Use Cases for Sidecar?

I’m curious as to how many here use Sidecar and if so, the use case. Do you only use it as a second screen? Do you ever use it in conjunction with the Apple Pencil? Other?

As an instructor, I very much wish for an app that will allow me to use SideCar to annotate over a screen.


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I have tried using Sidecar as a aide for Zoom meetings, etc, but quickly found that putting the meeting onto the large monitor and just using the laptop as the side monitor was a lot more functional. I found Sidecar fiddly and made me feel I was all thumbs.

I don’t have Dr. W’s use case, but can see that annotating over a screen would be very helpful for a good chunk of academic and scientific users.

I’d love to annotate the screen while watching a. YouTube or Vimeo presentation and have the annotations linked to the play back.

I have tried using it with my iMac a few times, but it’s kind of pointless because with a 27" screen I don’t really need a second screen (and regardless the iPad is too low). Also, most apps I use have iOS versions, so why put the Things 3 Mac app on Sidecar when I can just load up the Things iOS app?

I have also used it with my MBA a few times, but if I am out of the house, I usually don’t have both with me, and if I am home and need more screen real estate I just go use my iMac.

I have used it for PDF mark up though. It works extremely well for that. Click the button to send it to the iPad, mark it up and it all shows up on your Mac. Not something I use a lot, but handy when I need it.

I mostly use Sidecar when traveling as a second screen. While the 16” MacBook Pro has a great screen, I tend to multi-task at home with a 38” and a 27” monitor. Since travel hasn’t been too plentiful these days, my perceived need for more space has grown.

Sidecar has worked most of the time. I usually plug in the 12.9” iPad Pro with a USB cable and have email or other reference documents open on it while using the MacBook Pro’s screen for the actual work.

I have tried to use the Apple Pencil for editing, but my patience and placing the screen on the left side seem to be a challenge since I am right-handed…:slight_smile: I hope to get more practice in once travel opens up a little more.

Depending on what I’m up to, I use Sidecar as a second screen for reference.
This week I put some Zoom windows (chat, participants) on there.
If I’m in Xcode I’ll often have some reference material on Sidecar.
Otherwise I sometimes put messaging software on it.

I only use it sporadically, but I am really glad it’s there.

re: Sidecar for reference materials.

I use it for support chat windows. It helps me avoid the “are you still there?” messages.


I use it as a screen to hold an Apple Note formatted to track my time an activity for client billing purposes. And even though I use Spaces, this frees up my iMac’s 27 inch screen for more work and reference materials. Once I complete a task, I just move the cursor to the iPad screen with the note, enter the client name, time spent, and activity, and I’m done.

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A friend of mine inspired me of using it for PDF annotation. Never thought about it before but it actually works really, really well. No need for syncing back and forth any more.

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Can you explain the process a bit more please?

There are a few ways to do it, but how I usually do it…

  1. Find the PDF in Finder that you want to mark up on your iPad.
  2. Hit space for quick view.
  3. On the far right of the quick view’s menu bar is a pen-tip symbol with an arrow. Click that.
  4. Mark up your document on your iPad.
  5. Close it when done and everything will be on your Mac.

It works amazingly well.


How did I not know Apple Pencil is supported in Sidecar?
Obviously, annotating a pdf in GoodNotes on the iPad looks nicer, but this could be really handy. My current method has been to drop the pdf into GoodNotes on the Mac, let it sync and edit it on the iPad, then let it sync back. Works beautifully, but I like this idea.

Especially with my main use for Sidecar, which I totally forgot (compartmentalising work out of my mind at the time?)
I put the myriad windows from Zoom on it, eg Breakout Rooms, Chat, Participants.
Now, I might be tempted to put the main screen on there to let me mark it up…

Have you seen Presentify (it’s in SetApp, haven’t used it yet but I’m going to)?

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@Leeabe51 has already done it, so just a quick addition: I use my pdf viewer of choice on Mac (PDFpen Pro), open the pdf in the app and push the app’s window over to sidecar, annotate/read with the pencil, save the file. That’s it. :blush:

I tested this. Outside of a minor annoyance that the annotations have to be toggled on/off from the drop-down menu bar, it may do exactly what I want.

Thank you!


Here’s my use case: I’ve got a MacBook Pro hooked up to a 27-inch Cinema Display. I have the external display set up front-and-center on my desk, with the MBP off to one side.

The location of the MBP makes it inconvenient to use as a second display. I’ve tried moving the displays to different locations and no matter what I do—too much head-swiveling.

So this week I decided to hook up my 10" 6th Gen iPad as a sidecar display, park it below the big Cinema display, and I kinda like it. I can just drop my eyes and see what’s on the iPad. Mostly it’s just empty, but it’s great if I just have a little something I want to refer to. For example, I needed to update a directory entry for my employer’s HR software–I put the instructions on the iPad and did the work on the big display.

My wife needed copies of about a dozen receipts–I moved the list to the iPad and compiled them on the big display.

Not a lot of use, but very handy when I do use it.

I also anticipate moving Slack and IM windows down there when I have an ongoing conversation.

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We are doing hybrid Toastmasters meetings in a conference room. I have my Mac Mini connected to the TV with my iPhone 11 Pro as webcam through Camo. I have Zoom on the TV and have OBS on SideCar on my iPad to display Green, Yellow, and Red timer cards to speakers. Now that I know I can use the Apple Pencil it will be so much easier than trying to mouse to right on the TV screen when my iPad is below the TV screen.

You’re using iPhone 11 Pro to stream the live meeting over Zoom using Camo? I was asking here about a similar use case yesterday:

I’m still using my Luna Display rather than sidecar