Split View: Mac OS X El Capitan vs. Windows 10

One of the new features on Mac OS X El Capitan is Split View. This is similar to the Windows 10 Snap View where you can place two apps in full screen. You can actually snap up to four apps in Windows 10, but we'll just use two apps in this comparison to make it fair. Watch our video!

How to use Split View on Mac OS X El Capitan

  1. Click and hold the green button on the top left corner of an app window
  2. Drag the window to the left or right
  3. Select another app to display on the other side

How to use Snap on Windows 10

  1. Drag the window to the left or right.
  2. Select another app to display on the other side.

Overall, I think Snap on Windows 10 has a better implementation than Split View on Mac OS X El Capitan. I also find it frustrating that app windows on the Mac are moved to a different virtual desktop when exiting Split View. On Windows 10, you just drag one of the Windows down to unsnap. Apple just introduced Split View, so I'm sure there will be improvements.

What do you think of Split View on the Mac? Do you agree that Windows 10 does it better? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

  • Worst name ever. Why not Mac OS The derp?
  • There is a method to their naming scheme. It's goofy, but it works. As El Capitan is a feature of Yosemite, this is meant to signify this is a not a major update. Plus, it makes more sense than OSX 10.11.   Edit: Park name brain fart.
  • El capitan is a big rock in Yosemite National park
  • Thanks. I knew that, but typed the wrong thing.
  • Shamelessly hijacking the first post. I think that OS X's implementation of Split View is much more similar to the Windows 8 way of things (just like iOS 9 multitasking features are). Now that poeple will get used to those, perhaps Microsoft should in  the future bring the ability to have the Windows 8 style snap. But then people will complain Microsoft copied Apple. Oh well.
  • You dragged the window in 8 just as you do on 10. Only real difference is snap assist, which apple seems to be using as well. Using that green button makes Apple implementation worse, in my opinion.
  • Think Metro (Modern) apps and not desktop programs. On Windows 8.x, snapping a (full-screen) app created kind of it's own virtual desktop space where there was no interfering taskbar. That's very different from Windows 10 where the desktop snapping (present since Windows 7) got the upper hand, with Snap assist and four snaps of course. In my opinion, that's the implementation that OS X 10.11 went after.
  • On that note, snap has been available on Microsoft platforms since Vista.   That was the only saving grace of my uni PC.
  • I think it was a Windows 7 feature, although it was named Aero Snap. The only Aero feature in Vista was Aero Glass. :)
  • You can already have the Windows 8-style snap in Windows 10. Start - Settings - System - Multi-tasking Then toggle the switch next to "When I snap a window, show what I can snap next to it" to off.
  • Wow, does nobody here remember Windows 8 at all? I am not at all talking about not having Snap Assist. When you snapped two Modern/Metro apps in Windows 8, they occupied a full-screen of their own, which was independent of the Desktop. There was no taskbar, or anything. That is exactly the way OS X 10.11 handles snap. The snapped windows are a full-screen virtual desktop of their own independent of the main desktop(s). Notice how this is another "desktop" of its own rather than on the main desktop.
  • Wait, what? Are you *seriously* complaining about the Task Bar being there in your Snap View? You are aware that you can auto-hide that thing, right?   I may be misunderstanding you, though.
  • Complaining? No, why are you being so defensive when I'm only pointing out facts neutrally? I didn't say which is better. Under Windows 8, the Metro Snap helped because it left your desktop alone unlike in 7. However, even with the desktop-only Snap, Windows 10 overcomes that problem by allowing you to use Virtual Desktops, one of which could be independent of a Snap. Also, hiding the taskbar is an option, but because Modern apps were made to be immersive (or if you're using a tablet), you want the taskbar to be always there on the desktop, but when you Snap two apps to focus only on them, it should let you do that. AFAIK, you can't selectively unhide/hide the taskbar on different virtual desktops. Again, I'm not complaining about this. Apple advertises this as their invention -- "Focus on your work with full screen Screen Split!" -- which is basically a way of saying they've used the Windows 8 Snap model. Many people find this worthless, and while I'm not saying it's a killer or deal-breaker feature, it's not bad to have either. I feel that's more intuitive but that may be because I've used Windows 8 for so long.
