Apple has officially released the macOS Catalina software to compatible Macs. If you haven’t updated your Mac to Catalina, here’s how you can do it. The new macOS Catalina brings a number of new features, and one of them is Sidecar. For the uninitiated, Sidecar allows you to use your iPad as a second display that extends or mirrors your Mac screen. It means creative artists can use the iPad as a drawing tablet for design, illustration, and drawing.
Do you have a compatible device?
According to Apple’s whitepaper, not all Macs are going to work with Sidecar. The feature requires Intel’s Skylake or newer processor on the Mac. These are the Macs that Sidecar works on:
- MacBook from 2016 or later
- MacBook Air from 2018 or later
- MacBook Pro from 2016 or later
- Mac mini from 2018 or later
- iMac from late 2015 or later
- iMac Pro
- 2019 Mac Pro
As for iPads, Apple says Sidecar will work only with iPads that support Apple Pencil. These are the individual models you should have to use the feature:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro
- 11-inch iPad Pro
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- Third-gen iPad Air
- Fifth-gen iPad mini
- Sixth-gen iPad or later
Update the software
You need to update the software on both your iPad and the Mac. On your Mac, click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen, go to System Preferences > Software Update to download and install macOS Catalina. On your iPad, head over to Settings > General > Software Update to download and install the iPadOS 13 software. Other Sidecar-related features such as Markup and Continuity Sketch won’t work if your devices aren’t running the latest software.
Set up and start using Sidecar
- Make sure you have logged into your Mac and iPad using the same Apple ID account. Sidecar doesn’t work if your Mac and iPad have a different Apple ID
- On your Mac, click the AirPlay icon in the menu bar and select your iPad from the options. Alternatively, you can use Sidecar preferences to connect the two devices
- Now that the connection is established, the iPad will display an extension of the Mac screen
- If you want to mirror the Mac screen on the iPad, go to the AirPlay menu and select the option to mirror the display. You can also move windows to the iPad or use it like any other display.
- When it’s time to end the Sidecar session, to go the AirPlay menu and select the option to disconnect. You can also use the Disconnect button on the iPad’s sidebar to end the session.
You have the freedom to choose whether you want to use Sidebar by connecting your Mac and iPad wirelessly or with a wired connection. If it’s a wireless connection, make sure that both devices have the Bluetooth, WiFi, and Handoff turned on. You might want to use the wired connection to keep the iPad charged during use. You can connect them using the charging cable that came with the iPad.