Using an iPad as your second screen

Hello composers,

On the internet I saw that Ableton (and all other DAWs) can be controlled with your iPad (Pro) using it as a second screen with Apple Sidecar. For example, you can now draw automation with a pencil or read your music sheet (sync with Finale f.e.) with your DAW right in front of you. This seems like a huge improvement in my workflow. Yes I have motorized faders but I always dreamed about drawing my string CC’s with a pencil.

Well, the first thing I thought was: this must be very laggy. I know this was already possible with third party apps like Duet but that must be stuttering and frustrating. But then I came across this video: Please notice from 3:10 min. Super smooth! …and this video was in recorded 2017! Notice that he used Duet on a PC to an iPad.
Does anyone have experience with an iPad as a second screen?

Extra question: currently my Mac is still running on MacOS El Capitan, due to the fact that since Catalina, Apple no longer supports 32-bit plugins. However, now I read that Catalina is required for Apple Sidecar. I can update the OS but are you bothered by the fact that Catalina no longer supports 32-bit plugins/VSTs?

Thanks in advance!


Very interesting questions…I’ve just made a Sidecar connection between a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro, and Ableton Live can be used on both screens. On the iPad screen the Arrangement view was visible and on the MBP the Clip view as second screen was visible.
Indeed, it’s a very nice gesture to use the Apple Pencil to draw for example volume curves on an audio/MIDI clip…it works well, but in the beginning you have to focus what’s happening and especially WHERE things are happening on both screens :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Regarding your second question, it doesn’t bother me that the support for 32-bit plugins stopped from Catalina and newer. I had some old (and free) plugins that weren’t updated any longer, so I had to remove these from my Mac, but almost all plugins were already available as 32/64, or updated to a 64-bit version. Computer technology still means spending money over time for buying hardware or software…keep the cashflow running :money_mouth_face::wink:

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Thank you for your reply. Great to hear that Sidecar with Ableton works well for you. And I agree, small changes in your workflow take a lot of time and focus in the beginning but in the end this one may pay off…

I think you are right about the OS update. Thanks for the info. I’m going to give it a try!