Redditor turns busted MacBook Pro into a clever Mac + iPad hybrid using Sidecar


One of the most useful new features in macOS Catalina is something called Sidecar, which turns your iPad into an external display for your Mac. A Redditor has taken things to the next level, using a MacBook Pro with a broken display and turning it into a unique Mac/iPad hybrid using Sidecar.

The Reddit user, Andrew, explains that he attached a “magnetic iPad case in-place of the Retina display” and is using a combination of hardware and software tweaks to create hybrid experience. The MacBook Pro itself was still functional, with the display being what was broken.

Here’s how Andrew describes the process:

The method involved defusing the broken LCD screen and backlight from the upper portion of the MacBook’s clamshell, modifying the Retina display driver, attaching a magnetic iPad case in-place of the Retina display and putting everything back together.

In regards to software, I’m using Catalina’s ’Sidecar’ to wirelessly (Bluetooth) mirror the once-existent Retina display and ‘keyboard maestro’ to establish the initial connection to the iPad upon booting up. Not in the video below is a demonstration of 1keyboard being used to re-route the Macbook’s keyboard as an input device for the iPad when Sidecar is disabled.

This is a pretty clever setup; and the video here offers a good look at just how practical it is. You can even see Andrew use an Apple Pencil to draw on the MacBook + iPad hybrid display. The iPad itself is also easily removable and can be taken on the go just like normal.