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How to fix no Sidecar in System Preferences on macOS Catalina

One of the major features coming to macOS with Catalina is Sidecar. Sidecar works with the iPad and allows you to use it as a secondary display for your Mac. The idea is hardly novel. There are apps that have allowed users to do this for years now. The only difference is, those apps were developed by independent developers whereas, this is a native feature in Catalina. If you’ve already updated to the Catalina public beta, you can try it out.

Sidecar should appear in System Preferences however, if there’s no Sidecar in System Preferences, there may be a reason why, and a way to force it to appear.

No Sidecar in System Preference

There are several factors that matter when trying to use Sidecar however your iPad may not necessarily be one of them. You do need to have it on-hand to apply the fix.

Mac compatibility

Sidecar is not going to be available for all Mac. In fact, only newer models will get it so you need to check if yours is compatible. The list of compatible Macs is as follows;

  • Late 2015 27″ iMac and later
  • 2017 iMac Pro
  • Mid 2016 MacBook Pro and later
  • Late 2018 Mac mini and later
  • Late 2018 MacBook Air and later
  • Early 2016 MacBook and later
  • 2019 Mac Pro

If you don’t remember what model your Mac is, you can check it easily enough. Go to the Apple menu and select About this Mac. In the window that opens, look for the model details of your Mac.

Connect iPad

If your Mac is compatible with Sidecar, and you still don’t see the preference, connect your iPad to your Mac. Close the System Preference app, and then open it again. Check if Sidecar appears. If not, restart your Mac.

That should force it to appear. Whether it works or not is a different story. Remember that, at the time of writing, Catalina is in beta. Apple usually puts out fairly stable betas but it has had trouble with even its stable OS versions. If Sidecar still doesn’t appear, wait until the next beta is available and then update to it. It may force the system preference to show.


If you like the feature but do not have a compatible Mac, remember that it’s only Apple that’s decided to limit it to certain devices. You can use an app like Air Display to still get the job done. You will need to buy both the iOS app and the macOS app. All-in, it should cost up to $15 to get the feature on unsupported Macs.

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