Are you having trouble with Sidecar not working?

I mentioned recently that my Apple Thunderbolt Display died. I’m currently waiting to check out a possible replacement, and in the meantime using my 12.9-inch iPad Pro as a second monitor using Sidecar.

It’s been a surprisingly usable interim solution, but I have hit a couple of glitches along the way…

Googling for solutions to these shows that I’m not alone, so I thought I’d share a couple of quick fixes I’ve found.

Using Sidecar for the first time

If you haven’t yet used Sidecar, you first need to make sure your devices are compatible. You can find full details of compatible Macs and iPads here, and you need to be on the latest major OS release for each, namely macOS Catalina on your Mac and iPadOS 13 on your iPad.

There are three different ways to activate Sidecar. The simplest of these is from the    or  icon in the top right corner of your Mac:

  • Click the icon
  • Under Connect to, select your iPad

Sidecar not working?

First, if you don’t see your iPad as an AirPlay device at all, check the following:

  • Both devices on the same WiFi network
  • Bluetooth switched on, on both devices
  • Handoff active on both devices
  • Signed into the same Apple ID on both

But if it still doesn’t appear, there’s a Bluetooth glitch that can stop the Mac from seeing the iPad. This can be solved by switching off Bluetooth on the Mac (from the menubar item, top right) and switching it on again.

Second, if you get a black screen on your iPad when trying to extend the desktop, as I often do, this solves it. On the Mac:

  • Click the AirPlay icon
  • Select Mirror Built-in Retina Display (at which point the iPad should spring into life)
  • Change back to Use As Separate Display

Do let us know in the comments if you’ve experienced issues with Sidecar not working, and whether these solutions work for you.

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