Fortnite on Your Mac at School: The Ultimate Split Screen Guide

Fortnite, the massively popular battle royale game, has taken the world by storm since its 2017 release. With over 350 million registered users as of May 2020, it‘s no surprise that many students are eager to sneak in a few rounds during the school day. But with Fortnite blocked on many school networks and strict policies around gaming, playing at school can seem impossible.

Enter split screen, a handy Mac feature that lets you game discreetly while still (sort of) paying attention in class. This guide will walk you through the technical details of setting up split screen, the risks and consequences of school gaming, and tips for responsible play. Let‘s drop into the details!

Fortnite‘s Meteoric Rise

Before we get into the how-to, let‘s set the stage with some eye-popping Fortnite statistics:

  • Fortnite generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2019, making it the top-earning game of the year (SuperData)
  • In 2020, Fortnite events saw record participation, with the Travis Scott concert drawing over 12.3 million concurrent players (Epic Games)
  • 62.7% of Fortnite players are aged 18-24, including many high school and college students (Statista)
  • Fortnite has been played in over 200 countries worldwide (BusinessofApps)

Clearly, Fortnite isn‘t just a game – it‘s a global phenomenon. And with the COVID-19 pandemic driving a massive increase in gaming, its popularity shows no signs of slowing down.

Why Students Game in School

So what drives students to risk detention or worse to play Fortnite in class? There are a few key psychological factors at play:

  1. Escapism: School can be stressful, and games provide a temporary escape into an immersive world where students feel a sense of control and accomplishment.

  2. Peer pressure: With so many students playing Fortnite, there‘s a social pressure to keep up and be part of the conversation. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a powerful motivator.

  3. Addiction: Gaming addiction is a real and growing issue. The World Health Organization now recognizes "gaming disorder" as a diagnosable condition. The thrill of Fortnite‘s intense battles and rewards system can be hard to resist.

  4. Boredom: Let‘s face it, not every class is a non-stop thrill ride. Games like Fortnite provide a tempting distraction from dull lectures and endless worksheets.

But just because the temptation is understandable doesn‘t mean it‘s wise to give in. Studies have shown that multitasking, like playing a game during class, can lead to decreased information retention and poorer academic performance.

As University of Michigan psychology professor Dr. Daniel Willingham explains, "The brain is not able to multitask. What it does is switch rapidly between tasks, and each task switch is associated with a cognitive cost. The more you switch, the less efficient you are."

Setting Up Split Screen on Your Mac

Still determined to give school Fortnite a shot? Here‘s how to set up split screen on macOS:

  1. Click and hold the green full-screen button in the top-left corner of a window
  2. Choose "Tile Window to Left of Screen" or "Tile Window to Right of Screen" from the menu
  3. Select a second window to fill the other half of the screen
  4. Adjust the divider between the windows by clicking and dragging

Split Screen Demo

Useful keyboard shortcuts for managing split screen:

  • Control + Command + F: Toggle full screen for the selected window
  • Control + Left/Right Arrow: Move focus to the window on the left or right
  • Control + Up/Down Arrow: Switch focus to the next window in that direction

If you need to quickly hide Fortnite, you can use Mission Control to create additional desktops and swipe between them:

  1. Open Mission Control by clicking the Mission Control icon in the Dock or using the Control + Up Arrow shortcut
  2. Move your cursor to the top of the screen to reveal the desktop bar
  3. Click the plus sign to the right of the desktop thumbnails to add a new desktop
  4. Drag the Fortnite window to the new desktop thumbnail to move it
  5. Swipe left or right with three fingers on your trackpad to switch between desktops

The Risks of School Gaming

While split screening Fortnite can feel like a sneaky victory, there are serious risks to consider:

  • Malware: Downloading games on a school computer can introduce malware and viruses to the network, compromising security and potentially exposing sensitive student data. In 2018, a school district in Connecticut had to shut down its entire computer network due to a Fortnite-related malware attack.

  • Disciplinary action: Many schools have strict policies prohibiting gaming on school devices or networks. Consequences can range from confiscation of devices to suspension or even expulsion for repeat offenses.

