How to Use iPad as Main Monitor with Mac Mini: A Step-by-Step Guide

Need more screen space or want to use your iPad as a main monitor for your Mac Mini? It’s easier than you think! By using a feature called Sidecar, you can quickly turn your iPad into a second screen for your Mac Mini. This guide will walk you through the steps to set it up efficiently.

How to Use iPad as Main Monitor with Mac Mini

Setting up your iPad as a monitor for your Mac Mini can give you the flexibility and functionality you need. Follow these steps to accomplish that setup.

Step 1: Ensure Compatibility

Check if both your Mac Mini and iPad support the Sidecar feature.

Sidecar is available on Mac Mini models released in 2018 or later and iPads that run iOS 13 or later. Ensure both devices are updated to the latest software versions to avoid compatibility issues.

Step 2: Connect Devices

Connect your iPad and Mac Mini to the same Wi-Fi network.

Having both devices on the same Wi-Fi network ensures they can communicate efficiently. If you experience any lag or connectivity issues, consider using a direct USB connection instead.

Step 3: Enable Sidecar

On your Mac Mini, go to System Preferences > Sidecar.

Under the Sidecar menu, select your iPad from the list of available devices. This will initiate the connection between your Mac Mini and iPad.

Step 4: Set Up Display Arrangement

Arrange your displays by going to System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement.

Drag the display icons to match the physical arrangement of your monitors. This step helps ensure smooth cursor movement between the screens.

Step 5: Set iPad as Main Display

Set the iPad as the primary display by dragging the white menu bar to the iPad icon in the Arrangement tab.

Making the iPad your main display means that all your menus and dock will appear on the iPad screen. You can always change this back if you need to.

After completing these steps, your iPad will function as the primary monitor for your Mac Mini. You’ll notice that the screen extends to your iPad, and the interface adapts to the new setup, giving you a seamless experience.

Tips for Using iPad as Main Monitor with Mac Mini

  • Ensure your devices have enough battery or are plugged in to avoid interruptions.
  • Use a stand for your iPad to position it at eye level for better ergonomics.
  • Disable notifications on your iPad to keep distractions to a minimum.
  • Make use of Apple Pencil for precise control and navigation.
  • Adjust the display settings to match brightness and color for a consistent viewing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my iPad wirelessly as a monitor?

Yes, you can use your iPad wirelessly via Wi-Fi, but ensure both devices are connected to the same network for optimal performance.

Does Sidecar work with non-Apple devices?

No, Sidecar is a feature exclusive to Apple devices running compatible macOS and iOS versions.

What if my iPad is not detected by the Mac Mini?

Ensure both devices are updated and connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Restarting both devices can also help resolve connection issues.

Can I use touch gestures on my iPad when it’s a monitor?

Yes, you can use touch gestures and the Apple Pencil on your iPad while it’s functioning as a monitor.

Is it possible to switch back to the Mac Mini display?

Yes, you can easily switch back by going to System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement and dragging the white menu bar back to the Mac Mini icon.


  1. Ensure Compatibility
  2. Connect Devices
  3. Enable Sidecar
  4. Set Up Display Arrangement
  5. Set iPad as Main Display


Using your iPad as a main monitor with your Mac Mini can be a game changer for productivity and convenience. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can easily extend your workspace and enjoy the flexibility that comes with using an iPad as a monitor. Whether you’re a student needing more screen real estate for research or a professional looking for an adaptable setup, this method offers a seamless experience. For further reading, explore Apple’s support pages on Sidecar, and don’t forget to keep your devices updated for the best performance. Give it a try and see how this setup can enhance your digital workflow!

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