Split-screen is essential for a better multitasking experience on any computer. Using it, you can open two or more (program) windows at once on your desktop and work on them simultaneously.

mac split view

For instance, you can use the split-screen setup to have a browser window on one half of the screen and your note-taking app on the other to take notes more efficiently. Or you can open documentation and text editor side-by-side while writing code to save yourself from the multitasking hassle.

Most operating systems, including the popular ones, such as Linux, macOS, and Windows, include split-screen as part of their screen management functionality. If you use a Mac, you get the Split View, which lets you run two Mac apps side by side for a distraction-free working experience.

Here is a guide on how to use Split View effectively on your Mac.

Split View

Split View is the default window manager utility for Mac. It comes built-in on macOS, so you can use it right away without having to install anything on your system.

How to Use Split View

With Split View, you can run a maximum of two apps side by side at a time. Follow the steps below to learn how to enter, use, and exit Split View on your Mac.

1. Entering Split View

If you are running macOS Catalina or later on your Mac, you can enter Split View and put two apps side-by-side in just three steps.

  1. Hover your pointer over the (green-colored) full-screen button in the top left corner of a program window. Or, alternatively, click and hold on it until you see a context menu.
  2. Select Tile Window to Left of Screen from the menu, and the app will fill the left side of your screen.
    entering split view
  3. Click on the other app window that you want to have in Split View to snap it to the other (right) half of the screen.

If for some reason, you are not able to put your Mac in Split View, the following fix should help.

  1. Click on the Apple menu and go to System Preferences.
  2. Select Mission Control.
  3. Ensure that Displays have separated Spaces is selected.
  4. Log out of the system, and log back in.

2. Working With Windows in Split View

Once you have two apps in Split View, you can work on them without being distracted by other apps. If required, you can swap sides by holding and dragging the window to the other side. Moreover, you can also adjust the window width for each program window by dragging the vertical line between them.

adjusting window width in split view

As for multitasking, you can take advantage of macOS’ Spaces feature to open other apps: the apps you open will move to a new Space while your Split View apps remain isolated on another.

To switch between Spaces, use the control + up shortcut or swipe gesture to access Mission Control and click on an app to open it. For faster switching between apps, you can also use the app switcher (command + tab).

3. Exiting Split View

Once you have finished working in the Split View mode, you can return to normal mode by following the steps below.

  1. Move the pointer to the top part of the screen to reveal the menu bar.
  2. Click on the full-screen button to exit Split View. Alternatively, you can also hover over the green button and select Exit Full Screen from the menu.
    exiting split view

Now, your apps will appear in full-screen mode on two different Spaces. To assemble them into one Space and get the window back to their normal size, bring up Mission Control, go to each Space one at a time, and exit the full-screen view by clicking on the full-screen button.

Making the Most of Your Mac’s Screen Estate

Using Split View, you can leverage the entire screen estate of your Mac and use it effectively for a better multitasking experience. Not just that, if you are using your MacBook with an external display, Split View will come in handy in such a setup as well.

However, that said, if you would like to have more than two apps tiled to your desktop at once, or you want more control over the behavior of the apps in the split-screen mode, Split View will only get you so far. As an alternative, what you will need instead are third-party window manager apps for Mac that provide various tiling layouts and configurations.

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