How to Use Split Screen on a Mac

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Matthew M. White
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If your work or hobbies require access to multiple applications simultaneously, you will greatly benefit from using Apple's Split View feature. Entering Split View mode means you can have two apps open side by side. This can be useful for dragging and dropping text and images between apps and helping reduce distractions.

In this article, we will show you how to use Split View on macOS and iPad OS. Next, our FAQ section will include things to try if Split View isn't working.



How to Use Split Screen on a Mac

To access Split View through macOS Catalina or later, follow these steps:

  1. Hover your mouse over the green icon at the top left of an application window. Or long press it.
  2. From the menu, choose "Tile Window to Left of Screen" or "Tile Window to Right of Screen". The window will then fill that half of your display.
  3. Choose another app to fill the other half of your screen by clicking on it.

To access Split View using macOS Mojave, Sierra, High Sierra, or El Capitan, the steps are slightly different. Here they are:

  1. Long-press the green full-screen button at the top left of an app window. The window will shrink as you hold down the button.
  2. Continue to hold and drag the app to any side of your screen.
  3. Release the button to fill that half of your monitor.
  4. Click on another application window to fill the second half.

Work in split view

Here are some tips for using Split View effectively:



Exit split view

Do the following once you're ready to return to the standard view:

  1. Hover your pointer over the top of your screen to display the window options.
  2. To exit Split View, in any window, click the green fullscreen button.
  3. The other application window will switch to a full screen view.

Additional FAQs

How to Fix Split View on a Mac?

Here are the things you need to consider to get Split View working on your macOS or iPadOS.

Is your version of macOS or iPadOS compatible?

Split View was introduced with the release of OS X El Capitan (version 10.11) in 2015. Since then, all versions of macOS support this feature. Chances are you are running a compatible version, however, check:

1. At the top left of your screen, click on the Apple logo.

2. Choose "About This Mac".

3. Check if the version is 10.11 or above.

On your iPad, you need to be running iOS 11 or later. Follow these steps to check:

1. Open "Settings".

2. Go to “General” then “About”.

3. The version will be displayed on the "Software Version" line.

Enable the "Screens have separate spaces" setting

Make sure the "Screens have separate spaces" setting on your Mac is turned on. To do this:

1. At the top left of your screen, click on the Apple logo.


2. Select "System Preferences".


3. Click on “Mission Control”.


4. Make sure the “Screens have separate spaces” box is checked.

5. Now restart your Mac and try again.

On your iPad, the "Multitasking" options are enabled by default. Try resetting them by doing the following:

1. Open "Settings".

2. Choose “General” then “Multitasking”.

3. Disable and then re-enable the "Multitasking" switches.

And to remove all possible conflicting settings, use “Reset All Settings”. Follow the steps below to do so:

1. Open "Settings".

2. Click on “General”, “Reset”, then “Reset all settings”.

3. Now restart your iPad and try again.

Try updating the app

Is the application you are trying to use in Split View up to date? If not, that could be the reason for its failure. To update an app from the Mac App Store, go to the App Store then to the “Updates” section to update an app.

If you're using a third-party app, follow these steps to update it:

1. Open the app you want to update.

2. In the menu at the top, click on the name of the application.

3. Select “Check for Updates” then “Install Update”.

4. Restart your Mac and try again.


To update an app on your iPad:

1. Launch the App Store.

2. At the top of your screen, tap your profile icon.

3. Scroll through pending updates and release notes. To update an app, tap "Update" next to it. Or tap "Update All".

4. Restart your iPad and try again.

Two views for the price of one

Apple's Split View feature is a great alternative to connecting a separate display when you don't need a lot of screen real estate. This mode can help with productivity and concentration, as you'll only see the apps you need and no other distractions.

Entering Split View mode is easy on Mac computers and iPads. You basically choose which half of your screen you want either app to fill. And to exit, tap one of the apps to fill the entire screen.

How do you think you will benefit from Split View? Let us know in the comments section below.

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