  • No the Mac's Split View is more like a dynamic tiling manager, than just simple window snapping tool. There are a least 15 window snapping extensions you can add to the mac to get a simple snapping feature, similar to windows (or more feature rich).
  • Durka, durka?
  • Is it where apple takes an already used thing like snap (on windows) and makes it sound like its the newest thing in history - "Whoh holy shit at apple we just reinvented the wheel we call it the iWheel; bruh its made with aluminum steel and it comes in gold, rose gold, gold enough, and too gold and it cost $50,000 wow this is so revolutionary hahah no pun intended now shut up and let us take your money"
  • No. it's where people with a 'ihateallthingsapple' syndrome take the opportunity to vent their spleen and in doing so, miss the whole point of consumer choice. Relax bro, even gullible mac users like me know that microsoft have always been the originators of everything useful in the world of personal computing. Nonetheless, we are indescribably grateful for your insightful and completely unbiased take on things. But for some strange reason we are still hoodwinked into buying something we don't really want at a price we can't really afford that doesn't really do the job we want it to do. Errant, innocent babes-in-the-woods, everyone of us.
  • Apple não tem mais como inovar.
  • Faz tempo que não. Especificamente não os vejo fazer isso desde que Jobs se foi.
  • realmente, e como eles conseguiram fazer o negócio ficar tão contra-intuitivo? nem parece Apple, até eu fiquei confuso.
    PS: no aguardo de pessoas nos mandando falar em inglês
  • English, please?
  • Sure, à la Bing Translator (assume grammatical errors to be those of Bing Translator) ... Eduardo Wandscheer
    Apple no longer as innovate. Rafael Martins1
    It's been a while. Specifically I don't see them doing that since Jobs is gone. Marcos Rodrigues Carvalho
    really, and how they managed to do business be so counter-intuitive? It's not like Apple, even I'm confused.
    PS: standing by people telling us to speak in English Centrally Windows
    Inglês, por favor?
  • ROFL!!! Touche!
  • Watching Apple attempt to copy from Microsoft and failing to grasp that just grabbing something anywhere and moving it is an immigrant part of the experience is pretty pathetic. Things like this just highlight the rigidity in their thinking. Why oh why can you only resize a window using only the one corner? It's a terrible inefficiency for which there is no excuse other than "Steve said it should be like this". Of course, I'm probably holding my mouse wrong.
  • "Why oh why can you only resize a window using only the one corner?" Hasn't been true for some time.
  • Yup.
    I was about to ask the OP: "When was the last time you used OSX?"
  • But it WAS true for over 2 decades and was seriously one of the reasons I ditched the only mac I bought.  It was just so stupidly innefficient, like a LOT of their other UI crfap like having yellow/red/green balls instead of easy to undersanbd icons for the window resize stuff, and their maximize window 'feature' only enlarging the window as much as apple thinks you need rather that MAXIMIZING the fucking thing like **I** want.
  • Yes, I agree about window sizes on OS X. There's no universal way to maximize them. The green dot will sometimes enlarge it (but in the more recent versions, double clicking the title-bar does that) and at other times make it full-screen (almost always). You have to go about manually resizing the window if you want a Windows-like maximize and that's pretty lame.
  • The green button creates a full screen window. Option geen button will grow the window to max in the current desktop
  • also like that on windows I can just hold the windows key and use the arrows to snap all i want in any direction/screen.  
  • I use this every time
  • Awesome, I never realized that before thanks for the tip :)
  • Thanks, I didnt know that. Very handy.
  • Yup, and this feature has been around since Windows 7.
  • ...amen to that!
  • Please.....are you kidding me? I don't own a Mac...so I don't care. Tell me how Windows 10 compares against Windows 8 and Windows 7. OSX??? Who cares???
