Apple working on ways to use an iPad as a display for the Mac

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The next version of macOS is expected to add a feature, codenamed "Sidecar," which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor or even iPad -- functionally the same way as the third-party Luna Display and other software utilities.




The forthcoming macOS 10.15, likely to be revealed at Apple's WWDC conference in June, is expected to add a new feature to help you make the most of all your displays -- whether they're monitors directly plugged into your Mac or just iPads that are nearby. This display feature is reportedly codenamed "Sidecar," and its function is the same as that currently available from Luna Display by developers Astro HQ.

In both systems, you effectively extend your Mac's desktop to your other screens, such that as you drag a window off one, it appears on the other. Also in both systems, if your extra display is an iPad, you will see the regular macOS interface on it but you'll also be able to touch the screen and use the Apple Pencil.

With Luna Display, this connectivity is achieved via a hardware dongle that you connect to your Mac. Reportedly, with Apple's version, users will control the same functionality entirely through software. It will be an extension of the current Full Screen option that's available you when click and hold the green traffic light icon in any Finder or application window.

It's believed that from macOS 10.15 onwards, clicking on that green icon will display a menu that includes options to maximize the window, tile it for split screen, or send to the external display.

While in regular use, you will control Sidecar through these on-screen controls, there is likely to be a considerable difference in the underlying hardware to make this as seamless as Luna Display. If so, that will mean the feature may not work with all devices.

The currently available Luna Display uses a hardware dongle for your Mac
The currently available Luna Display uses a hardware dongle for your Mac


Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi has previously alluded that the USB-C video output on the iPad Pro will get new functionality.

Apple's reported Sidecar project was first spotted by 9to5mac, which cites its sources as "people familiar with the development of macOS 10.15."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,011member
    Will this work as a Wacom tablet replacement? It would be nice. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    I’ve been hoping for this reverse airplay like feature for a while. Even if they limit it to USB C devices, that will make it very convenient for people working with MacBook Pros, etc. to use.
    cornchipseanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    urashidurashid Posts: 92member
    I think that Duet does a pretty good job (at the expense of a bit higher CPU). Even supports iPhone as the external display: https://www.duetdisplay.com/
    emoellercrossladforgot usernamercomeaudavgregwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,414member
    rob53 said:
    Will this work as a Wacom tablet replacement? It would be nice. 
    The original article suggests that it will, and can be drawn on with an Apple Pencil while used in this mode.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,286member
    Waiting for this, only the other way around.
    I expect the iOS device to switch to macOS in that situation ...
  • Reply 6 of 19
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 433member
    I've  been using Duet Display to do this for years.  Unfortunately changes in iOS caused issues with their software only solution, thus allowing Luna's workaround dongle.   

    Duet has solved their issues and both companies provide excellent second monitor options presently.

    For me as a laptop using on the road, the second monitor is pure heaven as it allows me to get as much done with the two small monitors as on a larger one.   Drag and drop works seamlessly and its great to pin multiple documents onto the second monitor.

    Apple should have done this long ago, but the solutions that are out there today work extremely well.
    razorpitforgot usernamercomeauwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    "Sidecar," which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor."
    How does this differ from the way MacOS already extends your desktop with multiple monitors?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,436administrator
    "Sidecar," which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor."
    How does this differ from the way MacOS already extends your desktop with multiple monitors?
    The full sentence you quoted in your question is "codenamed 'Sidecar,' which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor or even iPad"

    Obviously, that iPad part is new, and how it's different than now is spelled out in the article.

    edited April 16 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    "Sidecar," which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor."
    How does this differ from the way MacOS already extends your desktop with multiple monitors?
    The full sentence you quoted in your question is "codenamed 'Sidecar,' which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor or even iPad"

    Obviously, that iPad part is new, and how it's different than now is spelled out in the article.

    I read the article but failed to see what’s different when using multiple monitors. I get that the iPad used as a monitor is new. As it is now, MacOS already extends your desktop and windows can be dragged back and forth between them. Unless we are talking about these multiple monitors essentially acting as one where if I make an app full screen it takes up both monitors instead of one. Just curious how this could affect my multi-monitor setup differently than what I have now. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 305member
    urashid said:
    I think that Duet does a pretty good job (at the expense of a bit higher CPU). Even supports iPhone as the external display: https://www.duetdisplay.com/
    Duet is getting Sherlock/Watsoned. 
    Apple has a long track record of big footing on third party developers and yet wonders why so many do not develop for the Mac.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    seanjseanj Posts: 40member
    Rubbish - Microsoft has an even worse track record of big footing third party developers - ask Netscape, WordPerfect, Lotus, etc
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,436administrator
    "Sidecar," which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor."
    How does this differ from the way MacOS already extends your desktop with multiple monitors?
    The full sentence you quoted in your question is "codenamed 'Sidecar,' which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor or even iPad"

    Obviously, that iPad part is new, and how it's different than now is spelled out in the article.

