How to Change an iPad's Sidecar Position

Use Display Preferences to swap your Mac and iPad screens

What to Know

  • With Sidecar active, click the Sidecar icon at the top of the screen and choose Display Preferences.
  • Then, drag the iPad screen to the side you want.
  • The iPad display can be above, below, to the left, or to the right of the Mac.

In this article, you'll learn how to change the relative positions of your Mac and iPad screens when you're using Sidecar. Instructions apply to Macs running macOS Catalina (10.15) or later and iPads running iPadOS 13 and up.

How Do You Move Sidecar to the Right of Your Mac?

When you're using Sidecar to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac, the iPad screen is to the left of the Mac display by default. But that doesn't always align with your workspace setup, and you can move the screens around to make them make more sense. Here's how.

  1. With Sidecar active, select the Sidecar icon in your Mac's task bar. It looks like two offset rectangles.

    The Sidecar icon in macOS' task bar
  2. Choose Display Preferences at the bottom of the menu.

    Display Preferences under the Sidecar menu in macOS
  3. In the window that opens, you can drag either the Mac or iPad screen to align them in the way that works best for you. You can put the iPad screen to the left, right, above, or below the Mac screen.

    If you aren't sure which screen is which, you can tell in one of two ways: The Mac screen will be larger, or the device name will appear when you hover your mouse over one of them.

    Display settings in macOS with an arrow indicating dragging iPad and Mac windows
  4. The orientation you choose affects which edge of the screen you'll move your mouse "through" to reach the second device. For example, if you put the iPad to the right, you'll move your mouse through the right side of the Mac screen to put the pointer onto the iPad. You'll move it back through the left side of the iPad display to return it to the Mac.

What's the Best Orientation for Sidecar?

The placement of your Mac and iPad depends on several factors, including the size of your workspace and what makes sense to you, personally. For example, if you're using your iPad as a drawing tablet, you should probably put it "below" the Mac in Display Preferences.

If you use an iPad stand on your desk, it might make more sense to put it opposite your mouse (that is, on the left if you're right-handed). In this case, you'd match the screen layout to their actual positions on your desk so it makes the most sense.

You won't find many setups where it makes sense for the iPad to be above your Mac, but the option remains available.

  • Why don't I have Sidecar on my Mac?

    Sidecar only works with specific Macs running macOS Catalina and later. Compatible hardware are MacBooks and MacBook Pros from 2016 and later, 2018 and newer MacBook Airs, 2017 and later iMacs, 27-inch Retina iMacs, iMac Pros, Mac Minis 2018 and up, 2019 Mac Pros, and Mac Studios.

  • Why is Sidecar not working on my Mac?

    If your Mac and software are sufficient to run Sidecar, but it isn't working, it could be for several reasons. First, make sure your iPad and Mac are using the same Apple ID. The feature also won't work if your iPad is locked. You should also make sure Handoff and Bluetooth are on for both devices and that they're close together.

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