  • Why did you click on the article if you don't care?
  • He cares. Maybe more than is healthy.
  • ...because he is Ricardo Dawkins, that's why. =p
  • sometimes these videos come to show how "Mac OS X is not so user-friendly"
  • @Ricardo We knew you don't care, which is why we posted it. In fact, we collected all the things you don't like in life and are purposefully posting just those. Stay tuned!
  • Daniel, Love this article. This is what i was talking about. See how CrApple ALWAYS copies others, and then fool people it was all their idea????? I'm sure if you ask an iSHEEP, who had that 1st, they would tell you CrApple. That's why i HATE this EVIL comp, and those who protect them and pass on LIES for CrApple, by getting paid under the table, to make them look good, and everyone else look bad.  This is a good review, but we need this all over the net, so EVERYONE and their mother can see it. Of course, CrApple will do everything to shut it down, so people don't get the truth. But thats another story. CrApple=COPY EVERYTHING, THEN FOOL PEOPLE
  • Can you post stuff I don't care about next? I have a list...
  • LMFAO XD Good One Daniel
  • Hang in there, there is bound to be something you like =).
  • mac os x el capitan vs windows 10 hmm thats quite hard to decide (that was sarcasm) mac os x el capitan obviously (also sarcasm) FRICKING WINDOWS 10 RULES GO MICROSOFT!!! YEEEAAHHH
  • Windows 10 is superb!!!
  • hi mark (or any one can help) when i use snap in windows 10 I dont have the line in the midle how could I​ bring it ?
  • That's for tablet mode, in desktop mode it doesn't show up since it's unnecessary waste of space when you have a mouse.
  • I know that its apear in tablet mode but i think he was in desktop mode just recheck the video
  • It wont show in the desktop mode unless you drag the junction of the snapped apps.
  • You need to be in Tablet mode. However, in future update, that most likely be available in mouse/keyboard mode as well.
  • It is if you're in the preview, but it's off by default.
  • Thank you!  This always annoyed me, and didn't realize I could fix it in Settings.
  • I was wondering the same. I only see the line in tablet mode. Is he using an insider build or does it have something to do with using two store apps?
  • That's for the touch enabled devices. If your laptop doesn't support touch then you have to switch to Tablet mode to get that separator line.
  • Turn on Tablet Mode, I think.
  • Middle line shows up when you drag the junction of the two snapped apps and they resize automatically. (In desktop mode). It is always there in the tablet mode.    
  • It was introduced in the latest technical previews... You have to manually enable it on PC. That feature is flawless and should have been included on July 29, but now it's coming to everybody soon so whatever. Awesome.
  • can you tell me where to turn it on? can't find it :/ thanks!  
  • Windows + Arrow, QED.
  • QED?
  • quod erat demonstrandum quod erat demonstradum - which is what had to be proven
  • Next version of osx is called osx osds . Our shit don't stink. Oh I have a patent on that apple execs. Don't even try to use that one.
  • Well their current naming convedntions are all about landmarks, so you're more likely to see them use OSX Boston Midden or something like that.
  • Now, this is some magical™ revolution™ !
    Redmond, start your photocopiers ! Oh wait...
  • LMAO xD
  • The whole click and hold the green button thing makes Windows 10 the clear winner, dont even need to mention being able to do the same thing with keyboard, mouse and TOUCH.
  • CTRL + CMD + F works from the Mac keyboard for full screen.
  • 2-key combos are fine, but 3 are just insane and make for a confusing and often unlearnable UI.
  • Yes, you're right.  Not everyone has an IQ above 60.  My condolences, sir.
  • Yeah, one I don't understand: it is designed for Apple users, why 3 buttons? :/
  • Like ctrl-alt-del nobody knows that one.
  • Well it's supposed to be hard-to-execute combination, because it's showing task manager which average user won't mess with.