    I read the article but failed to see what’s different when using multiple monitors. I get that the iPad used as a monitor is new. As it is now, MacOS already extends your desktop and windows can be dragged back and forth between them. Unless we are talking about these multiple monitors essentially acting as one where if I make an app full screen it takes up both monitors instead of one. Just curious how this could affect my multi-monitor setup differently than what I have now. 
    I don't think the dragging from monitor to monitor is going to change. The green-dot clicking is the part that's different.

    This part: "It's believed that from macOS 10.15 onwards, clicking on that green icon will display a menu that includes options to maximize the window, tile it for split screen, or send to the external display."
    edited April 16
  • Reply 13 of 19
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,722member
    "Sidecar," which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor."
    How does this differ from the way MacOS already extends your desktop with multiple monitors?
    The full sentence you quoted in your question is "codenamed 'Sidecar,' which lets you extend your Mac's desktop to a second monitor or even iPad"

    Obviously, that iPad part is new, and how it's different than now is spelled out in the article.

    I read the article but failed to see what’s different when using multiple monitors. I get that the iPad used as a monitor is new. As it is now, MacOS already extends your desktop and windows can be dragged back and forth between them. Unless we are talking about these multiple monitors essentially acting as one where if I make an app full screen it takes up both monitors instead of one. Just curious how this could affect my multi-monitor setup differently than what I have now. 
    Nothing else is different about how you manage windows, except it sounds like this would only support full screen apps. I would hope they’d allow full functionality of a separate display, as with Luna I can drag whatever windows or panels to the iPad that I want on there. Also, one of the primary reasons I got it was to be able to switch my Photoshop window over to the iPad to do work with the Pencil. You’d not be able to do that unless Adobe gets their shit together and starts supporting native full screen mode in macOS. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,722member

    knowitall said:
    Waiting for this, only the other way around.
    I expect the iOS device to switch to macOS in that situation ...
    You want to use a Mac as an external monitor for an iPad? Why?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    I've been wanting this for so long! I would literally buy a new iPad for this! I have the 9.7 inch Pro and hopefully I can use it with this feature, but I've also been looking for an excuse to get the 12.9 inch Pro! Either way when they drop this even if I'm in debt and dying in a gutter I will put this on my Visa! Ironically now that Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer have iOS versions I'm not even sure I have much of a use for this. (Also Procreate is literally the best drawing experience on any platform, way better than Photoshop.) Still, this would be fantastic!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    This really pleases me to hear. Mostly because I REALY want native support for iPad pro as display for my mac. And also because I find the support in MacOS for multiple displays to be lacking. I use a wacom cintiq-screen, and I always set it as mirror my Macbook-display. I think it's too hard to use several monitors. Menus and such is always stuck on the wrong screen, and I spend too much time figuring out how to customize everything. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,722member
    I've been wanting this for so long! I would literally buy a new iPad for this! I have the 9.7 inch Pro and hopefully I can use it with this feature, but I've also been looking for an excuse to get the 12.9 inch Pro! Either way when they drop this even if I'm in debt and dying in a gutter I will put this on my Visa! Ironically now that Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer have iOS versions I'm not even sure I have much of a use for this. (Also Procreate is literally the best drawing experience on any platform, way better than Photoshop.) Still, this would be fantastic!
    If you want it so bad, why don’t you get Luna Display? It already works great, and was a significant driver in me getting my 11” Pro and Pencil 2. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,043member
    Given there are second screen systems in the store already and Apple could have done this years ago if they wanted to just match the functionality.  Why now?

    Unless the answer is somehow better and leads to something down the track why bother at all?



    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,010member
    rob53 said:
    Will this work as a Wacom tablet replacement? It would be nice. 
    The Wacom tablets have a “tooth” to the surface, whereas the iPad feels like a glass table. Too slick and it is difficult to draw with precision. 

    But there are specially designed clear plastic sheets which may be applied to an iPad, which gives the surface more of a Wacom tablet surface feel. You can find multiple vendors on Amazon.
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