This genius app turns your iPad into a Mac drawing tablet

This genius app turns your iPad into a Mac drawing tablet

For years, Apple fans have been able to use the iPad as a drawing tablet for their Mac thanks to software called Sidecar. It’s made by Apple, but now a rival app to Astropad has come out, and it’s aimed squarely at digital artists and illustrators.

The app, called Slate, allows you to draw on your iPad with the Apple Pencil or your finger and see the results replicated on your Mac’s display. This means your iPad essentially doubles as a Wacom tablet, perfect for creative work on your Apple devices.

A MacBook next to an iPad with an Apple Pencil.  The Astropad Slate app is being used, which lets the Apple Pencil control the Mac's mouse pointer.

It can also be used to input your own handwriting, such as when filling out and signing forms. Astropad also notes that the app will let you use your Apple Pencil to move your Mac’s mouse pointer, while you can also use your fingers to perform Mac gestures that normally wouldn’t be possible with a trackpad or Magic Mouse. Will be done with.

Like Sidecar, the Slate works wirelessly, so you don’t need to connect a cable between your Mac and iPad. It is also compatible with the Apple Pencil’s new hover feature (released in iPadOS 17), which allows the user to preview certain tools or draw with greater precision by bringing the Apple Pencil closer to the iPad’s surface, without actually having to make contact. Allows.

Sidelining the sidecar?

apple sidecar press photo

Apple launched Sidecar with macOS Catalina in 2019, and alternatives to Apple’s apps have existed for a long time (many predate that). These include the Duet Display and the Luna Display, the latter of which is also made by Astropad.

However, Slate differs from these previous efforts in some ways. For one thing, the Luna Display requires a USB dongle inserted into your Mac, while the slate is completely wireless.

Additionally, apps like Sidecar, Lune Display, and Duet Display are aimed at turning your iPad into a second screen for your Mac so you can extend your Mac workspace onto your tablet. Meanwhile, the slate doesn’t mirror or extend your Mac’s display, and instead enables your iPad to function solely as a drawing tablet. In other words, it won’t show your Mac’s content on your iPad.

Right now, the slate is being offered through a free public beta. There’s no official launch date or price for the app, and Astropad says the beta will remain open “long enough to collect user feedback and work through existing bugs.” If you want to try it out, you can download the beta from Astropad’s website.


Ganesan Arumugam is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering stories that resonate with readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, Ganesan has contributed to the media landscape for over a decade, covering a diverse range of topics including politics, technology, culture, and human interest stories.

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