How to use your iPad as a second Mac monitor

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It's no secret that Apple products work well together. But you might not know that you can actually turn your iPad into a high-quality secondary display for your Mac. Whether you're using a desktop setup or traveling, you can use your iPad as a wireless display to showcase any application from your computer. It's as easy as mirroring your Mac screen to your TV, thanks to a relatively hidden macOS feature called Sidecar.

What you need to use your iPad as a monitor

First, requirements. You'll need a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, and an iPad running iPadOS 13 or later. Although every MacBook Pro released after 2016 and MacBook Air released after 2018 will run it, there are some hardware limitations. Generally speaking, the latest Macs from the past 5 years are supported. The same goes for iPads. All models of iPad Pro are available, and every iPad 6th generation and later and iPad Air 3rd generation and later are available here.

However, you may need to do some work on the software side. First, both devices must be logged in from the same Apple ID and must use two-factor authentication. To use this feature wirelessly, you must enable Bluetooth, wifi, and Handoff on your iPad. To enable Handoff, go to Settings > General > Airplay & Handoff > Handoff . If you're using tethering on an iPad or Mac, this feature won't work.

How to connect an iPad as a second monitor to your Mac

Now that the organization is complete, you can set up your iPad as a secondary display. First, place your iPad next to your Mac, turn on the display, and unlock it.

Next, go to Control Center on your Mac, click Screen Mirroring , and select your iPad from the list.

To use it as a secondary monitor, make sure to select the "Use as a separate monitor" option. You'll notice that your iPad will immediately display your Mac's screen, including the menu bar, and some apps may even move to the iPad screen. To help you solve this problem, the iPad can display a sidebar as well as Touch Bar controls, which can be very useful if you use the iPad outside of a Mac. If you want more screen real estate for your Mac apps, we recommend disabling the sidebar and touch bar. You can do this on your Mac under System Settings > Display .

The above instructions will work if you are using macOS Monterey and above. If you're using macOS Big Sur, you'll find the Mirror menu in the Display section of Control Center.

Finally, make sure that the way you place your iPad in your physical space matches how your macOS software is set up. This will feel familiar to you if you've ever connected an external monitor to your Mac and tried using it next to your MacBook.

Essentially, you can tell macOS whether your iPad is on the left or right side of your Mac so that your cursor can move seamlessly from one screen to the other. To do this, go to System Settings > Display . Here you will see the current arrangement of your monitors. If the default options work for you, you don't need to do anything.

If you want to move the iPad screen position, click the "Arrange" button, drag the iPad screen freely to the position in the physical space, and then click the "Finish" button.

Everything you can do with your iPad as a second monitor

Now that you're all set up, you can move your cursor freely between your Mac display and iPad, and use your iPad like any other external display. This is similar to another Apple feature called Universal Controls, which lets you use the keyboard and mouse on your Mac with your iPad connected. However, the key difference with Sidecar is that your Mac screen extends to your iPad as well. With Universal Controls, your iPad will still display iPadOS.

If you don't like dragging and dropping windows between your Mac and iPad, there's a shortcut for you. Hover over the Maximize button on any macOS window and you'll see an option to move the window to iPad. I like using this option because it automatically resizes the window to take up the entire iPad display.

This feature does disable the touchscreen on the iPad, so it's not the touchscreen Mac of your dreams. That said, Sidecar does support Apple Pencil. You can use the Pencil to draw on the screen, and you can even go to System Settings > Display to enable double-click functionality on the Apple Pencil so you can make selections on the iPad.