Move a window to your iPad display

If you hover your pointer over the full-screen button  of a window, you can choose to move that window to or from your iPad display. It's faster than dragging the window, and the window is perfectly resized for your display.

PDF with full-screen button hover menu options shown with iPad selected

The sidebar puts commonly used controls on the side of your iPad screen. It includes Command, Shift, and other modifier keys, so you can choose essential commands with your finger or Apple Pencil instead of a keyboard.

Use Sidecar preferences to turn off the sidebar or change its position.

iPad using Sidecar

Show Menu bar button icon

Tap to show or hide the menu bar when viewing a window in full screen on iPad. 

Show Dock button icon

Show or hide your computer's Dock on your iPad. 

Command button icon

Command. Touch and hold to set the Command key. Double-tap to lock the key. 

Option button icon

Option. Touch and hold to set the Option key. Double-tap to lock the key.

Control button icon

Control. Touch and hold to set the Control key. Double-tap to lock the key.

Shift button icon

Shift. Touch and hold to set the Shift key. Double-tap to lock the key.

Undo button icon

Undo the last action. Some apps support multiple undos.

Keyboard button icon

Show or hide the onscreen keyboard.

Disconnect button icon

Disconnect your iPad, ending the Sidecar session.


Use the Touch Bar

Many apps on Mac have Touch Bar controls that make common actions even easier. With Sidecar, you get a Touch Bar on your iPad screen even if your Mac doesn’t have a Touch Bar. Tap its controls with either your finger or Apple Pencil. 

Use Sidecar preferences to turn off the Touch Bar or change its position.

If the Touch Bar doesn't appear when using an app that offers Touch Bar controls, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Mission Control, then make sure that “Displays have separate Spaces” is selected.

Use gestures for scrolling and other actions

Multi-Touch gestures on iPad remain available when using Sidecar. These gestures are particularly useful with Sidecar:

  • Scroll: Swipe with two fingers.
  • Copy: Pinch in with three fingers.
  • Cut: Pinch in with three fingers twice.
  • Paste: Pinch out with three fingers.
  • Undo: Swipe left with three fingers, or double-tap with three fingers.
  • Redo: Swipe right with three fingers.

Use Apple Pencil

To point, click, select, and perform tasks such as drawing, editing photos, and manipulating objects on your iPad while it's extending or mirroring your Mac display, you can use your Apple Pencil instead of the mouse or trackpad connected to your Mac. You can also use it to write, sketch, and mark up documents while seeing the updates live on your Mac.

Sidecar also supports double-tap, which you can turn on in Sidecar preferences. Double-tap enables apps that support this feature to perform custom actions when you double-tap on the side of your Apple Pencil (2nd generation).


Use a keyboard, mouse, or trackpad

During your Sidecar session, you can type using a keyboard connected to either your Mac or iPad, such as the Smart Keyboard or Magic Keyboard for iPad.

To point, click, or select with a mouse or trackpad, use the mouse or trackpad connected to your Mac, or use an Apple Pencil on your iPad.

Use iPad apps

While using Sidecar, you can switch to an iPad app, then interact with that app on your iPad as you normally would. This suspends your Sidecar session until you switch back to the Sidecar app or disconnect Sidecar. The Sidecar app appears on your home screen only while using Sidecar.


Use Sidecar preferences

Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Sidecar. These preferences are available only on computers that support Sidecar.

Sidecar options in System Preferences window

  • 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 system requirements

Sidecar requires a compatible Mac using macOS Catalina or later and a compatible iPad using iPadOS 13 or later.

Additional requirements

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