  • Legal issues: In some cases, gaming at school may even be a criminal offense. In 2019, a student in Maharashtra, India was arrested for playing PUBG Mobile in class under a law banning the game.

  • Performance impacts: Fortnite is a resource-intensive game, and running it on underpowered school computers can lead to sluggish performance and overheating. This can shorten the lifespan of school devices and impact other students‘ ability to use them for legitimate classwork.

Dr. Kardaras, addiction expert and CEO of Maui Recovery, sums it up: "Video game addiction is a real thing. I‘ve seen severe cases where kids have dropped out of school, even become violent towards their parents when games are taken away. It‘s not something to mess around with."

Responsible Gaming Habits

If you do decide to brave the risks of split screen Fortnite at school, it‘s crucial to develop healthy boundaries around gaming:

  • Set time limits: Determine in advance how much time you‘ll allow yourself to play each day, and stick to it. Consider using a timer or app to keep yourself accountable.

  • Take breaks: Periodic breaks can help prevent eyestrain, poor posture, and the mental fatigue that comes from extended gaming sessions. Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

  • Know when to log off: If Fortnite starts to feel more like an obligation than a fun pastime, it may be time to reassess your relationship with the game. Be honest with yourself about the impact gaming is having on your schoolwork, friendships, and physical health.

  • Seek help if needed: If you‘re worried that your gaming habit is veering into addiction territory, don‘t hesitate to reach out for professional help. Organizations like Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous and GameQuitters offer support and resources for problematic gaming.

As Dr. Kimberly Young, founder of the Center for Internet Addiction, advises, "Moderation is key. Games like Fortnite can be a fun social outlet, but when they start interfering with real life, it‘s time to scale back."

Tech Tips and Tweaks

If you‘re committed to making Fortnite work on your school Mac, here are a few technical tips to optimize performance and minimize disruption:

  • Adjust graphics settings: Lowering the game‘s resolution, view distance, and texture settings can significantly improve framerates on older hardware. You‘ll find these options in the Video tab of the in-game Settings menu.

  • Use a wired connection: WiFi can be spotty, especially on crowded school networks. Using an Ethernet cable will give you a more stable connection and lower ping times.

  • Opt for a gaming mouse: A dedicated gaming mouse with extra buttons can make it easier to execute complex in-game maneuvers quickly and quietly.

  • Tweak your Mac‘s settings: Disabling unnecessary visual effects and background apps can free up resources for smoother gaming:

    • Go to System Preferences > Dock and uncheck "Animate opening applications" and "Automatically hide and show the Dock"
    • Open the Terminal and run defaults write AnimateWindowZoom -bool false to disable the slow maximize animation
    • Use Activity Monitor to identify and force quit resource-hogging background processes

The Case for Gaming in Education

While gaming at school is largely discouraged, there‘s a growing movement to incorporate video games into education in meaningful ways. Proponents argue that games can be powerful tools for learning, fostering skills like problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and teamwork.

Minecraft: Education Edition, for example, allows teachers to use the popular sandbox game for lessons on everything from history to computer science. Students can explore ancient civilizations, learn to code, and collaborate on building projects, all within the familiar Minecraft interface.

Fortnite itself has been used to teach principles of physics, math, and game design. In 2020, the University of Northampton even launched an esports degree program focused on the business of competitive gaming, with Fortnite as a key case study.

As Dr. Richard Bartle, professor of game design at the University of Essex, explains, "People learn best when they‘re having fun. Games are an incredible medium for making things fun. If you get the content right, you can teach anything with games."


Splitscreening Fortnite on your school Mac can be tempting, but it‘s important to weigh the risks and prioritize your education. While games can be a fun escape and even have educational value in the right context, sneaking in gameplay during class is rarely a good idea.

If you do decide to become a scholastic Fortnite warrior, be smart about it. Use the technical tips in this guide to optimize performance and minimize disruption. Develop healthy gaming habits and don‘t be afraid to seek help if things get out of control.

Above all, remember that your education is what will carry you through life – not your Fortnite stats. Stay focused on your long-term goals, and resist the urge to prioritize fleeting pleasures over lasting success. Class dismissed!

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