How to Do a Split Screen on Mac (with Photos)

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How to Do a Split Screen on Mac (with Photos)

Doing a split screen on a Mac is a super easy way to multitask. It allows you to keep multiple windows open side-by-side at the same time. Normally, if you try to use two windows simultaneously, one will go in front of the other.

Of course, you could simply resize the windows to make them sit side-by-side. Mac’s split screen system resizes the pages with the click of a button.

Whether you use your Mac for work or home entertainment, the split-screen feature can make your life easier. Multi-monitor setups have become popular in recent years, but we don’t always have access to them.

With the split screen, you can get the benefits of a multi-monitor setup with just one screen, whether you are on an iMac, a Mac Mini, or MacBook.

Let’s dive into the easy steps!

Step 1: Open Applications

The first thing you need to do in order to start split view on a Mac is to open the programs you want to use. Be sure to have both programs that you want to put side by side.

mac split screen
Open the applications you want to have side-by-side.


Step 2: Find the Green Icon

Next, pick one of the applications and locate the red, yellow, and green icons on the top left. Then hover over the green icon, but do not click on it. Clicking on the icon will automatically maximize the window, making it full-screen.

mac split screen
Hover your mouse over the green button (it’s located at the top left of your application window, to the right of the red and yellow buttons).


Step 3: Choose Left or Right Split Screen

While hovering over the green icon, a short list will appear. The list will allow you to maximize the window or split it between the right and left sides. Simply click to split the screen to either the right or left side.

mac split screen
As you hover, a small menu will pop up, giving you three options: maximize the window, tile it to the left side of your screen, or tile it to the right side of the screen. Choose the side you want.


Step 4: Select Second Application

Once you select split view to either the right or left, the window will automatically snap to the correct side. Then the other side of the screen will show other open windows that you can snap there. Just pick the window you want, and you are now in split view.

mac split screen
Select the second application and complete step 3 for the second application, choosing the opposite side to tile it. Now, they should be side-by-side!


How to Exit Split Screen Mode

Once in split view mode, you probably noticed that there are no buttons to exit. Similarly, the ESC button will not work either to exit the split view.

To exit the split view, simply move your cursor to the top of the screen, which should pull up the top bar. You can either locate and click the red exit buttons to close the window or the green button to maximize it.

To learn more about opening and using split screen on a Mac just check out the video below.

Split Screen Alternative Method

Another alternative for entering split view mode is to make a window full-size either with keyboard shortcuts or by pressing the green full-size icon.

Once in full-size mode, you will need to open Mission Control. To open Mission Control, simply press F3 on your keyboard.

Once in Mission Control, select another app to open that you would like to split the screen with.

Resize a Window

In some cases, you may not need to use split view mode on a Mac. Instead, you can choose to put windows within view of each other. An example would be transferring files between folders in Finder. Just put the windows side by side and resize them as necessary. This will allow you to make the windows as large or small as you need them.

A Better Alternative

If a split view isn’t cutting it, the better option is to choose a multi-monitor setup. Even MacBooks can utilize traditional monitors as an added screen. These allow for better multitasking which can mean increased productivity, especially when compared to the small screen of a laptop.

Whether you are using a MacBook, iMac, or Mac Mini, nearly every Mac computer supports at least one additional monitor. This can be a great addition, particularly if you use your computer for work or school and must use programs like Excel and Word or perform research. Adding an extra monitor can take away the need for a split view or having to constantly switch between windows.


Split view mode on Apple computers is a great way to multitask. Similarly, it makes moving files around easier than ever by putting multiple folders side-by-side. But, one of the best reasons to use split view mode is for doing research. Being able to easily snap Safari to one side and a document to another can be invaluable.

If the split view doesn’t work out as you hoped, you can always resize the pages yourself to make them fit the screen. Unfortunately, this can be a bit cumbersome, but it is the best way to view certain windows. Alternatively, you should consider a multi-monitor setup if you regularly find yourself using split view mode.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why won't split view work?

Split view doesn’t work on all windows and the one you are trying to split likely isn’t designed for split view mode.

Can you split more than two windows?

No, Apple currently lets you split the screen in half with only two windows.

Does split view work on all Macs?

Apple introduced split view in 2015 on OS X El Capitan. It has been available on every operating system since.

Do Macs support multiple monitors?

Yes, all Macs support at least one secondary display.

Can you resize split view?

You can adjust split view either to the left or right to make one window wider than the other.

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