Mac users now have a window snapping feature built directly into Mac OS, which allows users to easily snap windows to aspects of the screen or against one another. This offers a nice way to quickly and precisely align windows, and it’s more or less the Mac equivalent feature of window snapping from the Microsoft Windows world.
Window snapping is a helpful but fairly subtle feature, we’ll show you how it works in MacOS.
You’ll need a modern version of Mac OS system software to have the window snapping feature introduced in Sierra, anything beyond 10.12 will include the ability natively and not require any third party apps or utilities. Earlier versions of MacOS do not have the feature but could rely on third party utilities to gain similar functionality if desired.
How to Use Window Snapping on Mac
Window snapping on the Mac will snap windows to any of the following targets: edges of other windows, the menu bar, the top of the Dock (if visible), and the sides of the screen.
- With several windows open on the Mac display, grab one and drag it against a snap target
- You’ll “feel” the dragged window snap to place, repeat with additional windows as desired
The window snapping ability in MacOS is a bit more full featured than what is offered in the Windows world, with a broader range of snap targets.
It’s one of those features that’s best tried out yourself than explained, but the brief demonstration video below shows the MacOS window snapping feature in action:
You can snap however many windows together that you can fit on screen, regardless of their size. If you’re using window snapping on the Mac specifically to hold two windows side-by-side, you might appreciate the split view feature on Mac OS too, which is aimed at dual-panel usage.
Disabling Window Snapping in Mac OS
While you can’t completely turn off window snapping, you can temporarily disable window snapping in Mac OS with a keystroke action when moving windows around on the screen.
To temporarily disable window snapping, hold down the Option key when you’re dragging and moving windows around.
Holding Option key will prevent the window being dragged from snapping to any on screen element. Do be aware that when dragging windows with Option held and window snapping disabled it’s fairly easy to accidentally send a window off screen which can be a bit of it’s own nuisance requiring moving back onto the display, and sometimes requiring the off-screen window in question to be resized.
For users with older versions of MacOS who want a window snapping ability, the free utility BetterTouchTool will fit the bill, and there are several other tools that can accomplish similar functionality as well.