At last, Apple delivers a modern way to get your windows under control with El Capitan’s new Split View
Getting windows exactly where you want them has long been a bugbear in OS X. Apple’s best solution to date was to make windows resizeable from any edge or corner, leaving plenty of room for tools such as Moom (see our tutorial in MF288) to offer more powerful window management features. Yet for years now, Microsoft Windows has made it easy to quickly make apps fill specific regions of the desktop without having to buy additional software.
At last, El Capitan adds something similar, and it works in a fluid fashion that you’d expect of OS X. You can split two apps between the left and right halves of the screen by clicking and holding on a window’s green button and dragging to either side of the desktop. When you let go, your other windows arrange themselves, Mission Control-style, in the other half, waiting for you to click the one you want to fill it. The method for starting this sequence is a little tucked away, but at least you’re unlikely to trigger it by accident, and it shouldn’t interfere with OS X’s existing shortcut for moving windows between workspaces by dragging them to screen edges.
With the screen split between two apps, dragging the dividing line between them adjusts how much of the screen is apportioned to each. If one of your apps is already in full-screen mode, you simply drag another window to the top of the screen to open Mission Control, then drop it onto the existing workspace to split that workspace between the two apps.
These neat shortcuts may be sufficient for most people, but they still leave room for apps such as Moom to offer personalisation. It’s also possible to set the menu bar to hide, like you already can for the Dock, to free up screen space. Even with these tools available, you might lose track of the pointer, so you can shake it around to make it temporarily grow bigger and help you spot it. Gimmicky? Well, who hasn’t done that at some point!
On the subject of full-screen apps, to date Mail has worked poorly when working that way because its composition panel got in the way of your other messages. In El Capitan, when you click outside of the panel it slides to the bottom of the screen for you to access other messages, and you can click on the panel or drag things onto it to bring it back into focus. The panel also supports tabs so you can compose several messages at once.
El Capitan’s Split View brings a whole new way to manage your workspace on your Mac, and we can’t wait to use it fully.