We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

How To Use Two Mac Apps Side By Side In Split View?

How To Use Two Mac Apps Side By Side In Split View?

Many occasions call for multitasking. Like when you have to quickly research a concept while writing an article or when you need to read a document while responding to Slack Messages.

Or maybe, like me, you like to put a video on as background noise while you tackle your to-do list for the day.

However, jumping back and forth from one fullscreen window to another isn’t the most effective way to multitask and not many people can afford to buy a monitor in addition to their MacBook. And even if you could, it won’t be practical to carry a monitor with you everywhere you go.

Knowing how to split your Mac screen into two windows that you can view at the same time will make your life more convenient.

In this post, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to activate the Split View function on your Apple Laptop and take your productivity to the next level.

Photo by John Tekeridis

How To Enter Split View on macOS Catalina and Newer Versions?

Photo by olia danilevich

If your Mac runs on Catalina or a more recent operating system, you can make more effective use of your screen by splitting it into two windows. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

1. Start by making sure neither of the apps you want to use side by side is in full screen mode. If they are, minimize them.

2. Scroll to one of the apps you want to use and hover your cursor over the green button at the top left corner of the window until a drop-down menu appears. Alternatively, long click on the button to reveal the menu.

3. From the menu options, click Tile Window to Right of Screen or Tile Window to Left of Screen. Once you make your selection, your Mac will instantly enter Split View mode and the app will occupy that side of the screen.

4. To display another window on the opposite end of the screen, simply choose the app you want to choose and it will take up the remaining half of the screen.

You can now view and use the two Mac Apps side by side.

How To Split Screens on Older Mac Operating Systems?

Photo by Startup Stock Photos

The process for activating Split View mode is a little different for Macs using earlier versions of macOS like Mojave, Sierra, El Capitan, and High Sierra. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Choose one of the apps you want to dedicate half of your screen’s real estate to, then click and hold the green circular fullscreen button in the top left corner of the window.

2. The size of the app window will shrink. Without letting go of the trackpad or mouse button, drag the window to the left or right of the screen depending on the side you want it to occupy. Release the mouse or trackpad button to position the app window.

3. On the other side of the screen, click on another window that you want to use. Both apps will now be displayed side by side and you can proceed to use them simultaneously.

How To Enter Split View Mode Using Mission Control?

Photo by Philipp Pistis

Here’s a third alternative method that would allow you to use two apps side by side on your Mac:

1. Press the Control + Command + F keys at the same time or click on the green full screen button to place one of the windows you want to use in full screen mode.

2. Press Ctrl + Up or the F3 key on your device to access Mission Control. Alternatively, you can launch Mission Control from the Applications tab, by double-clicking the surface of your Magic Mouse with two fingers, or by swiping up on your trackpad with three or four fingers.

3. The app window you placed in full screen will show up in the bar at the top of your screen. Select the second app window you want to use, then drag and drop it on the window you want it to split screens with.

4. Mission Control will show you that your full screen window has now been split into two.

5. Click on the split screen window to complete the process and start using both apps in Split View mode.

What To Do If You Can’t Activate Split View?

Photo by Tranmautritam

So you’ve followed the instructions above but you’re still not able to split your screen? There are a few reasons why this might be occurring; you just have to troubleshoot the problem to ensure your i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed.

Before you get into anything, you need to confirm that the app you’re trying to split is not in full screen mode because it won’t work that way. You need to minimize the window first before the process can work.

The most common reason why you might be unable to activate Split View mode is that you haven’t enabled the necessary settings required on your Mac. You’ll need to follow the steps below to initiate the right settings.

If you’re working with macOS Monterey (12.6) and older versions:

  1. Head to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
  2. From the list of options, select Mission Control.
  3. Scroll through to find the Displays have separate Spaces option and turn it on.
  4. Exit Settings and repeat the steps for splitting your Mac screen.

If you’re running macOS Ventura (13.2) or later versions:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu and click on System Settings.
  2. Scroll down the menu sidebar and select Desktop & Dock.
  3. Scroll through the right-side menu that appears, locate the Displays have separate Spaces option, and make sure it’s turned on.
  4. Exit Settings and try to enter Split View mode again.

If you can’t find the Displays have separate Spaces option in your Mission Control Menu, it could be because you’re not running macOS 10.11 or later versions so you’ll need to update your system first.

You can check what OS version you’re currently using by clicking on the Apple icon in the menu at the top left corner of your screen and choosing About this Mac. To update your OS, simply click on the Software Update button you see on the screen.

You don’t have to restart your Mac for the change in settings to take effect, you can just activate split screen and start using it right away.

Keep in mind that some apps do not support Split View. So if you’ve followed the troubleshooting guide and an app is still refusing to render in split screen mode, it’s probably because the feature doesn’t work with the app.

P.S. – If you’re using antiquated versions of macOS like Yosemite or older than El Capitan, there’s simply no way you’ll be able to apply the Split View feature on your computer.

How To Customize Split View on Mac?

Photo by Caio

If you’re not satisfied with how your app windows look in split screen, there are a couple of tweaks you can make to get them to suit your preferences better.

To change the size of one or both app windows, simply click on the border between the two windows, then hold and move it farther to the right or left depending on the width you recant each window to have.

If you would rather view an app on the right side of your screen and vice versa, you can switch the window’s position by dragging your cursor to the top of the screen to reveal the window’s title bar. Click and hold it, then drag it to the side of the screen you prefer.

While using your Mac in split screen mode, you will notice that the menu bar no longer appears on the screen as usual. This doesn’t mean it has gone forever, it’s only been hidden temporarily to maximize screen space.

To bring the menu bar out of hiding, move your cursor to the bottom of your screen and it will pop up again. But if you happen to be using macOS Monterey, you can turn this option off so your menu bar is shown at all times.

