“Apple Sidecar” One of those useful features that just makes sense when you’re part of an ecosystem like Apple’s is the Apple Sidecar. You can use it to make your iPad a Mac’s external display.

It’s a genius idea in concept. An Apple sidecar supports the Mac using the iPad screen if a user has both a Mac and an iPad.

Table of Contents

What is a Sidecar?

apple sidecar

You can use Sidecar to connect an iPad to a Mac as an external display. There are no cords required because AirPlay allows for the wireless operation of all devices. In contrast to Universal Control, Sidecar does not allow you to use any files or programs on the connected iPad.

Instead, the desktop of your Mac will be enlarged or mirrored on your iPad, so you may employ Multi-Touch gestures. You can even utilize the Apple Pencil, so for instance, you might be using Adobe Photoshop on your Mac and use the iPad as a workspace for Photoshop. Once a file is open in that workspace, you can use the Apple Pencil to edit it.

To access modifier keys like Command, Option, and Shift, the iPad shows a Sidebar when Sidecar is in use. Similar to the physical Touch Bar on earlier MacBook Pros, Sidecar similarly depicts a Touch Bar at the top or bottom of the iPad that displays additional controls.

You may arrange the displays so that the iPad mirrors the first one, just like a full-sized monitor, or so that it extends your Mac’s desktop, allowing you to have more windows open and visible at a glance. For instance, you may be working on a Pages page on the main Mac screen while still having a browser window open on the iPad. For professional applications like Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, or Logic, the enlarged desktop is quite useful.

Apple Sidecar: Which gadgets support Sidecar?

A suitable Mac running macOS Catalina or later is required for Sidecar, as is a compatible iPad running iPadOS 13 or later. The Macs and iPads listed below support Sidecar.


  • 2016 or later for MacBook
  • 2018 or later MacBook Air
  • 2016 or later for the MacBook Pro
  • 2018 or later for Mac mini;
  • 2015 or later for iMac
  • 2017 or later for iMac Pro
  • 2019 or later for Mac Pro


  • 6th generation or later iPad
  • 3rd generation or later iPad Air
  • 5th generation or later iPad mini
  • iOS Pro

Apple Sidecar: How Sidecar Works

Your iPad will look exactly like any other second screen after you enable Sidecar. This means that you can either extend the Mac’s desktop to the iPad or mirror the Mac’s display to it. The best strategy is this one.

You can drag windows from the Mac to the iPad and vice versa if you have an expanded display. You can drag and click on either display while moving your cursor back and forth between the iPad and the Mac’s screen.

The iPad and Mac apps both support the Apple Pencil. Of course, you may use it to click, drag, and choose from menus. In some instances, the Pencil even allows for drawing. However, I occasionally find that straight drawing with the Pencil in Photoshop is more accurate and comfortable than using the mouse for layout design and other chores.

Finally, you can alternate between utilizing the iPad as an iPad and as a second monitor. You can simultaneously utilize the device as an iPad and a display by using a number of swipes (explained here).

Apple Sidecar: Limitations of Sidecar

Strangely, despite having been there for four significant macOS upgrades—Catalina, Big Sur, Monterey, and Ventura—Sidecar’s implementation lacks a few key features.

Problem 1: There is no portrait mode

The first seems like something you ought to be able to do without a problem. When the iPad is in Sidecar mode, you cannot switch the screen from landscape to portrait orientation. Most consumers read on their iPads in portrait mode and watch videos in landscape mode. Because the front camera occupies the center of the top of the screen when held in portrait mode, it appears that Apple has prioritized this layout.

To use the screen with a Mac, however, you cannot flip it from wide to tall. For practically any external monitor, you can create this flip.

Problem 2: The iPad’s speakers aren’t producing any sound

Necessities for MacBook Users

The MacBook is Apple’s most mobile notebook, and these five essential accessories may improve your productivity while you’re on the go.

The MacBook Pro (2023), for example, is a popular choice among people who work remotely. These notebooks provide extended battery lives and thin, portable designs, after all. However, in order to streamline your workflow and get the most out of your MacBook when working on the road, you must rely on a few necessities.

1. A portable stand

I always use a portable stand with an adjustable angle with my MacBook, whether I’m working from home or in a coffee shop. Lifts the MacBook keyboard so you can type comfortably without a separate keyboard. A metal keyboard with several angle settings and a folding mechanism for simple storage and carrying will help you maintain good posture and a straight spine.

2. A carry-on bag

And speaking of smaller bags, you’ll need one to comfortably transport your MacBook. But when searching for an option, there are a few things you ought to take into account. To begin with, it must be small and lightweight so that you can move around and commute without it being a bothersome barrier. Additionally, you might wish to get a water-resistant bag in case of inclement weather. The bag you choose should also have enough pockets to accommodate all of your necessary equipment, including cables, adapters, and, obviously, your iPad.

3. Earbuds

It goes without saying that if you travel or commute frequently, you may need some headphones or earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC). After all, a decent pair can drown out any commotion in noisy public areas. Not to mention that many of us participate in online meetings and work while listening to music, so this necessary item might give you the ability to make your own bubble. Although there are many reliable solutions from other brands, I personally rely on the AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Max.

4. Wireless mouse

No matter where you use your MacBook, a wireless mouse is a fantastic addition, even if I personally don’t rely on one. For a tidy setup, there should be as little clutter as possible, and wireless mice provide easy point-and-click tools without connections. Compact and simple to carry in a bag.

5. iPad

You’re probably wondering why an iPad is on this list right now. You may already be aware of the Sidecar feature, which allows you to use your iPad as a second Mac display. As a result, I always bring my iPad with me when working outside because I typically require more than one screen to do my tasks. Even if its display is modest in comparison to a dedicated monitor, it is still an improvement over nothing.


Technically, Sidecar should be able to support these functions. MacOS already includes the orientation feature and the option to select sound output devices. Neither one calls for a lot of additional hardware power or machine space. So, it’s actually a software issue.

Hopefully, Apple will incorporate these two fundamental capabilities in Sidecar when it releases the next version of macOS in the coming year.

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