Setting Up Sidecar In Catalina

The new macOS Catalina and iPad OS 13 bring some handy new features to users. One of those features is Sidecar which enables a Mac to use an iPad as an extra screen. Since I have a 27” iMac I really do not need to use this feature, but here is how to set it up if you are using a Mac with a smaller screen.

Sidecar Setup

The ability to use an iPad as a secondary screen has been around for a while using third party Apps. Now that Apple has builtin Sidecar into the Mac and iPad OS, I am certain more people will be using this feature, especially if they use a Laptop for their main Mac.

To get Sidecar running you first have to have your iPad running and, presumably, sitting next to your Mac. If you are wondering whether your iPad will work with Sidecar, go to this page for a list of iPads and Macs that will work with this feature.

Once your iPad is running and positioned next to your Mac, go into the Sidecar Preference Pane:

Once in the Sidecar Preference Pane you will see this window:

There are several settings for placing your iPad and also for a Touch Bar and Apple Pencil if you have one. To connect the iPad to your Mac you have to click on “Select Device”:

Then select iPad from the drop down. When you do that you will see a replica of your Mac screen on the iPad:

In this case System Preferences is running on the Mac so it is mirrored on the iPad. You can see the various tools in the left sidebar, more on those in another article.

For me the best way to use Sidecar is to place an App on the iPad that I use all the time. In this case that would be the Spark Email App:

Now you can move your mouse over onto the iPad to interact with whatever App you have placed there and then move the mouse back to the main Mac. I think you can see an Apple Pencil might be helpful if you were going to use Sidecar fairly frequently.

When you are finished with Sidecar, just go into System Preferences and click on the Disconnect button:

Mac OS Catalina will disconnect from using the iPad as an external display.


Using Sidecar is really quite easy to do. It works very well and provides some much needed screen real estate for Laptop users. If you are on an iMac like me, you may not need it, but it is there is you wish to try it out.