How to use Split View on a Mac

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

Macbook Air (2018) Review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Split screen modes divide your computer screen into two different halves so you can view two different windows at the same time. This is immensely useful for research projects and more complex work assignments (especially on laptops), which is why so many students and professionals hunt down ways to split their screen whenever they get a new Mac computer.

Now for the good news: In newer versions of MacOS, there’s a very easy split screen mode called Split View that anyone with an updated Mac can use. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to use Split View on a Mac to make the most of your system.

While connecting multiple external monitors is always a possibility for larger projects, here’s how to divide your screen on smaller level, any time you need.

Get started with Split View

Split View Green Button

Step 1: Begin by opening the Mac windows that you want to divide into a split screen. Browser windows, apps, documents — whatever you want. Pick one window to start with, and look in the upper left corner. You should see three colored dots: red, yellow and green. They can be used to control the window.

Step 2: If you hover over the right-side green dot, you’ll see it has two small expand arrows. This is the button you want. Hold down on the green dot, and the window will expand/contract as needed, then slide into one half of your screen. Do not tap the green button, because this puts the window into fullscreen Green Button Close Upmode instead.

Step 3: One half of your Split View is done. Now select the other window that you want to Split View. This window should automatically shift to cover the other side of your screen, completing the Split View experience. You can tap either window to switch focus back and forth as needed.

Adjusting Split View

Your split view doesn’t have to be a half-and-half deal. Instead, you can choose which window gets more screen time. Look for the black bar in the middle of the screen — it is quite thin in High Sierra and other versions of MacOS, but Apple has made it far thicker in its Mojave release. Click and hold that bar, and you can move it right or left to give either window more real estate. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to view a large web page with odd design or need extra space for a big spreadsheet.Split View Adjust

If you realize you prefer the windows on different sides, then click and hold one window, and drag it over to the opposite side. The windows will automatically switch places.

Also, keep in mind that shuffling between screens can get a little confusing when you’re first learning how to use it. You may find a couple of windows vanished to your dock or to a side menu by the time you’re done. Don’t worry, you probably didn’t lose anything permanently, just keep looking for where Apple put it. Making sure you’re well versed in Mac keyboard shortcuts may help here.

Finally, if the windows are too small for you, you can adjust your resolution to help improve matters. When you’re ready to leave Split View mode, just click on the green dot on either window. This will return both windows to their original state and allow you to resume what you were doing before you started using Split View.

A quick word about Mission Control

Mission Control

Do you have a lot of windows open at once and want something more comprehensive than Split View to look at them all? Mission Control can help. This mode shows you all the windows you have open in a top bar while also giving you an at-a-distance look at all the windows currently on your screen.

You can access Mission Control in many ways, but one of the easiest is to simply drag a window up to the very top of your screen, which should automatically enter Mission Control mode. Alternatively, Apple keyboards typically come with an F3 Mission Control button. You can enter Mission Control while in Split View if you want, which is an easy way of switching windows as necessary.

Mission Control can also help you switch to split view when you are in a full-window app. Just activate Mission Control and then drag your app window on top of another window or app icon. This should immediately activate split screen.

Cinch, a third-party alternative

Cinch

Maybe you really don’t like this new split-screen method. That’s okay! There are alternatives for creating a split screen: One of our favorites is the Mac app Cinch. It creates hot zones on the four corners of your Mac screen and two hot zones on the right and left sides. You simply drag a window into one of these zones, and it snaps into place. If you drag it into a corner, it will automatically snap to one-quarter size of your screen. If you drag the window to the side of your Mac, it will snap to half the screen.

Some users may find this easier and more intuitive or more useful for viewing multiple windows at once. If you are interested, Cinch does a pretty good job of staying current with the latest MacOS, and there’s a free trial version you can use to experiment with the app — the full version is only $7 if you decide you want it. Download it from the official site, or straight from the App Store.

Product Review

It's a shame the U.S. banned Huawei. The new Honor 20 Pro is a kick-ass phone

Where does Honor go after the Honor View 20, the best device it has ever made? The answer is the Honor 20 Pro, which takes what made the View 20 great, and then improves on it by adding more camera lenses and shrinking the size.
Computing

Windows 10 notifications driving you crazy? Here's how to get them under control

Are the notifications on Windows 10 annoying you? Here's our guide on how to turn off notifications in Windows, and how to manage alerts so that the important stuff still gets through.
Deals

Here’s one thing you need to do before giving your child a smartphone or tablet

Monitoring your kids' digital habits can be a challenge in today’s high-tech age, but great parental control software like Qustodio gives parents a much-needed advantage. Learn how you can protect your child from online dangers.
Home Theater

What is Kodi? It’s the free media software that should have come with your TV

To take control of the movies, TV shows, and music in your personal collection, you need media center software like Kodi. It's free and turns your PC, TV, or tablet into a multimedia jukebox. Here's how to use it.
Computing

Dell XPS 13 laptops get steep price cuts before Memorial Day weekend

Dell is having an early access version of its Memorial Day sale, featuring deep discounts on its XPS 13 laptops. Customers can snag three different versions of the XPS 13 with discounts of up to $460.
Deals

HP Memorial Day sale: Spectre x360 Laptops, Omen gaming PCs, and printers

Memorial Day is a time for relaxation and remembrance, but it's also a huge season for yearly sales. The HP Memorial Day sale has deep discounts on laptops, desktop, printers, and more, and we’ve rounded up the best deals right here.
Computing

Samsung MicroSD memory cards get massive discounts in Amazon Memorial Day deal

Samsung's Evo Select series of MicroSD memory cards, now half off on Amazon, are some of the best in the business. Expand the storage space on your smartphone, tablet, camera, and other devices today.
Computing

The top mesh routers for a bigger, better, and faster Wi-Fi network

The best mesh routers and Wi-Fi extenders give a wireless network both range and speed. Better yet, they scale fantastically well, so you can always expand your network if you need it to be larger tomorrow than it is today.
Computing

The top curved monitors for gaming, work, entertainment, and more

A curved monitor can provide an immersive experience at work or play - especially with ultrawide monitors. Here's a selection of the best curved monitors available and what they excel at.
Mobile

Keep your gadgets fully powered with the best Micro USB cables

A lot of older gadgets and Android smartphones still rely on Micro USB cables to charge or transfer data. Check out our picks of the best Micro USB cables, whether you want something reliable, tough, feature-packed, or simple.
Computing

Apple sends out invites for WWDC 2019, and unicorns are involved

Apple developers and fans alike look forward every year to the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, better known as WWDC. Apple has confirmed the conference will take place on June 3-7, and the company just sent out invites.
Computing

AMD's latest Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

The May 2019 update for Windows 10 is live. Here’s how to get your hands on it

Launched this week, Microsoft's May 2019 update for Windows 10 releases a slew of new features, primarily simple and powerful security tools, for home and enterprise users. You can get your hands on these tools by installing the new update…
Computing

AMD or Intel? We take a look at the pros and cons of both processors

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.