How to Use iPad as Second Screen for Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Using an iPad as a second screen for your Mac is a fantastic way to expand your workspace and enhance productivity. With Apple’s Sidecar feature, you can easily connect your iPad to your Mac and use it as a secondary display. This setup is ideal for multitasking, drawing, or just having more screen real estate. By following a few straightforward steps, you’ll have your iPad working as a second screen in no time.

Step-By-Step Tutorial on Using iPad as Second Screen for Mac

This step-by-step guide will help you set up your iPad as a second screen for your Mac using Sidecar. Make sure both devices are compatible and meet the necessary software requirements.

Step 1: Ensure Compatibility

Ensure your Mac and iPad support Sidecar.

Sidecar requires a Mac running macOS Catalina or later and an iPad running iPadOS 13 or later. Also, both devices should be signed in to the same Apple ID.

Step 2: Connect Devices

Connect your Mac and iPad either wirelessly or with a USB cable.

For a wireless connection, both devices need Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff enabled. To use a USB cable, simply plug the iPad into the Mac.

Step 3: Open Sidecar

Open Sidecar on your Mac.

Go to the Apple menu, click “System Preferences,” and select “Sidecar.” From there, you can select your iPad under the “Connect to” dropdown menu.

Step 4: Adjust Display Settings

Adjust the display settings to your preference.

Within the Sidecar preferences, you can change how the iPad works as a second screen. You can choose to mirror your display or extend it. You can also arrange the screens in the Display settings.

Step 5: Start Using Your iPad

Start using your iPad as a second screen.

Drag windows from your Mac to your iPad, or use the Apple Pencil for drawing and note-taking. The iPad will now function as a seamless extension of your Mac’s display.

Once you have completed these steps, your iPad will act as a secondary display for your Mac. You can now enjoy the benefits of having more screen space, whether it’s for work, study, or creative purposes.

Tips for Using iPad as Second Screen for Mac

  • Keep Devices Updated: Make sure both devices are running the latest OS versions for optimal performance.
  • Optimize Battery Life: Using a USB cable can help keep your iPad charged while it’s being used as a second screen.
  • Use Apple Pencil: The Apple Pencil adds an extra layer of functionality, especially for creative tasks.
  • Shortcut Keys: Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts to switch between screens easily.
  • Security: Keep both devices secure by enabling two-factor authentication on your Apple ID.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Mac models support Sidecar?

Most Mac models from 2016 and later support Sidecar, including MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

Can I use Sidecar with non-Apple devices?

No, Sidecar is an Apple-exclusive feature designed to work only with compatible Macs and iPads.

What can I do if my iPad doesn’t show up in the Sidecar settings?

Ensure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network and logged in to the same Apple ID. Restart both devices if needed.

Can I use Sidecar with multiple iPads?

No, Sidecar only supports connecting one iPad to your Mac at a time.

Do I need an Apple Pencil to use Sidecar?

No, but an Apple Pencil can enhance your experience, especially for tasks like drawing or annotating documents.


  1. Ensure compatibility
  2. Connect devices
  3. Open Sidecar
  4. Adjust display settings
  5. Start using your iPad


Using your iPad as a second screen for your Mac can significantly boost your productivity. It’s an easy setup that can provide you with more flexibility, whether you’re working, studying, or being creative. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can quickly transform your iPad into a valuable extension of your Mac’s display. Keep your devices updated, take advantage of extra features like the Apple Pencil, and you’ll be all set for a seamless experience.

If you’re ready to take your productivity to the next level, give Sidecar a try today. For further reading, check out Apple’s official guide on Sidecar or delve into forums for user tips and tricks. Happy multitasking!

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