Ways to Fix It When Sidecar Isnt Working On iPad

Sidecar is a nifty feature that extends your Mac’s workspace by using your iPad as a second display or a high-precision input device. It can cusp the line between efficiency and frustration when it decides not to work properly. Whether you need extra screen real estate for your projects, or you’re an artist craving a smooth workflow with your Apple Pencil, Sidecar’s troubles can slow you down. Fortunately, there are various troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve the issues and get back to seamless multitasking. The process might seem daunting, but worry not—we’re here to guide you through the most efficient ways to rectify these hiccups and optimize your Sidecar experience.

ways to fix it when sidecar isnt working on ipad

Check Compatibility

The idea of using Sidecar might be exciting, but it’s important to ensure that your devices are compatible with the feature. Sidecar only works with certain models of iPad and Mac, and they must be running the correct version of their respective operating systems—iPadOS for iPad, and macOS for Mac.

  1. Step 1: Check if your Mac is one of the following models, which support Sidecar:
    • MacBook (2016 or later)
    • MacBook Air (2018 or later)
    • MacBook Pro (2016 or later)
    • Mac mini (2018 or later)
    • iMac (late 2015 or later)
    • iMac Pro
    • Mac Pro (2019)
  2. Step 2: Confirm that your Mac is running macOS Catalina (10.15) or later, which introduced Sidecar.
  3. Step 3: Ensure that your iPad is one of the following models, which support Sidecar:
    • iPad Pro (all models)
    • iPad (6th generation or later)
    • iPad mini (5th generation or later)
    • iPad Air (3rd generation or later)
  4. Step 4: Verify that your iPad is running iPadOS 13 or later.

If your devices meet these requirements, you’re ready to use Sidecar. If not, unfortunately, this feature won’t be available to you.

Summary: Verifying compatibility is a critical first step to using Sidecar. It ensures your devices have the hardware and software capacity to run this feature, although it can be disappointing for those with older devices that do not support Sidecar.

Update Your Devices

Running the latest versions of macOS and iPadOS can solve a host of compatibility issues and bugs, which includes issues related to Sidecar not working correctly.

  1. Step 1: On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner, then select “System Preferences” followed by “Software Update.”
  2. Step 2: If updates are available, click “Update Now” to install them.
  3. Step 3: For your iPad, open the “Settings” app, tap “General,” and then tap “Software Update.”
  4. Step 4: If updates are available, tap “Download and Install.”

Summary: Updating your devices ensures you have the latest features and bug fixes, which may resolve your Sidecar issues. However, remember that updates can take time to install and may require a restart of your devices.

Restart Your Devices

Sometimes, a simple restart can work wonders for any tech-related issue. By restarting your devices, you’re giving them a fresh start, which can sometimes clear up any glitches that are affecting Sidecar.

  1. Step 1: To restart your Mac, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen and select “Restart.”
  2. Step 2: To restart your iPad, press and hold either the top button or the volume button until the power off slider appears, drag the slider, then wait for your device to turn off. To turn your device back on, press and hold the top button until the Apple logo appears.

Summary: Restarting your devices is a quick and easy potential fix for Sidecar issues, with no real downsides except for the temporary downtime of your devices.

Check AirPlay & Bluetooth Connections

Sidecar uses AirPlay and Bluetooth to connect your iPad to your Mac. Both need to be turned on and functioning correctly for Sidecar to work.

  1. Step 1: Ensure Bluetooth is enabled on both your Mac and iPad. You can toggle Bluetooth on from the Control Center, or in “System Preferences” on your Mac and “Settings” on your iPad.
  2. Step 2: Make sure both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, as AirPlay relies on this to establish a connection.
  3. Step 3: Verify that neither device has AirPlay restrictions in place. On your Mac, go to “System Preferences” > “Sharing” and ensure “AirPlay Receiver” is enabled and not restricted.

Summary: Ensuring AirPlay and Bluetooth are functioning properly provides a foundation for Sidecar to work. One downside is that connection issues can sometimes be hard to diagnose if this step doesn’t resolve the issue.

Log in to the Same Apple ID

For Sidecar to function, both your Mac and iPad need to be logged into the same Apple ID.

