How to Use iPad as Your Second Monitor

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Ernests Embutnieks

Taking your multitasking skills to the next level is easy when you have two monitors. That extra space will come in handy for both work and leisure. However, you don’t have to spend extra money on a brand-new screen.

If you have both Mac and an iPad, you can connect them in no time, thanks to the feature called Sidecar. And voila – you have a second monitor! So let’s dive deeper into the subject and see what you need to do to use an iPad in your dual monitor setup.

The requirements

It would be great to repurpose your old iPad into a second monitor, but not every device supports the Sidecar. So before we start, we have to take a closer look at the requirements:

  • Your Mac should be running macOS Catalina or a newer version of the operating system.
  • Your iPad should be using iPad OS 13 or higher.
  • Both Mac and iPad should be signed in with the same Apple ID.
  • The devices need to be within 10 meters or 30 feet from each other. It shouldn’t be a problem if your goal is to create a dual monitor setup.
  • Wi-Fi, Handoff, and Bluetooth should be switched on when connecting wirelessly.
  • If you want to keep your iPad charged, there is an option to connect the device via a USB cable.

How to use the iPad as a second monitor

With all of that out of the way, let’s see how to connect your iPad to your Mac. First, you need to prop your iPad next to your Mac. Then go to System Preferences on your laptop. There you should see a tab called Sidecar. Click on it.

ernests embutnieks macbook pro system preferences, sidecar

A new window will pop up, and you will get an option Connect To. Just underneath is a drop-down menu that allows you to select the device you want to link to your Mac. Your iPad should be on the list. Select the iPad, and you will get the second screen. (The screen might go black for 2-5sec.)

how to setup ipad as a second screen/monitor to your mac with sidecar

You are free to work on the second display, as you will see that your mouse moves from your Mac to your iPad and vice versa. If you want to make some adjustments to the setup, go to the Display option. The Arrangement tab is in the middle of the window, so click on it and select where you want your second display to be. You can even place them on top of each other.

how to change ipad monitor on the other side or on the top
drag & drop

How To Disconnect

Once you’re done or you get bored or whatever the reason and you want to disconnect you can just open System Preferences>Sidecar & click disconnect

There will also be a sidecar icon on your MacBooks menu bar at the top and you can disconnect your iPad that way as well.

here's how I added iPad as a second monitor to my mac

This is what I had. Obviously, I can move the apps from one screen to another, and I can add the bottom menu bar on Mac or iPad. You just have to hold the mouse cursor at the bottom of the screen where you want it to appear.

As you can see in the background, I also have a 34-inch Monitor, and I used to work with 3 screens, but I came to the conclusion that I rather just use one unless I have a video call. Keeps me more focused. More monitors equal more distractions, at least in my case.


Can I use the iPad as a second monitor on a PC?

Sidecar is a native feature for Apple products, but not everyone owns a Mac. There isn’t a similar option on Windows, but a user can download a third-party app that will connect an iPad to a PC. One of the more popular apps is Splashtop Wired XDisplay. As you might have guessed from its name, the app doesn’t offer a wireless connection. Instead, you have to use a USB cable. The app works on older iPad models, which is great if you have one just lying around, collecting dust.

Are gestures available when I use the iPad as a second monitor?

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use the touchscreen like you are used to. However, swipe gestures are still available. Users can scroll by using two fingers, swiping left for undo, etc. Of course, once you connect your Mac to an iPad, you will get Sidebar controls that will help you use your iPad as a second monitor.

Can I use the iPad as usual while it is connected to Mac?

You can! But you have to exit the Sidecar application first. Just swipe up, and that’s it. If you look at the dock, you will see the Sidecar icon there. Just tap on it when you are ready, and your iPad will automatically connect to your Mac. The double monitor setup should be back in a second.

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I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.