Using Sidecar in macOS Catalina

If you have a Mac running macOS Catalina and an iPad running iPadOS, you can use your tablet as a second screen for your Mac. This is especially good news if you also use an Apple Pencil. You can draw on your iPad, using it as a high-resolution input device for your Mac.

Step 1 – To use Sidecar on your Mac and iPad, first of all, open System Preferences on your Mac then click on the Sidecar preference pane. If it isn’t there, your Mac’s too old to use Sidecar.

Step 2 – You can set where the Sidecar Sidebar and Touch Bar appears on your screen, if at all. When you’re done, look in the pull-down menu labelled ‘Connect to’, and choose your iPad.


Step 3 – There’s a brief flash, and your Apple devices connect, sharing screen space between your Mac and your iPad. Your iPad can now be used as an input device or second screen when used alongside your macOS device.


Step 4 – To move your iPad to the other side of your Mac, open System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement. Drag the smaller blue shape around the larger one, until it’s where you want the iPad to register.

Using the iPad as an Input Device

With Sidecar, you can also use your iPad as a graphics tablet. According to Apple, any Mac app that supports stylus input works in this way, but the company has also come up with a preliminary list of apps that you can use with the Mac, iPad, and Apple Pencil:

Adobe Illustrator
Affinity Designer
Affinity Photo
Cinema 4D
DaVinci Resolve
Final Cut Pro
Substance Designer
Substance Painter

System Requirements

To use Sidecar, your Mac must be one of the following;

iMac 27-inch 2015 or later
Mac mini 2018 or later
Mac Pro 2019 or later
MacBook Pro 2016 or later
MacBook Air 2018 or later
MacBook 2016 or later

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Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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