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How to Connect an iPad to macOS Sonoma as a Wireless Second Display Via Sidecar

macOS Sonoma’s Sidecar feature allows you to extend your Mac desktop by using an iPad as a second display or as an input device across creative Mac apps. Here’s how to get setup and start using this awesome feature.

Sidecar hardware and system requirements

Before we begin, let’s address which iPads, Macs, and operating systems work with Sidecar. Sidecar only works with Macs running macOS Catalina or later and with iPads running iPadOS 13 and later. Both devices need to be running an OS that meets those requirements.

You’ll also need to make sure that both your iPad and your Mac are signed in with the same Apple ID and that both are using two-factor authentication. If your Apple ID is a managed Apple ID, you won’t be able to use Sidecar.

Compatible Macs running macOS Catalina or later

Compatible iPads running iPadOS 13 or later

Two options for connecting

Apple has made Sidecar extremely easy to use thanks to its wireless connection option. However, if wireless isn’t working or if you’d just prefer to tether your iPad via USB, you can do that as well.

According to Apple, for the wireless connection to work, both devices must be within 10 meters (30 feet) of each other and have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff (Settings > General > AirDrop and Handoff) turned on. Your iPad must not be sharing its cellular connection and your Mac must not be sharing its internet connection.

To use Sidecar over USB, your iPad must be set to trust your Mac.

Two Options for initiating the connection

Option one: Via Display Settings

° Choose Apple menu   > System Settings,° Displays in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)

° At the top right of the System Settings window, click the “+” sign.

° Choose the name of your iPad.

“+” sign and name of your iPad
“+” sign and name of your iPad

Option two: Via Control Center

° Click Control Center in the menu bar.

Control Center
Control Center

° Click Screen Mirroring.

Screen Mirroring
Screen Mirroring

° Select your iPad.

After you setup Sidecar, the Screen Mirroring menu appears in the menu bar. You can change how you work with iPad from the Screen Mirroring menu. For example, switch between using iPad as a mirrored or separate display, or show or hide the sidebar or Touch Bar on iPad

Screen Mirroring Options
Screen Mirroring Options

Using Sidecar

You can move an app from a Mac to an iPad by:

° Dragging a window to the edge of the screen until the pointer appears on your iPad.

° Clicking and holding (you have to hold it; in other words, keep pressing) your mouse over the green expansion button on the top bar of a Mac app. A menu will pop up; press Move to [iPad] and the app will immediately be sent over to the iPad.

° While using an app, choose Window > Move to iPad.

You can move an app from an iPad to a Mac by:

° Dragging a window to the edge of the screen until the pointer appears on your Mac. 

° While using an app, choose Window > Move Window Back to Mac.

Now, with Sidecar setup, you can use your Apple Pencil, tap to select items such as menu commands, checkboxes, or files. If your Apple Pencil supports it (and you selected the option in Displays settings), you can double-tap the lower section of your Apple Pencil to switch drawing tools in some apps. 

You can also write on the Notes app on the iPad with an Apple Pencil and the results will appear on the Notes app on your Mac.

Notes app
Notes app

With Sidecar set up, you can also use your iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to draw right in certain Mac apps, effectively using the iPad as a graphics tablet. Supported apps include (so far) Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Designer & Photo, Cinema 4D, CorelDraw, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, Maya, Motion, Painter, Principle, Sketch, Substance Designer & Painter, and ZBrush.

You can also use Sidecar on the iPad to use basic gestures, such as tap, swipe, scroll, and zoom, as well as gestures for entering and editing text. 

Using Sidecar requires a compatible Mac running macOS Catalina or later and a compatible iPad running iOS 13.

To disconnect Sidecar:

° Tap the Disconnect icon (a window with a diagonal line through it) at the bottom of the sidebar on iPad.

° On your click the active iPad listed in the Screen Mirroring menu in the menu bar.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Contributing Author
Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he's been an online journalist, covering mainly Apple Inc. He's written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.
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  • You left out the most important bit of information: minimum hardware/software requirements!

    • Roger, you’re spot on. We’ve updated the article to include system and hardware requirements along with some notes about USB connection. Thanks for the comment!

  • Now only if we could reverse this and use MACOS SONOMA as a second display for an iPad.