Trouble free switching to external monitor and back (OSX)
January 24, 2013 6:25 AM   Subscribe

OS X has spaces. I can assign programmes to different spaces. What I can't have (it seems) is one of those spaces/second desktops show up on the external monitor, it is always an extension of the desktop I am using. So I get a double-wide desktop A (Mac + monitor), then swipe across and get a double wide desktop B (Mac + Monitor) when I go to a different Space. I want A on my Macbook and B on my monitor.

I have a Macbook Pro (2010) and use an external monitor with it (non-apple, if that is relevant). The behaviour when plugging in the external monitor is annoying and I want to know if it is fixable. I'll try and be clear...

Is having each space show up on a different monitor even possible? Or is the second monitor always an extension of your current desktop. What drives me crazy is having to move all the windows onto the second monitor ever time I plug it in - there seems to be no 'position memory' when the monitor is plugged in and as soon as I use the Macbook without the monitor everything is reset. Using spaces seems to be the most logical method of doing this and I had assumed when I first started using the OS that it was a way of modelling having external monitors anyway.

Am I missing something obvious or is this just the way it is?
posted by Brockles to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like you might need some extra software. Do any of these hints help? Or perhaps this?
posted by epo at 6:36 AM on January 24, 2013

Best answer: This isn't what Spaces is for.

There are lots of applications that will help you do what you want: take a look at Stay, Breeze, or SizeUp.
posted by bcwinters at 6:44 AM on January 24, 2013

Unfortunately, Max OS X does not do this. On the other hand, it's possible to have the same application open in every space - right click on the icon on the dock, and under "options", select "All Desktops."

This is handy for me when working on a network config with the text editor and mapping software on the main screen, while flipping back and forth to other spaces to refer to tech docs, command terminals, web searches, etc. on the second monitor.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:00 AM on January 24, 2013

Response by poster: I'm on the Stay free trial and so far it is doing precisely what I wanted in terms of not having to reset windows.

It was annoying enough that I have gone away from Spaces for my organisation (I find side swipe way easier than cmd-tab to check things on other spaces) and moving everything back there was too much. I'll see how it goes now with that.
posted by Brockles at 10:04 AM on January 24, 2013

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