  • CTRL-SHIFT-ESC is the key combination for Task Manager in Windows. CTRL-ALT-DEL was a force-reboot command, it's just that Windows now traps the key combinaton/command and offers you options these days, and one of those options include Task Manager (in case an application is locking your computer up or something, whatever). Honestly it's ironic how so many people complain about the "hard to execute" key combinations on OSes they probably don't use and often have never used outside of Best Buy or an Apple Store and yet aren't really all that familiar with the key combinations on their own platform of choice. Windows has *more* than enough "hard to execute" key combinations. OS X is a Unix.  It's key combinations are more similar to what you'd find on a UNIX or Linux OS using *NIX conventions (as oppose to those that use CUA or more Windows-like combinations specifically so that it is familiar to Windows users migrating there). Apple did not design OS X to be the easiest transition from Windows.  THey designed it to be its own user experience.  Whether you like the key combinations or not is inconsequential.  You're either going to use it or you're not.  I'm sure there are many Mac users who use Windows and are frustrated by its key combinations, as well... Comes with the territory. A lot of the basics in usability - key combinations, how different options are surfaced in the UI by modifier keys, etc. - differ between the two OSes.  Neither one makes an effort to be like the other, and that's why OS X conventions are often alien to Windows users, and vice versa. I see so many people complain about things like the Global Menu Bar, Finder, etc. when it's a waste of time to do so.  Apple does not design OS X to make sense to Windows users.  They design OS X to make sense to those who buy a Mac and take the time to learn how to use it. Those that don't, can stay on Windows.  They aren't exactly desperate for marketshare, if their pricing strategies are any indication.
  • Full screen isn't the same as split-screen multitasking...
  • Fit and finish. This is where it hurts Windows 10.
  • Yeah. It's still totally unpolished, unstable, unpredictable and unattractive. I actually don't like the look of OSX, but at least it is very consistent. I think it is fair to say Windows 10 is still in beta. After threshold, it'll hopefully be recommendable, and by Redstone, I expect it to be darned nice. Right now, too many things work too poorly to consider it an upgrade from 8.1.
  • What drugs are you on so I can avoid them like the plague...
  • It's a weird one called "reality."  I do recommend avoiding it.  In the real world, W10 is an unfinished POS. If you drink the MS Kool-Aid, however, it's a delight!
  • As a desktop OS, Windows 10 is superior to 8.1.  Touch devices is a different story. (only because Microsoft decided not to have gestures in Edge etc.)
  • I have a new 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display (the latest 2015 model with Force Touch), and while the eye candy is nice. I must say that Windows is quite faster than Mac OS X. On this same machine Windows is extremely fast! Whether running it nativelye through Boot Camp or a virtual machine on top of OS X, regular tasks like launching apps are noticeably faster on Windows. I've noticed this with any kind of app; from a simple Store apps like OneNote to something heavier like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Yes, the trackpad experience is still better on OS X, but new machines coming out with better trackpads and Windows are doing quite a good job. I only bought the MacBook Pro to be able to do native iOS development (my 2009 Mac Mini can't handle it anymore), but Windows is certainly my main OS. Are there still a few rough edges on Windows 10? Maybe... but it is really fast, efficient, an the most beautiful version of Windows to date in my opinion.
  • Guys how do you snap four Windows in 10?
  • drag the window to any of the corners
  • I seem to only be able to snap two.
  • Are you in tablet mode?
  • If you are on a small screen it may only allow two. Try this then: WinKey + Left or Right arrow, then while the WinKey is still pressed, also hit the up or down arrow. If thatworks to put your window in a corner instead of a half, then you are supposed to be able to drag to any corner for snapping your four windows. I hope that helps.
  • Move those windows to the corner
  • Drag to a screen corner instead of a border.
  • drag the app you want to any of the 4 corner of your device .. not to the left or right
  • Via keyboard, use [Windows Key] + [Arrow Key] to traverse halves/quadrants (double up/down to maximize/minimize).
  • Except you've been able to "snap" 2 items since Windows 7, which has been out for 5 or so years. 
  • copy cat never done a great job
  • Oops, got it!
  • with windows 10 I'd like to have the possibility to drag the edge of one window and it would automatically resize the other window accordingly.
