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How to do split screen on Mac

In today’s tutorial, you will find out how to split screen on Mac into a few working areas.

I am sometimes puzzled at Apple. It is a brilliant company, no doubt about it, but occasionally their software lacks basic functionality. An example? No problem! The icons on iPhone home screen. You cannot put them where you want, they always follow each other without allowing empty space between. So annoying.

Another example? Yes, splitting screen and creating working areas on Mac. You need to manually drag and adjust each window separately. On Microsoft PCs, however, all you have to do is to use some keyboard shortcuts to perfectly split the screen.

Luckily, there is a way to sort this problem and perfectly split screen on Mac. All you have to do is to install Magnet (the app is compatible with OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later.

Splitting screen into working areas on Mac

#1 Install Magnet

Magnet is a fantastic, small program available on App Store for around one buck that solves this program once and for all. Grab it from iTunes:

Download Magnet

or alternatively open App Store and search for ‘Magnet’.

Magnet will only take 3MB of your hard drive and has got tons of positive reviews. All in all, I think that $1 is a decent price for an app that will make your life easier and increase productivity.

When you install Magnet, make sure you will allow it to control your computer. You can find the option in question in System Preferences/Security & Privacy/Privacy Tab. The checkmark next to Magnet should be checked as indicated below:

Magnet privacy settings

#2 Check Magnet preferences

Once the app is installed, launch it and on the top of your screen, you will see a new icon. Click on it and go to Preferences:

Magnet preferences

I am not sure what are the default values are, I think it makes sense to make sure that the program starts at login. The second option, snapping windows by dragging, can also be useful.

Magnet preferences

#3 Learn a few shortcuts

As you have seen on the previous screen, Magnet offer some useful shortcuts. I think they are well-chosen but if you prefer something different, you can go back to Preferences and edit each shortcut by clicking on it and typing new combination. Here are a few shortcuts I remember and use daily:

  • Shift+Option Key + Enter = Full screen
  • Shift+Option Key + Arrow Keys = Half of the screen (Left, Top, Right and Bottom depending on the key pressed)
  • Shift+Option Key + U, I, K, J = Quarter of the screen (quite useful combination, U triggers top-left, I top-right, K bottom-right and J bottom-left)

Here is the same information in form of a screenshot:

Magnet shortcuts

Last very useful Mac shortcut you should probably know is Command+Tab. This will allow you to select any of the open apps. So in the first step, you do so, and then use Magnet shortcut to put it where you want 🙂

Imagine I have got three apps open (Chrome, Skype and Spotify) and want to have Chrome on the left, Skype in the right-top corner and Spotify in the right-bottom corner. I press Command+Tab to select Chrome and then Shift+Option Key+Left Key. Then Command+Tab to select Skype, and Shift+Option Key+I to put it in the corners. Lastly, Command+Tab to select Spotify and Shift+Option Key+K to put it in the corner. You have the idea.

That is all. Now, when working and having a few windows open at the same time, you can easily split the screen and quickly rearrange them into the preferred location. Make the app you want to rearrange active and then use the shortcut to put it into desired space. If you do not remember shortcuts, click the Magnet icon on top of the screen and use the space from the menu. I think that you should really spend a minute every day learning the shortcuts so after a week using them will be your second nature and you will save a lot of time.

How to split screen on Mac – video tutorial

I have decided to record a short video tutorial about this topic and put it on YouTube. Please have a look before if you prefer this format:

I hope you have found it useful and now know how to split screen on Mac computers. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.

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