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With Sidecar, an iPad can be used as a display that extends or mirrors a Mac. Here are the best Sidecar apps to enhance productive and creative workflows.
The iPad and Mac must be signed in with the same Apple ID, with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on. During this time, the iPad can neither be used as a mobile hotspot nor does the Mac share its Internet connection.
Sidecar is different from Universal Control, which Apple introduced in iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina. Universal Control allows a single keyboard and mouse to be used between an iPad and a Mac. Sidecar lets the iPad act as a secondary display.
The iPad can also be used as a digital input device for the Mac using an Apple Pencil or just the person’s finger.
Sidecar system requirements
The following Macs can be used with Sidecar on macOS Catalina or later:
- 2016 MacBook Pro or newer
- 2016 MacBook or newer
- 2017 iMac or newer or iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
- iMac Pro
- 2018 Mac mini or newer
- 2019 MacPro
- Mac Studio
The following iPads can be used with Sidecar running iPadOS 13 or later:
- iPad Pro – all models
- iPad 6th generation or later
- iPad mini 5th generation or newer
- iPad Air 3rd generation or later
Getting started with Sidecar
Sidecar can be used by connecting a cable to the Mac or using a wireless connection. When an iPad is connected to the Mac, the option to trust the device must be accepted. This is a popup that will appear on any device.
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Handoff must be activated on each device.
In macOS, go to System Preferences > General and check the box at the bottom next to Allow Handover…
In iPadOS, go to Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff and turn it on.
The quickest way to use Sidecar is to click the AirPlay icon in the macOS menu bar. If it’s enabled there, go to System Preferences > Display and enable “Show mirroring options in menu bar when available”.
Click on the iPad that appears in the AirPlay menu. The iPad’s display turns into a macOS desktop.
Mac windows can be dragged and dropped onto the iPad. Or hover over the green full screen button in the Mac window. From the menu, click Move to iPad Pro.
To switch to screen mirroring from a secondary desktop, click the AirPlay icon in the macOS menu bar. Click the option to mirror the display.
Side bar and touch bar
When iPad is in extended view mode, it has a sidebar on the left side of the screen. It contains modifier keys like Command, Shift, Undo, Option, Control and others.
When using a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the Touch Bar controls appear at the bottom of the iPad screen. Users can also turn the Touch Bar on or off in Sidecar Preferences on Mac.
The best apps for SideCar
These apps are among the best in their respective fields, covering writing, organizing, photography, digital art, and more. Using an Apple Pencil with the Sidecar experience goes well with any app.
Affinity Photo is an alternative to Photoshop that offers photographers the best editing features. Real-time live editing offers features like unlimited layers, layer groups, adjustment layers, filter layers and masks. $54.99
Affinity Photo goes well with Sidecar as the Apple Pencil can be used as a brush for photo editing. Resizing, cropping, warping and more also benefit from the pencil.
MindNode is the leading brainstorming tool with mind maps. Words, images, tasks, notes, and links can all be organized in a way that makes sense to the user. Themes and custom stickers can be used for personalization. Free (offers in-app purchases)
Sidecar can help in a quick brainstorming session when flexibility is needed, e.g. B. when managing multiple Mind Flows.
Apple’s Logic Pro is the next step for musicians after trying GarageBand. It includes a large collection of instruments, effects, loops and samples. Over 5,900 instruments and effects, 1,200 sampled instruments, and 14,750 Apple Loops across a variety of genres. $199
Sidecar is a fantastic option for musicians who are running out of screen space on the Mac. The Piano Roll could stay on the Mac while various instruments and plugins can move to the iPad.
Pixelmator is an image editor for photographers and a design tool for artists. With 50+ editing tools, users can edit photos, draw, design, and paint. $19.99
Using iPad as an input device for Mac is perfect for artists and graphic designers. Drawing with an Apple Pencil is intuitive and offers features that a regular pencil doesn’t have.
ZBrush is an excellent tool for digital painters and sculptors. There are customizable brushes, virtual clay and other tools to create professional 3D content. There are different pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets.
Like artists, sculptors using the Apple Pencil with Sidecar will likely find it easier to manage their content than just using a Mac. Keeping a reference model on the iPad and drawing on the Mac is another option.
Notability is one of the most popular note-taking apps. It also supports audio recording, handwriting and sketching, sharing ideas in presentation mode, and more. Free (offers in-app purchases)
Sketching and handwriting with the iPad is a useful feature for Sidecar. Working on multiple notes at the same time is another benefit of the experience.