Technology News, Tips and Tricks

How and Why to Use Split Screen on Mac

Everyone who uses a computer these days is a multi-tasker. Perhaps you’re old enough to remember the times when desktops and laptops could only operate with one window at a time because they didn’t have much memory?

Today, we have more computer power in our laptops than was used to launch space ships into space.

One of the key features of these modern computers is just how easy they make multitasking, which brings us to the ability to split-screen on Mac. This is an especially useful feature if you have just purchased a new 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Here’s how to split-screen on Mac.


What is Split-Screen?

Split-screen is the ability to have two windows open at once on your desktop, generally equally split, side-by-side. It’s a great way of multi-tasking and working on two projects at once.

It’s also a great way of making it easier to work on one task at once. Imagine you have interviewed someone for a magazine or a report and you are trying to type it up. 

Working on One Task with Multiple Programs

Split-screen allows you to have a Word or Pages document open on one half of the screen where you can transcribe the interview and the recording of the interview in the other window.

This means that you don’t have to keep minimizing your Word document to pause the interview, which can get irritating and might mean you lose your place and have to backtrack.

If you also want to watch television and make notes on your favorite show or it’s an educational show and you need to pay close attention then split-screen is for you.


The possibilities for multitasking with split-screen are endless. You can talk to friends using Facebook Messenger on a web browser while also watching television or changing the song on Spotify or Apple Music.

You could even download the Kindle App and read while talking to friends or read and watch Netflix at the same time.

Those Magic Traffic Lights

Before starting to learn how to split screen on a Mac, be sure to install the latest version of Mac OS.

Having the most up-to-date version of Mac OS will ensure you have access to all the correct features and will help to keep your computer secure from viruses and hackers. The latest version is Mac OS 10.15 – Catalina.

After you have done this, the way to get split-screen to work on Macs is to make use of the three traffic light buttons in the top left-hand corner of your window: one red, one amber, and the other green.

Hold down on the green button or hover your cursor over it. When you do this you should be given three options.

The first is to enter full-screen mode so that the dock and menu bar are both no longer visible. The other two options are to move your screen to take up half of the space of your screen, either to the left or the right.

Once you have selected which option you want, your window will only take up half the screen. The other half of the screen will appear blank allowing you to select one of your remaining windows to fill up this space. Now you can use two programs at once!

Compatible Split-Screen Programs

Remember that not every program is compatible with split-screen. Some programs such as VPN servers or smaller programs may not work with split-screen.

Also do note that you will need to have the programs open first before you can select them in split-screen. If it’s a program that isn’t in your dock and you want to use split-screen often, consider pinning the program to your dock to save yourself time.

Exiting Split-Screen

When you finish using one program, you will no doubt want to exit split-screen so that your screen is not too cluttered.

In order to do that, click on the program you want to continue using and hover and press the green button again. You need to press the exit full-screen option. The other window you are using will disappear back into the dock.

The window that you want to keep will then fill up the whole screen once again. You need to use this process and start the entire split-screen process again if you want to change one of the windows.

Remember you can also readjust the size of windows by pressing on the corners and selecting the diagonal arrows to manually arrange your windows so that perhaps one window fills three-quarters of the screen and other fills the other quarter.

Split-Screen on Mac Is Great For Multi-Tasking

If you are thinking about multi-tasking on a Mac computer then you can’t go wrong with the split-screen view. It enables you to work on two documents at the same time or to transcribe an interview without having to continuously switch from one program to the other.

You can also reply to Facebook messages or emails while watching a documentary or a film on Netflix.

Using split-screen is also dead easy. You simply have to select and open the windows you want. Then you can proceed to press the green button – one of the three traffic lights – in the top left-hand corner. You will then be presented with the option of splitting the screen to the left or the right.

If you are interested in learning more about the split-screen on Mac be sure to check out the rest of our site.

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