iPad Not Showing up in Sidecar? How to Fix it

How to Fix iPad Not Showing up in Sidecar Issue

For some users, the iPad is not showing up in Sidecar. As per reports, the problem occurs during both wireless and wired connections. Though I haven’t faced any such issues on my Mac, I can spot the culprits hidden behind this issue – primarily based on my experience. So, if you are on the lookout to fix Sidecar not working issue, you are at the right troubleshooting guide. Let’s get rid of the snag right away!

How to Fix iPad Not Showing up in Sidecar Issue

Ensure That Your Devices Are Compatible

Though it’s not a solution per se, it’s worth reiterating that not all Macs and iPads work with Sidecar – even if they have the support for macOS Catalina and iPadOS respectively. So, be sure your devices are fully onboard before trying out this feature.

iPads Those Support Sidecar

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad Air (3rd-gen)
  • iPad (6th-gen or later)
  • 5th-gen iPad mini

Macs Those Support Sidecar

  • MacBook Pro 2016 or later
  • MacBook Air 2018 or later
  • MacBook 2016 or later
  • Mac Pro 2019 or later
  • iMac Pro 2017 or later
  • iMac 2015 or later
  • Mac mini 2018 or later

Side Note: While there is a complex workaround to use Sidecar even on an unsupported Mac, I don’t want to recommend it to a normal user as it doesn’t work most of the time. So, there is no point in bringing into the discussion.

Keep Two-Factor Authentication Enabled

Apple has made two-factor authentication a must for most new features like Messages in iCloud and Approved. Expectedly, the story isn’t different for Sidecar either. So, if you had turned off 2FA, make sure to enable it to use Sidecar.

On Your iPad: Open SettingsProfile photo aka avatar → Password & SecurityTwo-Factor Authentication. Now, ensure that it’s enabled.

Turn On Two-Factor Authentication on iPad

On Your Mac: Launch System PreferencesApple IDPassword & SecurityTwo-Factor Authentication. Now, make sure 2FA option is ON.

Click on Apple Logo and then click on System Preferences on Mac
Click on Apple ID in System Preferences on Mac
Turn ON Two Two-Factor Authentication on Mac

Turn Off/On Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Handoff

For Sidecar to work, both of your devices have to be on the same Wi-Fi connection. Besides, it also requires Bluetooth and Handoff to be enabled on the iPad and Mac. If you are facing the problem even after checking off these essential boxes, try turning off/on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Handoff. And also restart your devices.

Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

On Your Mac, click on the Wi-Fi icon in the status bar and choose Turn Wi-Fi Off

Turn Off Wi-Fi in macOS

Also, click on the Bluetooth icon and choose Turn Bluetooth Off.

Disable Bluetooth on Mac

On your iPad, head into the Settings app → Wi-Fi/Bluetooth. Now, turn them off.

Disable Wi-Fi in Settings App on iPad

Disable Handoff

On your Mac: Click on Apple() menuSystem PreferencesGeneral. Uncheck the box for “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.

Click on General in System Preferences on Mac
Turn Off Handoff on Mac

On your iPad: Head over to SettingsGeneralHandoff, then turn on Handoff.

Disable HandOff in iPad Settings

Now, restart both of your devices. After they have rebooted, turn on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Handoff on Mac and iPad. Next, try using Sidecar as usual. Simply click on the AirPlay icon in the menu bar on your Mac and then select the option to connect to your iPad. If it has started to work, you are good to go.

Sticky Note: To use Sidecar wirelessly, keep your devices within 10 meters (30 feet) of each other.

Ensure That Both Your iPad and Mac are Not Sharing Internet

Sidecar won’t work if your iPad and Mac are set to share an internet connection. Maybe you had enabled Internet sharing on your device and forgot to turn it off. Check it out as it might well be the reason behind this issue.

On Your iPad, go to SettingsPersonal Hotspot and then turn off the toggle.

On Your Mac, open System PreferencesSharing. Now, uncheck the box for Internet Sharing.

Click on Sharig in System Preference on Mac
Disable Internet Sharing on Mac

Ensure That Your iPad is Set to Trust Your Mac

Especially when using sidecar over USB, ensure that your iPad is set to trust your Mac. When you connect your iPad to the macOS device using a cable, a popup will appear on the tablet asking you to trust the computer. Tap on Trust.

Just in case, the popup to Trust the computer doesn’t appear, reset location and privacy. Launch Settings app on your iPad → GeneralReset. Now, tap on Reset Location & Privacy and confirm.

Reset Location and Privacy on iPad

Try to connect your tablet to the computer. The Trust popup will now appear.

Disable Block All Incoming Connections

Have you enabled Firewall on your Mac? Slightly buried inside the Firewall setting is an option to block all the incoming connections except those needed for basic internet services like IPSec, DHCP, Bonjour, etc. As it’s known to create connection problems, it would be better to turn it off.

One thing worth mentioning is that you don’t need to turn off the Firewall to disable this feature.

Open System PreferencesSecurity & PrivacyFirewall tab. Now, click on the lock and enter the username password.

Click on Security & Privacy in Mac System Preferences
Click on Lock in Firewall Tab in Mac System Preferences
Click on Use Password on Mac
Enter Password and Clock on Unlock on Mac

Next, click on Firewall options and then uncheck the box to the left of Block all incoming connections. Finally, click on OK to finish.

Click on Firewall Option in Security & Privacy on Mac
Turn Off Block All Incoming Connections in macOS

Sign Out of Apple ID and Sign Back In

Another requirement for Sidecar is that your devices must be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. So, be sure you have ticked off this requirement as well. If you are facing the problem even after meeting this requirement, sign out of Apple ID on your iPad and Mac. Then, sign back in.

On iPad: Open Settings app → Profile photo → Sign Out.

Sign Out from Apple ID on iPad

On Mac: Open System PreferencesApple ID → Sign Out.

Click on Apple Logo and then click on System Preferences on Mac
Sign Out from Apple ID on Mac

Now, sign in using the same Apple ID on both the devices.

Update Both Your iPad and Mac

If none of the tricks have sorted out the Sidecar issue, a software bug could be behind it. If your devices are not updated, update them without fail. Most probably, you will be able to finally resolve the problem with the software update.

On iPad: Open Settings app → GeneralSoftware Update.

Tap on Software Update in iPad General Settings

On Mac: Click on Apple () menuSystem PreferencesSoftware Update.

Click on Apple Logo and then click on System Preferences on Mac
Click on Software Update in Mac System Preferences

Signing Off…

Hopefully, you have got the better of the problem and also found out how to deal with such common snags that tend to crop up at times.

From what I have experienced, Sidecar is a step in the right direction from a productivity perspective. It takes full advantage of the seamless integration between macOS and iPadOS. Though it’s not flawless, it works pretty well in turning an iPad into a handy secondary screen of a Mac.

You may also like to catch up with these posts:

So, which one of the above solutions fixed Sidecar on your device? Share your feedback with us in the comment section.

1 comment
  1. Well, painful though it was, the very last step–signing out of AppleID & logging back in–fixed it. (I’d verified the software updates before anything else.) Thanks, Dhvanesh, for your rigorous process.

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