One of the main novelties of Catalina macOS and that has attracted our attention is the possibility of using our iPad as a secondary screen without any cables in between as it happened if we used third-party applications. This will allow us to be much more productive by having information on a secondary screen and will also practically turn our iPad into a computer with Catalina macOS since we can use the Apple Pencil to move the windows on the iPad or write with the Smart Keyboard itself, being more than just a second monitor. In this article we tell you everything you need to know about this new feature of Catalina macOS as well as the requirements you must meet to use it.
What equipment do you need to have in order to use the Sidecar function in Catalina macros?
Not all Macs and iPads support this new Catalina macOS feature, which is obvious because you need the right hardware to achieve good connection stability. In particular, you’ll need one of the following Macs updated to the latest software version:
- 27-inch iMac end of 2015 and beyond
- iMac Pro 2017 and beyond.
- MacBook Pro 2016 and later.
- Mac mini 2018 and later.
- MacBook Air 2018 and later.
- MacBook from early 2016 and later.
- Mac Pro 2019 and later.
Once we’ve made sure we have one of the updated compatible Macs, we should also note that we must use a compatible iPad updated to iPadOS 13:
- iPad Pro 1st generation and later.
- iPad 2018 and beyond.
- iPad mini 2018 and later.
- iPad Air 3 and rear
How does Sidecar work?
Once we have an updated compatible Mac and iPad, we notice on our computer that an iPad icon appears in the top right-hand bar. Simply by pressing it, the iPads nearby will appear, connected to the same internet network. When we find the iPad we want to use as a secondary screen, we simply select it and instantly we will start to see on the iPad a second screen of our Mac. If you don’t get this tool, simply go to System Preferences> Display and activate the option at the bottom of the window to enable duplication options in the menu bar.
Once it is connected we must configure it to our liking. If we want for example to drag windows from one screen to another we don’t know if we should do it dragging to the right or left, and that’s why we should select the location of the secondary screen in System Preferences. Simply go to System Preferences> Screens> Alignment . Here you will see two blue boxes corresponding to the two screens. If we click on each one it will highlight which is which screen. We recommend dragging the iPad screen to one side or the other depending on where it is located on your table. If, for example, your iPad is on the left side of your Mac, it makes sense to align your screen to the left.
Also, in this same section we can see under the blue boxes that there is an option called “duplicate screens”. Activatingl a will duplicate what you have on your Mac screen on the iPad which can be useful in some cases.
There are also several options for customizing the Sidecar function. To adjust them to your liking simply go to System Preferences> Sidecar. Here besides having the option to turn off our iPad we will have the possibility to move the sidebar and the Touch Bar. Because if, in Sidecar mode we will see a Touch Bar at the bottom as is present in the latest MacBook Pro with which we can interact.
As I said before, although many of us thought that if we were going to be able to interact with the screen of our iPad in this way, the truth is that it is limited to the use of the Apple Pencil. If you have a Penci l you can move windows with it around this second desktop or perform many more actions. This is for example very interesting if you are a digital artist because you can draw using the program on your Mac but on the iPad with the Apple Pencil as if it were a graphics tablet.
In addition, we’ll be able to move a Word window to our second iPad desktop and interact with it using the Smart Keyboard.
No doubt this function works really well and whoever has had a secondary monitor is not discovering anything new since the same actions can be performed. This is undoubtedly a great improvement that will help us be much more productive in our work because sometimes having all the information on a single screen can be a bit saturated but this way everything will be divided in a much more appropriate.