What to Do When You Get the Mac “Sidecar Device Timed Out” Error

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Sidecar is one of the most popular features of macOS Catalina that was launched along with the newest version of macOS. This feature allows Mac users to convert a compatible iPad into a secondary Mac display. Sidecar is convenient and easy to use, enabling the user to either mirror content on your Mac or use it as a secondary display for more screen real estate no matter where you go.

To be able to use Sidecar, you just need to have a compatible iPad running iOS 13 and a Mac with the latest version of Catalina. Sidecar works just like any other secondary display that you use with your Mac. You can drag windows from your Mac to your ‌iPad‌, and vice versa. You can also interact with both devices using your Mac’s trackpad. It is a very useful feature, especially for artists and other users that require more screen.

However, Sidecar is far from being perfect. Since the feature has been launched not long ago, experiencing bugs and errors is common. For example, there have been several complaints about the “Device Timed Out” error in Sidecar that has been inconveniencing a lot of Mac users.

The error message usually reads: 

Unable to Connect to “Pad Pro”

The device timed out.

The Mac Sidecar Device Timed Out error appears whenever an iPad is trying to connect to a Mac that is running Catalina. In most cases, Sidecar getting “Device Timed Out” error occurred when connecting the iPad to Mac for the first time. But there are also cases when the error happened even if the devices have been successfully connected before.

This error has left a lot of Mac users baffled because they have no idea what is causing the error and how to fix it. If you are also experiencing the “Device Timed Out” error in Sidecar, this guide should provide you with more information about this issue and what steps you need to take to successfully pair your devices.

What Causes the Mac Sidecar Device Timed Out Error?

The “Device Timed Out” error in Sidecar can be caused by a wide range of factors, but the first thing you need to check is compatibility. Are you running the latest software on both devices? Are your devices compatible with the Sidecar feature?

To check whether your devices will work with Sidecar, here are the requirements you need to keep in mind:

List of compatible iPads

  • All iPad Pro models
  • 6th-generation iPad
  • 5th-generation iPad Mini
  • 3rd-generation iPad Air

List of Macs with Sidecar support

  • 2018 Mac Mini
  • 2018 MacBook Air or newer
  • 2017 iMac or newer
  • 2016 MacBook Pro or newer
  • 2016 MacBook or newer
  • 2015 iMac 5K or newer
  • iMac Pro
  • 2019 Mac Pro

Aside from compatibility, you should also check the connectivity requirements to make it work. To use Sidecar, you will need to connect your iPad to your Mac via a charging cable or Bluetooth. You also need to make sure to stay within a 10-meter or 32-feet range of your Mac for Bluetooth to work. Lastly, make sure both of your devices are logged in using the same iCloud account.

So, if you’re running into this error, it is possible that you have a problem with your device, your Bluetooth connection, your Wi-Fi network, or your iCloud account.

How to fix “Device Timed Out” Error in Sidecar

When your Sidecar is getting the “Device Timed Out” error and your devices are compatible with this feature, you need to look at the other factors involved to find out where the problem lies. Here are to steps you can take to resolve this error:

Step 1: Restart Both Devices.

There are instances when issues like the “Device Timed Out” error in Sidecar is caused by a temporary glitch in the operating system of either device. The easiest way to fix this is to restart both devices to refresh their systems. Make sure to close all apps before pressing the power button to reboot. After restarting, try to connect them again to see if you are able to successfully use Sidecar this time.

Step 2: Forget Your iPad/Mac Bluetooth Connection.

If something went wrong with your Bluetooth connection, make sure to forget the other device first before reconnecting.

To forget your Mac on your iPad, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPad, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap on Bluetooth and find your Mac’s name under My Devices.
  3. Tap the blue i icon beside your Mac’s name, then tap on Forget This Device.

To forget your iPad on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple menu > System Preferences, then choose Bluetooth.
  2. Hover the mouse pointer over your iPad device, then click the Cancel button that appears next to the device’s name.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you can then try reconnecting the devices via Bluetooth again.

Step #3: Switch to a Wired Connection.

If Bluetooth is really not working, your other option is to connect the devices using a cable. Make sure you are using an authentic charging cable from Apple because fake charging cables will just lead to more errors. Most Apple devices are equipped with the ability to detect counterfeit products so your devices won’t recognize a fake charging cable. Connect the cable carefully and keep them steady while they are connected. Using a cable to connect your Mac to your iPad should resolve the “Device Timed Out” error in Sidecar.

Step #4: Update Your Devices.

An outdated iOS or macOS can cause some of the features not to work properly. Make sure all iOS updates have been installed by going to Settings > General > Software Update to check whether there are no pending updates. On your Mac, click on the Apple Menu > About This Mac, then click on Software Update. Once your devices have been updated, try connecting them again to activate Sidecar.

Step #5: Turn Off Today View.

Several Mac users who encountered the “Device Timed Out” error in Sidecar noted that turning off Today View helps resolve this issue. The Today View on your iPad is a convenient spot for your widgets, but it can also interfere with some of your iPad’s features, including Sidecar. To turn this off, follow the instructions here:

  1. On your iPad, tap on Settings, then select Touch ID & Passcode.
  2. Type in your passcode when prompted.
  3.  Scroll down to Allow Access When Locked.
  4. Turn off the toggle for Today View.

Summary

Sidecar is quite a handy feature for when you need an extra screen for your tasks. Whether you need to create a sketch, organize your lists, or you want to watch a video without it showing on the main screen, having a second display in the form of Sidecar is very useful. It is usually easy to set up, as long as your devices are compatible and support this feature. If you come across any issues, such as the Mac Sidecar Device Timed Out error, try the workarounds listed above to easily resolve it.

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