  1. Step 1: On your Mac, go to “System Preferences,” click “Apple ID,” and check the Apple ID you’re logged into.
  2. Step 2: On your iPad, go to “Settings,” tap your name at the top, and verify the Apple ID.
  3. Step 3: If the accounts differ, you’ll need to sign out and then sign back in with the correct Apple ID.

Summary: Logging into the same Apple ID is essential for using Sidecar, but the downside is the inconvenience of possibly having to sign out and back into your devices.

Disable Screen Time Restrictions

Screen Time on your iPad or Mac can sometimes interfere with Sidecar if there are restrictions in place that affect continuity features.

  1. Step 1: On your Mac, open “System Preferences” and click “Screen Time.”
  2. Step 2: Go to “Content & Privacy” and ensure “Content & Privacy Restrictions” are turned off.
  3. Step 3: On your iPad, go to “Settings,” tap “Screen Time,” and check that “Content & Privacy Restrictions” are off.

Summary: Disabling Screen Time restrictions might solve Sidecar issues, but it does mean that other parental controls or time limits you’ve set will be temporarily disabled, which could be a downside for some users.

Adjust Display Arrangement

Having the correct display arrangement is crucial for Sidecar to work as expected.

  1. Step 1: Open “System Preferences” on your Mac and go to “Displays.”
  2. Step 2: Click the “Arrangement” tab and make sure “Mirror Displays” is not checked, unless you want your iPad to mirror your Mac’s display.
  3. Step 3: Make sure that your iPad is recognized by your Mac and drag it to the relative position you prefer.

Summary: Adjusting the display arrangement can customize your experience and solve related issues, but it can be a bit confusing to get it just right if you’re not familiar with display settings.

Restart Wi-Fi Router

Connectivity issues may also be at play with Sidecar problems. Restarting your Wi-Fi router can help solve these.

  1. Step 1: Unplug your router from the power source.
  2. Step 2: Wait at least 30 seconds, then plug it back in.
  3. Step 3: Wait for the network to come back online and connect your devices to the Wi-Fi network.

Summary: Restarting your router may resolve connectivity issues affecting Sidecar. The downside is that all devices connected to the network will temporarily lose their internet connection.

Check Firewalls and Security Software

Firewall settings on your Mac or security software may prevent Sidecar from working correctly.

  1. Step 1: On your Mac, go to “System Preferences,” then “Security & Privacy,” and click the “Firewall” tab.
  2. Step 2: Make sure the firewall is set to allow incoming connections for Sidecar.
  3. Step 3: If you have third-party security software installed, make sure that it’s not blocking Sidecar or any related processes.

Summary: Adjusting your firewall and security settings can solve Sidecar connectivity problems, but it may leave your Mac more exposed to security threats if not managed properly.

Reset Network Settings on iPad

If the issue persists, resetting the network settings on your iPad might help.

  1. Step 1: Go to “Settings,” then “General,” and tap “Reset.”
  2. Step 2: Tap “Reset Network Settings” and enter your passcode if prompted.
  3. Step 3: Confirm that you want to reset network settings.

Summary: Resetting network settings can be a potent step to clear complex connectivity issues, but you will lose all your saved Wi-Fi passwords and other network-related settings, which may be a hassle to set up again.

In closing, Sidecar opens up a new dimension of functionality by connecting your iPad and Mac together. Whether it’s for better multitasking, extra screen space, or as a drawing tablet, each solution offered in this guide aims to bridge the gap between potential and performance. While troubleshooting can be a trial-and-error process, the joy of getting Sidecar to work flawlessly is well worth the effort.


  1. What should I do if none of the above solutions fix my Sidecar problem?

    • If Sidecar is still not working after trying these fixes, you might want to contact Apple Support for more specialized help.
  2. Can I use a cable to connect my iPad and Mac for Sidecar?

    • Yes, if you’re experiencing wireless connectivity problems, a direct connection using a USB cable between your Mac and iPad can sometimes offer a more stable Sidecar experience.
  3. Why does my Sidecar keep disconnecting?

    • This could be due to a variety of reasons including distance from the Wi-Fi router, interference from other devices, or power saving settings on either device. Try moving closer to your router, removing potential sources of interference, or checking your devices’ power settings.
  4. Will Sidecar work if my iPad or Mac is connected to a VPN?

    • Sidecar may have issues if your devices are connected to different networks, which can happen when using a VPN. Try disconnecting from the VPN to see if that resolves your Sidecar issue.

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