    Like in tablet mode or in windows 8.
  • That's already in the current Fast Ring Insider build, so you'll get it soon.
  • It will appear in Settings under System>Multitasking - When I resize a snapped window, simultaneously resize any adjacent snapped window. I myself was unaware of this feature so thanks for bringing this up guys! lol =p
  •   First, I use both OS's daily.  Obviously the Windows implementation is the better of the two.  However, gaining any split screen implementation in OSX 10.11 is a vast improvement from previous versions.   
  • For most of these inclusions in Apple OS I'm seeing as a welcome and beneficial improvement for those users so they can enjoy the same functionality that we do on a regular basis. =)
  • Wait a minute! How did he get that "resize bar" while in desktop mode!?
  • It's in Fast Ring, so you'll get it soon.
  • But I'm in the Fast Ring already.
  • I was trying to find out as well, that snap view split bar usually only shows in tablet mode. I always thought having it in desktop mode after you snap windows would be nice and expected that to appear in a later build, but even 10547 doesn't do that yet afaik.  
  • Ha! It does! Settings > Multitasking.
  • Good find, I assumed if or when they introduce such a feature they would force it on for all insiders and then ask feedback on the experience, not hide it in settings. Thanks for hunting it down, and happy to see it did make it to a newer build.
  • Yeah I thought too that they'd announce it or set it as default, especially since I've seen quite a bit of feedback on it.
  • So the bar is useable in desktop mode and it's a new feature of 10547?
  • Note sure exactly when it has been introduced as I didn't notice it before, but it is included in 10547.
    It's an optional feature for desktop mode which works similarly but a bit different from the one in tablet mode. They do not show a large bar between the two windows, they are displayed side-by-side like normal windows, but when you try to resize one, it then shows a larger bar similar to tablet mode, and when you're done resizing one of the window, it automatically resizes the other one to match. This is exactly what can be seen at 1:07 in the video.​
  • I'm thinking the same thing I tried to do it and it does not have the resize bar in desktop mode. So he's using a beta version and it will probably be included in the next update.
  • The Mac version was so much better.  We have these great icons that make it obvious you can dock a Window, and a whole desktop we put your special programs in afterwards.  You Windows fans are so old school.  Oh, and we invented it too.  You saw the blurry effect when resizing - it's called Window Dock (tm). Cheapskates; get a modern PC! /s
  • Who do even we need an article about that crap os? 
  • It is Mark's daily driver.  Good to hear him say Windows is better at some things though ;)
  • Both features suck, I rather use the traditional windows (in either OS) and arrange them as I see fit.
  • That would be interesting to see how to implement that on a Touchscreen.
  • I manage.
  • Seriously, this article is a piece of shit.
    You are missing out the part where on OS X you can just drag windows to top of the screen and make them full screen.
    Or you can drag another window to the top and place it on some full screen window to get split view.
    OS X's split view is way better integrated with multi-desktop and supports way more and better gestures than Windows 10. Using both since preview versions. OS X definitely feels superior to Windows, especially Windows 10. It needs bit more polish and improvements to make the experience buttery smooth.
  • You are missing out on the part where on windows you can also drag a window to the top to make it full screen. You would think that if you are supposedly using both OSs you would know that. And as far as gestures go, if you don't have a precision touchpad on windows you won't be able to use the majority of gestures. The inclusion of a precision touchpad is why MacBooks have so many gestures.
  • On Mac:  ^-CMD-F - Enter Full Screen Mode. On a 21.5 - 27" screen, the keyboard shortcut is a lot faster than dragging a window (the mouse has so much travel on those screens). Additionally, it's a TRUE full screen mode, not simply a maximized window - the two are not the same.  If you think F11 (Full Screen Mode) in IE is the same as Maximizing the Edge Window, then I don't know what else to tell you.  People are still crying for a Full Screen option for Edge, why? Most applications aren't designed to be used Maximized these days, anyways, as screen resolutions are sizes are so high and big they cannot even fill the screen up with usable content.  Ever Maximized Microsoft Word on a 22" 1080p screen?  There's no point in doing so.  The app can be fully housed in default view (100% zoom) in half the screen space or less... Some apps clearly benefit:  Large Spreadsheets, Presentations, Media Editors, etc. but the majority of consumer software just isn't designed to assume use on a screen that large. This is precicely why Microsoft implemented Aero Snap and why they now have quarter-screen snapping (which is usable on larger screens with higher resolutions, but not smaller screens with lower resolutions - IMHO).
