Sidecar: Unable to Connect to iPad: The Device Timed Out, Fix

Several users have reported that they get an error message saying “unable to connect to “iPad”. The device timed out.” when they want to use Sidecar.

Unable to connect. The device timed out message

You can use Sidecar to expand your Mac workspace using your iPad as a second display. This will also let users use their iPad as an input device with their Apple Pencil. In other words, you can turn your iPad into a very useful Mac accessory. Setting up and using Sidecar is simple and quick.

Are you also getting this device timed out error when you are trying to connect to Sidecar or maintain your Sidecar connection? This article explains how you can fix this problem. Please try the troubleshooting steps below. Make sure to check your iPad and Mac after each step to see if Sidecar starts working.

If you are having other Sidecar problems, please see our article on how to fix Sidecar problems.

You may see this error message if you cannot keep an active connection. It appears that this issue may occur when using Sidecar with a USB cable or wirelessly.

Note: Please before trying the steps below, ensure that your iPad and Mac meet the Sidecar system requirements. Using Sidebar requires that:

  • Your Mac is running ‌macOS Catalina or later.
  • Your ‌iPad‌ is running iOS 13 or later.
  • Two-factor authentication for your Apple ID is enabled.
  • You are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on your iPad and Mac.
  • On both devices, ensure that Bluetooth is enabled.
  • Both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi connection.
  • If you are using Sidecar wirelessly, you need to stay within a 3–feet (10-meter) range of your Mac.

Sidecar “Unable to Connect, Device Timed Out” Error

1. Restart your iPad and Mac: Simply restarting your iPad and Mac may fix this problem.

  • Face ID iPad Models: Press and hold the volume up (or down) and the top buttons together until you see the power off slider. And drag the slider. Wait for your iPad to turn off. Then press and hold the top button until the Apple logo appears.
  • Home button iPad Models: Press and hold the top button until the power off slider appears. Then drag the slider. Wait for your iPad to turn off. Then press and hold the top button until the Apple logo appears.
  • Mac: You can restart your Mac by choosing Restart from the Apple menu.

2. Handoff: Make sure that Handoff is enabled on your iPad and Mac. Here is how you can check:

  • iPad: Go to Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff and ensure that Handoff is turned on.
  • Mac: Open System Preferences, then click General. And ensure that the “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.” option is selected.

See also: How to Copy, Paste Between your Apple Devices Using Universal Clipboard

3. Internet sharing and personal hotspot: Ensure that “Internet Sharing” on your Mac and “Personal Hotspot” on your iPad is disabled. Here is how you can check:

  • iPad: Settings > Cellular or Settings > Personal Hotspot. And then ensure that the “Allow Others to Join” is turned off.
  • Mac: Open System Preferences, click Sharing, then select Internet Sharing. And then ensure that Internet Sharing is off.

See also: Hotspot Not Working? Fix

4. Updates: Make sure that your iPad and Mac are updated to the latest software version. Here is how you can do this:

  • iPad: Go to Settings > General > Software Update. This will check for iPadOS updates. And if there is an update available, follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Mac: Open System Preferences and then click Software Update. If there are updates, follow the onscreen instructions.

5. VPN: Are you using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your iPad or Mac. If so, try to disable your VPN and then try to use Sidecar again.

See also: Instant Hotspot Not Working?

6. Reset Network Settings. On your iPad, reset your network settings. Please note that this will erase all of your network-related settings such as your VPN settings, saved Wi-Fi passwords, etc. On your iPad, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings and then follow the onscreen instructions.

See also: How To Reset Network Settings On Mac

If you need help after these steps, you may want to contact Apple Support.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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32 thoughts on “Sidecar: Unable to Connect to iPad: The Device Timed Out, Fix”

  1. I tried all the steps here and wasted 30 minutes online with Apple support. Nothing works, i just keep getting the “device timed out” message. Extremely frustrating.

  2. Finally found the reason => you need to turn on iCloud keychain on mac and iPad. The sidecar connection is encrypted via keychain. I wish Apple can make this clear! Spent hours on this. 🙁

  3. The only fix that worked for me is to connect Macbook and iPad through Bluetooth and then disconnect, forget device on both and try again.
    – Open Bluetooth on both devices
    – Connect from your MacBook to the iPad and confirm the code
    – It will most likely disconnect automatically and then forget device on both devices
    – Retry Sidecar

    • It worked!!!!
      Thank you much!!!
      Just to complement your solution, here are the versions of my devices:
      MacBook Pro 2019 (Intel) running Big Sur 11.4.
      iPad Pro 2020 (M1) running iPadOS 14.6.

      As a note, I have had several other challenges with Bluetooth in Big Sur.

  4. This doesn’t work at all, wasn’t once Apple known for its great OS and how everything just works? I was able to use iPad as a monitor on my Windows within minutes :/


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