I use my external display in tower mode. I've been using third party software ( like Moom ) to split my screen horizontally when needed. Now that El Capitan supports split screen in full screen mode, is there a way to split screen natively with two apps in horizontal split, in full screen mode.

I searched everywhere and I am able to place two apps side by side but not top and bottom. I have also tried reducing window sizes of apps so that they fit well when in horizontal split mode. But still I never get the option of putting one on top of another.

Is there any other settings I need to enable? I have enabled Displays have separate Spaces

enter image description here

  • 1
    Apple hasn't made this possible (yet). You can send feedback to Apple here. Could you please add the apps that helped you split your screen horizontally, so other users can see what helped you? Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 13:24

7 Answers 7


As implemented on iOS 9 and later, OS X 10.11 lets you split the unified full-screen view into two portrait sections with one application on the left side of the partition and a different one on the right.

enter image description here

It's pretty basic, but it also is elegantly minimal with a clear geometry with only one degree of freedom.

My hope is that as more people get used to the mechanics of this, The software can be complicated to allow us to choose a horizontal petition if we desire to work that way instead of only splitting things vertically. Especially if there are compelling apps that work together in a wide but vertically narrow window.

If you have an excellent use case where you could be more productive at your work, please consider polite activism at http://apple.com/feedback

  • 30
    My excellent use case is a monitor rotated 90 or 270 degrees into portrait mode. Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 21:43
  • 2
    My excellent use case is watching training videos while taking notes. Videos are landscape and half of my screen is basically 70% wasted space, while also squashing the video. I like the vertical split fine for some things, but this is the thing that always irks me about Apple: just provide the option for the user.
    – seeafish
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 13:25
  • so how do you do it? Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 8:07
  • Use Moom or Divvy @loekTheDreamer if you need window tiling that’s not the native left / right side split.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 12:08

I use Spectacle with following keys combinations:

alt + cmd + left key    # split window and set to left side
alt + cmd + right key   
alt + cmd + up          
alt + cmd + down        
alt + cmd + f           # full screen
  • 3
    It's best to add some supporting detail to this answer.
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 14:02
  • Please remove the link to macappstore.org which is no longer being maintained. Official homepage for the application is more than enough. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 19:45
  • Moom does this as does divvy - the former is listed by the OP since they know third party apps already do this, and is looking for native support or options (as I read it). Still +1 for the answer, maybe add it to (or vote / improve) an answer on the canonical question for macOS window managers
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 2:08

After looking into Spectacle as recommended in Nick's answer in this same question, as it is not maintained anymore as said in a note in the README.md of the project, they recommend Rectangle as an open-source alternative.

It can be installed with brew:

brew install --cask rectangle

Then it can be used with shortcuts and also dragging windows to specific limits of the screen.

  • Are there any security concerns using Recangle given it's access to control the OS? Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 22:20

Besides Spectacle mentioned by Nick, you can also split your screen with Magnet. It costs $2, but it’s available on Mac App Store.

However the same restriction of Moon also applies to Magnet: you can’t use them in full-screen mode. You will see Dock popping out. I haven’t found any third-party application doing that for full-screen mode.


BetterSnapTool has worked well for me for years


While you can't use any command to do a horizontal split you could add a new desktop to said tower screen and just portion things once while using the other desktops for the screen for w/e else you're using.

My scenario was needing to see outlook calendar and mailbox on one desktop while still having a desktop with the various chat programs I use + any full screen browsers. Thee desktops later, it's all sorted - one for chats, second for outlook and third chrome in full screen.


Not sure if this option is in El Captain but in later version you just need to hover over the plus icon on the top left of the window. If you hold options you can move the window instead of snapping it to the sides. enter image description here

  • This is defined as a split screen with a vertical boundary. A horizontal split screen would be top / bottom, correct?
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 12:11

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