How do I snap window on a Mac?

snap windows on a Mac
In a snap: you can divide your screen easily in macOS

I treated myself to a new MacBook Pro just before Christmas, which is the first time I’ve ever used a Mac as my main machine.

I’ve been doing my best to stop relying on the old Windows ways of doing things and tried to adjust doing things the Apple way. But if there’s one thing I’ve really struggled to adapt to, it’s the way macOS manages windows. Windows does this much, much better – there I’ve said it.

But there are ways to make the Mac behave more like Windows, especially when it comes to snapping Windows to the edge of the screen. You can do this with little-known tools built into recent versions of macOS and with a cheap app that you can purchase from the Mac App Store.

Here, then, is how to snap your Mac windows to the edge of the screen, just like you’re used to in Windows 10.

Snap window using macOS’s built-in tools

Apple introduced the ability to snap two windows to the edges of the screen, creating the so-called Split View, with macOS 10.11 El Capitan, released back in late 2015.

To enter Split View, you simply hover your mouse over the window’s full-screen button in the top-left corner of the window – it’s the green button with the two little arrows.

When you do that, you should see a little pop-up menu like the one pictured below:

As you can see, you now have the options to go full screen, tile the window to the left or the right, or move it to a secondary display (if you have one).

If you choose to tile it, you should be offered the opportunity to place the next most recent window you’ve been working with on the other half of the screen – although I find macOS can be erratic when it comes to offering these screen fillers.

Note that you don’t have to divide your screen exactly in half. A bar appears down the middle of the screen which you can click and drag to, say, devote two thirds of the screen to one app and a third to the other, like so:

Snap windows on a Mac using Magnet

If you want greater control over the placement of windows and the ability to use mouse gestures to bash windows into place, just as you can do with Windows 10, then I strongly recommend the excellent Magnet from the App Store.

This delivers one of my most-used gestures from Windows – dragging a window to the top of the screen to make it full screen.

Likewise, you can drag a window to the left to snap it to the left and likewise to the right, although dragging to the right doesn’t work if you’ve got a second screen on the right-hand side, despite what I’ve read in other reviews.

There’s a whole wealth of other options for arranging windows and each has a keyboard shortcut, which you can remind yourself of using the Magnet menu which appears permanently at the top of the screen and is captured below:

Magnet really has made me feel much more at home in macOS. If you’re struggling with the transition, it’s well worth the modest £2 investment (although it’s on a promotion at the time of writing and may be more expensive by the time you read this).

NOW READ THIS: How do I change the start-up apps on my Mac?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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