  • hahahahaha................LMAO. Thanks for the laugh:-D. maybe you should spend some time on Win10 and learn all it can do 1st, before making a comt. CrApple=WE COPY EVERYTHING FROM OTHERS.  
  • :)) Apple copies? well if others are unable to provide good experience or ditches good stuff, someone has to take them and make them better :))) .eg: Live images: crap on Lumia, better on iphone :)))
  • www.pcworld.com/article/2988233/windows/12-el-capitan-features-that-appl...
  • More gestures? Try to use W10 touch screen
  • Touch gestures are awesome. How does the Mac compare for touch?
  • I think split view works decent in Windows 10 but was better in Windows 8. What's worse is that Microsoft touts the feature and even q the how-to. Problem is they inky show you how to do it with a mouse, on a Surface, in Tablet mode???
  • Snap mode on Windows 10 is awesome, I'm constantly using it. I do wish it could autoresize. And it really needs to keep the split proportions when changing displays, but it's so quick to implement even those issues aren't so bad.
  • OSX is crap comparing with W10. Not only OSX but W10 will improve more also
  • I like how much better use of screen real estate OS X does.  The Title bars and areas where the hamburger menu icon and stuff are on Windows looks pretty bad.  Well, the Window decorations in Windows 10 look bad period, so I guess that goes without saying. Apple's method is also friendlier to smaller screens with smaller resolutions. Windows can snap apps on a 13.3-15.6" 768p screen, but you end up with less usable area in both apps than Split Screen view on OS X using the same screen size or resolution (snapping more than 2 are out of the question as the "quarter screen sized apps" have too much window decoration and toolbar clutter to make them usable.
  • "Apple's method is also friendlier to smaller screens with smaller resolutions." You weren't making conventional sense from the start, but you just went full retard with statement. How having to move your mouse to a tiny green button concludes as "friendlier for smaller screens" compared to a whole window bar, only an iTard knows...
  • Wooo, wait a minute, I don't get the moveable split bar on Windows 10!!! I liked it in 8.1 and I miss it, what's he using????
  • The Split bar is only available on the Windows 10 Insider Preview for now.
  • I have made the update yesterday and tried the fonctionnality today... Lets say that is not a great experience as it force you to be in fullscreen mode.      
  • you can snap more than 4 with multiple monitors
  • omg i thought we was about to see a split view comparison of Mac OS X vs Windows 10 feature by feature or something lol
  • Still ones a toy and the other is a workhorse.
  • I don't care, I'm not gonna use windows 10 anyway on my macbook. I need a reliable OS not a beta. Just updated to El Capitan and it works flawlessly on my mid2010 macbook pro. better that yosemite.
  • Nice try Microsoft, but Apple does not deliver a beta OS and calls it productive like windows 10 is.
  • I had to look up the window snap feature too for El Capitan. I too am not a fan of how it works (didn't know the 2nd window went to another desktop after use ?!). I'm used to the Windows snap method of dragging the window, which probably doesn't help with trying to use El Capitan. I also prefer the Windows way of still showing the taskbar when snapping windows, El Capitain goes full screen and hides the dock.
  • Just another Stolen MS feature that Apple has decided they invented...
  • Nice try MS. But OS X does multi-desktop better!!!
  • I love my Mac and OS X, but Windows 7 and 10 implement a split view more straight-forward than El Capitan's. Only nod to El Capitan is for allowing you to resize both split windows just by adjusting one, reducing the work there.