How to Do Split Screen on a MacBook Air

Get a dual-monitor setup on a single laptop screen

What to Know

  • Hover your mouse over the Green Circle (full-screen button) in the left corner of an open window.
  • Click Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right Screen.
  • Click an open window on the other side of your screen to snap it into place beside your original window.

This article includes instructions on how to split-screen on a Mac computer, including how to use split-screen, add windows in split-screen, and what to do if split-screen isn't working on your computer.

Split View is only available for macOS 10.15 Catalina or later. On older versions of macOS, you’ll need to use a different method to access a similar feature, explained below. If you still can’t access it, make sure your MacBook Air’s system software is up-to-date.

What Is the Shortcut for Split Screen on Mac?

Having more than one monitor is essential if you regularly work with multiple windows or apps at the same time on your MacBook Air. However, if you don’t have access to an external monitor, macOS has a built-in solution: Split View.

Split View (or split-screen view) lets you view two apps or windows side-by-side on your MacBook screen without having to resize them or drag windows around manually. This article will teach you what you need to know about this helpful feature, including how to access it and how to swap between different apps while it’s active.

To launch Split View, follow the steps below:

  1. Hover your mouse over the Green Circle (full-screen button) in the left corner of your open window. A drop-down menu should appear.

    MacBook Air with Lifewire website open and green dot menu highlighted
  2. Click on either Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right of Screen to display your current window on the left or right side of your screen, respectively.

    MacBook Air with Lifewire website open and Tiling options highlighted
  3. Depending on what you selected, your current window will be on the left or right of the screen.

    Selecting second window in Mac Split View.
  4. On the other half of the screen, you’ll see all of your other open windows. Click the one you want to view, and it should snap into place beside the original window.

    Split view between Lifewire and Apple home pages on Google Chrome for Mac.
  5. To switch window positions, click and drag one to the left or right. The windows should swap places.

    Swapping window positioning in Mac Split View.
  6. If you’d like one window to be larger than the other, you can resize them by clicking and dragging the border between the two windows. Both windows will still fill the entire screen.

    Adjusting window sizing in Mac Split View with window border highlighted
  7. To exit Split View, hover over the top of the screen until the grey menu bar reappears. Next, hover over the green circle button and select Exit Full Screen. Alternatively, you can click the green circle button.

    MacBook Air website with Exit Full Screen highlighted

    Sometimes, exiting full screen will cause one of your windows to disappear. If this happens to you, it’s most likely because something put the window in a separate view in Mission Control. On your keyboard, tap F3 (it looks like a series of rectangles) to open Mission Control, and you should see your lost window in the bar at the top of your screen.

How to Open Other Apps in Split View

You can easily toggle between apps or open a new one while in Split View by opening Mission Control, which lets you view all your open windows, apps, and desktop spaces. With Split View active, click F3 on your keyboard to open Mission Control. You should now be able to access any app you wish.

You can also open Mission Control with the following commands:

  • Press Control+the Up Arrow on your keyboard
  • Swipe up with three or four fingers on your MacBook Air’s trackpad
  • Double-tap with two fingers on your Magic Mouse (if applicable)

Why Won't My Mac Do Split Screen?

If you can’t access Split View on your Mac, it’s most likely because your operating system is outdated.

For Macs running macOS Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, or El Capitan, you can try the following steps to enter a split-screen view:

  1. Click and hold the green circle button.
  2. The window should shrink. Drag it to the left or right side of the screen.
  3. Release the button and click a window on the other side of the screen. They should now be arranged side-by-side.

If you have macOS Catalina or later installed and still can’t access Split View, make sure it’s enabled by following the steps below:

  1. Click the Apple Menu.

  2. Select System Preferences.

    Selecting System Preferences from Apple Menu on Mac desktop.
  3. Click Mission Control.

    Selecting Mission Control from Mac System Preferences.
  4. Ensure Displays have separate Spaces is selected.

    Mission Control settings in Mac System Preferences with "Displays have separate Spaces" highlighted
FAQ
  • How do I split the screen on a MacBook Pro?

    To use Split View on a MacBook Pro, you'd use the same method as described for a MacBook Air (above). First, hover your mouse over the Green Circle (full-screen button) in the left corner of an open window, then click Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right Screen.

  • How do I split the screen on an iPad?

    To use split-screen on an iPad, tap General > Multitasking & Dock and toggle on Allow Multiple Apps. Then, open the first app, swipe up to display the Dock, and tap and hold the icon for the second app. Next, drag the second app's icon outside the Dock and release it. You'll see it in "slide over" mode overlaying the first app. Next, tap and drag the dark gray horizontal line at the top of the app downward until the app window transforms and the apps are displayed side by side.

  • How do I get rid of a split screen on an iPad?

    To remove the split screen on an iPad, tap and drag the divider until it covers the app you no longer want to appear on the screen.

  • How do I split the screen on a Windows 10 PC?

    To use a split screen in Windows 10, try the handy Snap Assist feature. With Snap Assist, drag a window to the side to “snap” it there. You'll then have room for another window to drag and snap to the empty slot.

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