Here’s how:

  • Head to System Preferences
  • Scroll to Dock & Menu bar
  • From the menu that appears, deselect Automatically hide and show the menu bar on full screen and you’ll be good to go.

How To Exit Split View Mode on Mac?

Photo by Deepu B Iyer

When you’re done multitasking and ready to return to having your entire screen occupied by one app alone, you can get out of Split View mode. There are five methods you can use to accomplish this:

1. The easiest and fastest option is to click the Esc button. This will cause your windows to instantly revert to normal. However, this method might not work in every instance because some apps use this key to execute some other function.

2. Manually resize each app window by moving your cursor to any of the borders until you see the dual-arrow icon, then click and drag the icon to expand the window to full screen size.

3. The third way to exit split mode is by moving your cursor to the top of the screen of either window. Once there, you can choose to click the red button to close the window or the green one to exit full screen.

Naturally, the second app window will disappear but you can return to it using your normal switching method or by pressing the F3 button on your keyboard.

4. Another option is to open Mission Control by clicking Ctrl + Up Arrow on your keypad or by swiping up the trackpad with three fingers. Next, direct the cursor to the mini screen that displays the windows you’re currently using in Split View, then click on the inwards facing arrow button to move them apart.

5. The final method you can utilize is to click the x button at the top left of the window you don’t need anymore. This will close it and open the second window in full screen mode.

P.S. – These exit options are also applicable when you want to swap out one of the apps you’re using. Simply follow your preferred step to stop splitting your screen then redo the process for activating Split View for the new app.

What Is The Keyboard Shortcut For Split View on Mac?

Photo by Vera Cires

You can shorten the process of launching split screens by using handy keyboard shortcuts. Here’s how:

1. Press Ctrl + Command + F to put your desired app in full screen mode.

2. Click the F3 button or use the gesture or keyboard method discussed above to open Mission Control.

3. Choose the second app you want to use then drag and drop it into the app that’s already in full screen, then click on the newly tiled apps to begin using your split screen.

If you’re running macOS Catalina or more recent editions, you can shorten the process even further by creating your own dedicated shortcut that you can use to instantly launch Split View anytime.

Follow these steps:

1. Head over to System Preferences and click on Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts.

2. Press the ➕️ button under the list view. You’ll see a pop-up window prompting you to add details for your desired shortcut.

3. Type the command Tile Window to Left of Screen in the first field, then enter the key combinations you want to use for your shortcut.

Once your shortcut is created, you simply have to press those key combinations to place the window you’re currently working on to the left side of your Mac’s screen. Then you can choose a second app to be added to the other side of your split screen.

How To Disable Split Screen on Mac?

Photo by Antoni Shkraba

If for some reason you no longer want to be able to enter Split View mode on your Mac, you can deactivate the feature. Here’s how:

1. Go to your settings by clicking System Preference from the Apple menu.

2. Select Mission Control and uncheck the Displays have separate Spaces option. Your split screen function will be disabled.

If you use macOS Ventura and above:

1. Go to your System Settings and click Desktop & Dock.

2. Scroll down the menu and toggle off the Displays have a separate Spaces button under Mission Control.

For those running macOS Monterey and earlier versions:

1. Go to System Preferences under the Apple Menu.

2. Select Mission Control from the options, scroll down and uncheck the Displays have a separate Spaces box.

You’ll need to restart your system for these changes to take effect.

How To Split Screen In 4 On Mac?

If two windows are not enough for you, feel free to take things a step or two further by splitting your Mac Screen into three or four windows that you can use at the same time.

All you have to do is follow the procedure for entering Split View mode, then manually resize the windows for the apps you’re using side by side by pulling at their edges. Adjust their sizes to create space for two additional windows, then open the two extra apps you want to use.

That’s it! You can now scroll between the four windows to use them.

P.S. – Your screen’s display might not be large enough to fit in this many windows if you’re using a MacBook Pro, so you may have to content yourself with using fewer apps simultaneously.

How To Split A Mac Screen Without Full Screen?

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva

Entering Split View mode will make your Mac render two windows at once in full screen view. If you don’t like the full screen experience because you want uninterrupted access to your top menu bar or the ease of quickly navigating from one tab to the other, you have the option of exiting full screen mode.

Simply drag the corners or sides of your app windows to resize or move them to a different position. Although this view won’t be as aesthetically pleasing, it will allow more room for customization than the default full screen mode.

Can You Use Third-Party Apps To Split Screens on Mac?

The official Split View feature by Apple is pretty good and gets the job done effectively. However, it’s not perfectly suited to everyone’s needs mostly because it doesn’t offer a lot of customization options.

Luckily, there are many third-party split screen software out there that you can use for greater control over the process and more extensive features. Some great examples of split screen apps for Mac that you can check out include:

  • Magnet
  • Rectangle
  • Moom
  • Spectacle
  • MaxSnap

These apps have a lot to offer in terms of features, function, and performance. They also range from free to paid solutions so you can always find something that matches your budget and requirements.


Splitting your screen will allow you to get more out of your Mac and increase your productivity. It will also make your workflow more agreeable and save you from the annoyance of shuttling back and forth between windows.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully activate Split View Mode and start using two apps side by side on your Mac.

11 Best Scrivener Alternatives

Best Scrivener Alternative

Writing isn’t easy. It’s a special craft that takes time to hone and perfect. Thankfully, there are many kinds of applications that can make the writing process easier as they help you be better and more efficient every day, while staying organized and focused.

Read more

10 Best Free Grammarly Alternatives 2023

Best Free Grammarly Alternative

Grammatical and spelling mistakes can make you look sloppy and unprofessional. That’s why it’s so important to use a tool like Grammarly. Not only does it help you review grammar but also spelling, punctuation, and other things to improve your work.

Read more