What’s in your Mac’s toolbag? Apps. A backup system. Maybe some USB peripherals. What else you got? An iPad, right? Why would a Mac user want an iPad? Thanks to macOS Catalina’s new Sidecar system, an iPad can end up being the touchscreen Mac you never had.
I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro. The kind with the good keyboard. I have a 12-inch iPad Pro. That combo gives me a Mac with a dual-screen; nearly as capable as an iMac display without all the Retina mumbo jumbo.
Apple has doubled down on No Touchscreen For You, so, how do you get a touchscreen Mac?
Assemble the pieces. An iPad. A Lightning to USB cable. Your Mac notebook. macOS Catalina. And, Apple Pencil. Sidecar is the feature in Catalina that brings your Mac’s screen to a connected iPad. Multiple windows. Access to the Mac Menubar on the iPad’s screen.
How do you control the Mac’s display on the iPad’s display?
Fingers. And Apple Pencil. With only two fingers you can zoom in, scroll the screen, even pan. Sounds good, right? Caveats? Tapping on the screen does not work. That’s where Apple Pencil comes in.
My home Mac setup is a desktop iMac and the MacBook Pro with an external display. Most of the time I use the dual-display option and that’s exactly what you get with Sidecar, iPad, and Mac. Normally, I take an app that needs to be open and move it to the iPad’s display.
Being able to tap and control Mac app windows on an iPad display is good, but there are issues. Yes, you can use Touch Bar and for Mac apps that make good use of it, it works even better on the iPad’s display.
There’s another way to bring a touchscreen to the Mac with an iPad. It’s called Duet, software on iPad and Mac that makes iPad an external display for the Mac, complete with mouse or trackpad control.
That’s a sweet system and better in some ways than Sidecar. No, it’s not a touchscreen, but it is an external display you can carry with you.
As good as both solutions are, I still want a touchscreen Mac.