I'm thinking of getting an iPad as a second display using the sidecar feature.

Assuming the display be always on in sidecar mode and it's always plugged in to charge, would the iPad using its battery while it's charging? Or will it be drawing power from the outlet?

I'm wondering about battery performance (cycles) since the device would be on most of the day and it would need to charged often.

2 Answers 2


The iPad is always powered from the battery. It doesn't matter whether the charger is plugged in or not, the power is always drawn from the battery.

This is actually essential in ensuring that a sudden spike in power consumption (for example due to briefly engaging the CPU and GPU at 100%) doesn't result in system shutdown because the charger cannot supply enough power.

Ofcourse when the charger is plugged in, the battery is charged at the same time. If the power draw is less than the charger output, then the battery will be charged (until it reaches max) - otherwise you can still experience that the battery level drops while using the iPad.


I've used my iPhone being constantly plugged-in for development and screen on-time for many hours a day As a result my battery's overall health degraded insanely fast.

Most likely iPads don't overcome this issue, so I would say its best to not use Sidecar that often (to work as a permanent second monitor) or really use it unplugged, let it discharge, and then charge up again, preferably when not using.

  • By the way it doesn't matter how you use your battery cycles, i.e. you don't gain anything from letting it discharge, then recharge, compared to just leaving it plugged in.
    – X_841
    Mar 2, 2021 at 22:12

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