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How to enable Sidecar on unsupported Macs

Sidecar is one of the major features that Apple introduced in Catalina. Unfortunately, even if your Mac can run Catalina, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to use Sidecar. The feature itself is limited within the subset of Macs that can run Catalina. So naturally, there’s a hack to enable Sidecar on unsupported Macs. With this hack, you will be able to use an iPad with the Sidecar feature in wired mode. Try this at your own risk.

Sidecar isn’t supported on early 2015 MacBook Airs which is what I have and you can see in the screenshot below that the preference is missing in the System Preferences app on my Mac.

Sidecar on unsupported Macs

Download Free Sidecar from Github. Extract the zipped folder and run the app inside. The app has directions for how to get it working but, we’re going to detail them here just the same.

Once you’ve extracted the zipped folder, open Terminal. Run the following command.

cp /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SidecarCore.framework/Versions/A/SidecarCore ~/Downloads/SidecarCore.bak

Next, run this command.

cp /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SidecarCore.framework/Versions/A/SidecarCore ~/Downloads

Return to the app and click the Select Sidecore button. Go to the directory that you extracted Free Sidecar to. We’re assuming it is the Downloads folder. You will see a file called SidecareCore. Select it.

The next step is to select the device you want to enable Sidecar for. Go through the list for the devices that you’re going to use it on, and select them.

You now need to boot your Mac into recovery mode. Restart it, and while it’s restarting i.e., before it boots, hold down the Command+R keyboard shortcut.

Once you’re in recovery mode, go to Utilities at the top and select Terminal. Run the following command. It takes only one second to complete. Once it’s done, restart your Mac.

csrutil disable

Back on your desktop, open Terminal again and run the following commands, one by one. You will need to enter your password.

sudo mount -uw /
sudo cp ~/Downloads/SidecarCore /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SidecarCore.framework/Versions/A/SidecarCore
sudo codesign -f -s - /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SidecarCore.framework/Versions/A/SidecarCore

Once that’s done, you need to reboot back to recovery mode. Restart the Mac and hold down Command+R. Once you’re in recovery mode, go to Utilities and select Terminal. Run the following command. It will take only a second. Reboot back to your desktop when it’s done.

csrutil enable

Open the System Preferences app and you will see the Sidecar preference (last row).

Sidecar is supposed to work with both a wired or wireless connection on supported Macs. With this method, you will only be able to use an iPad if it’s connected via a data cable. Apple really should not have excluded the feature from Macs that can still use a wired connection for Sidecar.

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