WWDC 2019: Apple Turns iPad Into a Second Mac Display With Sidecar on macOS Catalina

It works wired or wireless.

WWDC 2019: Apple Turns iPad Into a Second Mac Display With Sidecar on macOS Catalina

Photo Credit: Apple

A preview of the new Sidecar feature in macOS Catalina

  • macOS Catalina to roll out this autumn
  • Sidecar will also support Apple Pencil
  • Touch Bar controls will appear on iPad

At its WWDC 2019 keynote, Apple announced a new extended desktop feature called Sidecar for the new macOS Catalina — named after a southern California island — allowing users to use their iPad as a second display, or as an input device in creative apps such as Adobe Illustrator. The former use case is straightforward, letting you extend or mirror your main display, as per your requirements. With the latter, you can now use the Apple Pencil to interact with Mac apps, provided your iPad supports it. Better yet, Sidecar will work wired or wireless (10-metre range), which gives you more freedom to use it how you please. At WWDC 2019, Apple also unveiled changes to iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, apart from announcing iPadOS.

Naturally, you'll be able to use all iPad gestures to interact with Mac apps, including the new ones — three-finger cut, copy, paste, and undo — announced at the developer-oriented WWDC 2019 keynote on Monday. Sidecar will also offer a sidebar on your iPad for commonly used controls, be it modifier keys for shortcuts, or buttons to hide the menu bar, dock, and keyboard. Additionally, Touch Bar controls will appear at the bottom of the iPad screen when using Sidecar, even if your Mac doesn't have a Touch Bar.

Apple previews macOS Catalina sidecar with iPad Pro Sidecar macOS CatalinaUsing Adobe Illustrator with Sidecar and Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro
Photo Credit: Apple


Apple claims that “developers don't need to do anything for Sidecar support — it just works.”

That said, those apps that offer advanced stylus support can make use of Apple Pencil's pressure and tilt features, and can also customise what a double-tap on Pencil's side does. Apple has listed a total of 15 apps on its site that will likely offer advanced features, including the likes of Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Motion, Sketch, Cinema 4D, CorelDRAW, Affinity Designer and Photo, and the aforementioned Illustrator.

Sidecar will only be available on Mac machines that can upgrade to the newly-announced macOS Catalina, releasing in the autumn as a free update. Apple says all Mac computers introduced in mid-2012 or later will get Catalina, which will also bring about the replacement of iTunes on the Mac with three new apps, bringing voice control for added accessibility, and introducing Screen Time among other new features.


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