How to use Split View with OS X El Capitan

BY Osas Obaizamomwan

Published 4 Oct 2015

Doing two things at once doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. Multitasking on OS X El Capitan has just been made a lot easier thanks to the addition of Spilt View. Like the names denotes, you can now place two applications side-by-side in Split View and work on them simultaneously. So, next time you are transferring values from an Excel sheet into an email, you can place those applications side-by-side for much quicker workflow.

How to Use Split View with OS X El Capitan

Enabling Split View may not be as obvious as some would like. Gone is the green + icon to maximize the size of windows. Instead, the icon has been replaced by this:

Split View - Icon

Step 1. Enabling Split View

If you tap on the green maximize icon, the current application will open in fullscreen. But to enable split screen, you’ll want to tap and hold the icon and move it to one side of the screen. You must continue to hold on the green button while moving the window around. The side that you are moving it to will be shaded in blue. Slide the window anywhere in this area and your computer will automatically resize it proportionally to the shaded area.

Split - One Side

Step 2. Adding Second Window

Once the first window snaps to the shaded area, the second half of the screen will be available. If you have windows open, those will appear in the second half of the screen.

Split View - Options

Simply click on the window that you want added to Split View. The window will automatically jump into the empty space. Below, you’ll see that I have Messages and Google Chrome open in Split View mode.

Split View

Step 3. Resizing Windows

You’re windows do not need to be split evenly down the middle. If you want to resize a window, move the thin divider in the middle to the left or right to shrink a side. Please note, that some applications have a minimum size and cannot be shrunk down. When you are resizing a window, the selected item on the right will be blurred.

Move Window

When you are done resizing, let go of the divider. Your newly sized apps will be shown in Split View.

Step 4.

To exit Split View, tap on the green icon again. Pressing the escape key will only work when you have one item in full screen mode. And this is where closing out of Split View can get clunky. When you have two windows split and you close one, the other Window will automatically jump to full-size. You then have to either close the window out, or hit escape to exit fullscreen. This can get pretty annoying if you use Split Screen often.

Split View via Mission Control

You can also launch split screen through Mission Control. This method is really only useful if you have multiple desktops using the Split View option. Tap the Mission Control key on your keyboard. In Mission Control, drag a window up to the top and drop it inside of the small preview of another open window. You Should see a small + icon inside the thumbnail. Now, when you switch to that desktop, your windows will already be split.

Mission Contol - Split

Check out our hands-on video to get a better idea of how to use the feature:

Split Screen is a really great addition to OS X El Capitan, but it could still use some refinements. Double tapping on a window to snap it to one side could be a much better shortcut. Also, having the ability to split windows horizontally would be really helpful. Hopefully, Apple continues to improve on this new feature.

Let us know what you think about Split View in the comment section.