How To Use Split View On Mac

Aadhya Khatri - Nov 18, 2019


How To Use Split View On Mac

For those who use the newer macOS, Split View can be used to open many windows at once. Here is how you can use the feature.

What split screen does is to divide your display into two halves so that you can have two different windows opening at the same time. This ability is super handy for those who have to do complex assignments often.

For those who use the newer macOS, Split View does exactly that, but it may require some time to break into. Here is how you can use the feature:

Get Started With Split View

Step 1: Open at least two windows that you want to split the screen for. On one window, find the three-dot icon with green, red, and yellow.

Split-View-Green-Button
On one window, find the three-dot icon with green, red and yellow

Step 2: Hover your cursor over the green dot, now you will see that it has two arrows. Hold down on it, and you will have some more options to control the window. Choose either Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right of Screen.

Split-view-Green-Button-Close-Up
Hover your cursor over the green dot, now you will see that it has two arrows

Step 3: You have had one half done, the other window will shrink to fit the other half. If you want to switch focus, all you have to do is to tap on either of these two windows.

If you want to have one window larger than the other, here is what to do. In the middle of the screen, find the black bar. Now click and hold the bar and move it right or left to expand either window. Please note that some apps have a minimum width, so there is no way you can shrink them.

If you want to change the position of the windows, hold the title bar and move it to the new place, the other will switch position accordingly.

In Split View, Mac will automatically hide the menu, but if you need to use it, hover the cursor over the top of the screen, and it will reappear. When you move the pointer, it will disappear again.

When you no longer need the Split View mode, press Esc or choose the green dot, the windows will go back to their original state.

Split View Options

In Option, on some keyboards it is the button labeled Alt, or the green button on a window, you will have three options to choose from, including Move Window to Left Side of Screen, Move Window to Right Side of Screen, Move, and Zoom. The menu bar and Dock will be hidden if you use Enter Full Screen but not Zoom.

Window Snapping

Mac users have finally had window snapping with macOS Catalina. Whenever you drag a window to one of the four corners of the screen, you will see a translucent box indicating the space the window will occupy appearing behind it. If you release, the window will fit right into that box.

Split-view-Window-Snapping
Whenever you drag a window to one of the four corners of the screen, you will see a translucent box indicating the space the window will occupy appearing behind it

With macOS Catalina, you have ten options:

  • If you drag a window to one of the four corners, it will fill 25% of the screen.
  • When you drag a window to the top part, either on the left or right, it will fill up the top half. Do the same for the bottom part.
  • Do the same thing for the right or left part, and the window will fill up that half of the screen.
  • To shrink it to fit the middle third, drag the window to the bottom.
  • To zoom a window, drag it to the top. Move further up, and you will open Mission Control.

Since Mac gives users several choices when it comes to Split View, it may take a little bit of time to find the most suitable arrangement for you.

Window snapping works differently from Split View. When you drag apps into place, they will not expand to full screen. You cannot change their size either.

A Quick Word About Mission Control

Split View can be handy when you have only two windows opening at once. However, if you have several, Mission Control will give you a more comprehensive view of them all.

Split-view-Mission-Control
if you have several windows, Mission Control will give you a more comprehensive view of them all

With this mode, you will have a bird-eyes view of all the windows so that you can decide which to work on. It also allows you to make “spaces,” multiple virtual desktops, each of them has its own windows and apps.

To open Mission Control you can use these ways. The quickest and easiest way is to drag a window to the very top of the screen. Another method is to press the F3 Mission Control button on the keyboard. If yours comes with a trackpad, either swipe up with three or four fingers.

Mission Control is another quick way to activate Split View. When you have two windows, open Mission Control and drag one app or window on top of the other.

Cinch, A Third-Party Alternative

If for some reason, you do not want to use the native Split View function, there are other alternatives as well.

Our recommendation is Cinch. This app will create “zones” on the four corners of the screen, and two of them will be on the left and right side. Whenever you want to open several windows at a time, drag them into these zones, and they will snap into place. If you drag it to the corner, the window will occupy 25% of the screen, to the side, and it will fill up a half.

The app comes with a cost of $7 and is available on the App Store or the app’s official website.

Some Features Won’t Work On macOS Mojave

If what you have is macOS Mojave, Split View works the same for the most parts, but there are some differences. The Window snapping will be absent as it is exclusive on macOS Catalina. However, apps like Magnets or Cinch will offer a similar function.

Another difference is that you will not have Move Window to Right Side of Screen, Move Window to Left Side of Screen, Zoom, or Move options.

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