How to Fix Sidecar Not Working on macOS Big Sur

Do you want to use Sidecar, but it’s not working on macOS Big Sur?

Apple initially released Sidecar on macOS Catalina and has been carried over to the latest macOS, which is Big Sur. Apple Sidecar allows macOS users to take advantage of their iPads and use it as a secondary display. 

This is great if you rely on multiple displays for your workloads like editing, coding, and more. What makes it better is that you can connect your iPad wirelessly using your Wi-Fi. 

Unfortunately, if you are reading this right now, you probably updated the latest version of macOS, and currently, Sidecar is not working. 

Most of the time, this is a compatibility issue with your iPad running a much older version of iPadOS, or a temporary error occurred in one of your devices. 

Whatever the case is, we’re here to help you out!

Today, we’ll show you a few methods in fixing Sidecar not working on macOS Big Sur. 

Let’s jump right in!



1. Restart Your Device.

Most of the time, a temporary error that occurred on one of your devices could be the reason why sidecar is not working on macOS Big Sur. 

To fix this, simply restart your Mac and iPad to reload all of its resources. 

On your iPad, check out the guide below to restart it. 

  1. First, locate your iPad’s power button and hold it down until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ screen shows up.
  2. After that, drag the slider to the right until your screen turns black. 
  3. Once your iPad is fully turned off, tap the power button again to restart it. 


Now, to restart your Mac computer, check out the steps below. 

  1. On your Mac, click on the Apple logo located at the top left corner of your display.
  2. After that, click on Restart


  1. Lastly, wait for your Mac to complete the restart process.

Once done, try connecting your iPad to your Mac again to see if Sidecar is now working. 



2. Make Sure That Your iPad and Mac Are Within Range.

Since you connect your devices wirelessly, your iPad and Mac must be within the range of one another. If you don’t see your iPad from the list of available displays, it may be too far from your Mac.

Besides connectivity issues, you might see interruptions or delays on your iPad once you use it as a secondary display if it is far away from one another. 



3. Check Your iCloud Account. 

For Sidecar to work, you need to use the same iCloud on your Mac and iPad. Another account is possibly signed in to one of your accounts, which is why Apple Sidecar is not working correctly. 

On your iPad, follow the steps below to check your iCloud account.

  1. First, open the Settings app on your iPad
  2. Now, tap on your Profile, which is at the top of the settings page.
  3. Finally, verify the iCloud account you are using and make sure that it matches the one on your Mac


On your Mac, you can check your iCloud account by doing the following: 

  1. On your Mac, click on the Apple logo located at the top left corner of your screen.
  2. After that, click on System Preferences
  3. Lastly, click on Apple ID and make sure that the iCloud account you are using matches the one on your iPad


Go back to Sidecar and see if it is now working. 



4. Check Your USB Cables. 

If you are using a USB connection for Sidecar, try to inspect for any damages on the cable. Although the USB cable works for charging your device, it may not transmit data to your Mac. 

USB cables have separate wires for data transfer which could be damaged.

It is also possible that the USB cable you are using is only for charging and doesn’t have a dedicated wire for data transfer, especially the cheap ones. 



5. Enable Handoff. 

Handoff lets you switch from one device to another and pick up where you left off. For Sidecar to work, your Mac and iPad’s Handoff feature needs to be enabled. Try to check your settings and make sure that Handoff is enabled. 

On your iPad, see the steps below to turn on Handoff. 

  1. First, go to your home screen and tap on Settings to open it. 
  2. After that, tap on the General tab and open Airplay & Handoff.
  3. Finally, turn on Handoff


On Mac, check out the guide below to enable Handoff on your computer. 

  1. On your home screen, click on the Apple logo from the top left corner of your screen and select System Preferences
  2. Now, click on the General tab. 
  3. Lastly, click on “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices”


After enabling Handoff, try to use Sidecar again.



6. Disable Airplane Mode.

Airplane mode is a feature on devices that allows users to turn off all the wireless connections on their device, including cellular and WiFi connections. 

If you connect your iPad wirelessly, make sure that airplane mode is turned off.

On your iPad, you can turn off airplane mode by simply accessing the Control Center. Tap on the Airplane Mode button afterward to turn it On/Off. 


sidecar not working on macOS Big Sur



7. Turn Off VPN. 

If you use VPN services on your system, try turning them off when using Sidecar. Since the feature uses your wireless connection, VPNs may affect its performance.

VPNs work by changing your IP address randomly, which can cause instability with your connection, explaining why Sidecar is not working. 

Disable your VPN first and try to use Sidecar again to see if the problem goes away. 


sidecar not working on macOS Big Sur



8. Update Your Device (iPad). 

If you’ve updated to macOS Big Sur and the Sidecar feature suddenly stops working, you may be dealing with a compatibility issue. 

Try to update your iPad as well to verify if the issue is with the version of iPadOS. 

  1. First, open the Settings app on your iPad. 
  2. Now, tap on the General tab. 
  3. Finally, tap on Software Updates and follow the on-screen prompts to install the latest version of iPadOS on your device. 

sidecar not working on macOS Big Sur


After updating your iPad, restart both of your devices and try to use Sidecar again. 



9. Use CleanMyMac X.

Having problems with your Mac? Try using CleanMyMac X!


sidecar not working on macOS Big Sur


CleanMyMac X is an all in one toolkit for macOS that allows you to scan your system for malware, viruses, and junk files. It features a Smart Scan function that automatically identifies issues on your Mac like unwanted files, duplicated files, and other data that can affect your system’s performance and removes them automatically. 

Besides system maintenance, CleanMyMac X also has a dashboard that displays your battery and CPU usage information. 

Keep your Mac optimized using CleanMyMac X.


Try CleanMyMac X Now 



10. Reset Your Network Settings (iPad). 

Unfortunately, if none of the methods above worked, we suggest that you reset your network settings. Some applications may have changed your network settings without permissions and are now causing issues on Sidecar.

To reset your network settings, see the steps below to guide you on the process. 

  1. First, open the Settings app on your iPad and go to the General tab. 
  2. After that, scroll down and tap on Reset.
  3. Finally, tap on Reset Network Settings and follow the on-screen prompts to proceed. 

sidecar not working on macOS Big Sur


After resetting your network settings, try using Sidecar again. 

This brings us to the end of our guide in fixing Sidecar not working on macOS Big Sur. If you know other ways to fix this problem on macOS, kindly share them in the comment section below. We’d be glad to give your name credit for the solution once we’ve updated this article. 


 If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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