Is there any way in Mountain Lion to preserve the order of spaces in Mission Control?

I use four different spaces for four fullscreen apps, and I like to keep them in a certain order so that I know where they all are in relation to each other.

The problem is that once these apps are quit, their spacial arrangement is lost, so I find that I'm always manually reordering them into the arrangement I like (since by default a new fullscreen app is tacked onto the end of the list of spaces).

In Snow Leopard and earlier (before Mission Control), it was possible to "bind" specific apps to specific spaces, so you could do things like always have Safari open in Space 2. With Mission Control, I don't see any way to do something equivalent.

3 Answers 3


What Jay said in a comment... Uncheck the second box here:

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  • 1
    I have that unchecked already. The problem isn't that the spaces are getting rearranged as I use them, it's that their order isn't preserved once I quit the apps.
    – daGUY
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 22:08

It's possible to assign apps to spaces in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, but it does not work for full screen apps (bold italic emphasis mine in the Apple support document below).

Decide which spaces to use with particular apps

If you work in multiple spaces, you can assign apps to particular spaces.

  1. Press and hold an app’s icon in the Dock. You may have to first open the app from Launchpad to see its icon in the Dock.
  2. From the shortcut menu that appears over the icon, choose one of these:
    To have the app open only in the current space, choose Options > This Desktop. From now on the app will open in the current space; if you are working in a different space, the app’s space scrolls into view.

    This setting doesn’t apply to full-screen windows, which always appear in their own separate spaces.

You may have a better solution in the paid app TotalSpaces.

  • 1
    I think you also need to uncheck "Automatically rearrange spaces based on most recent use" in the Mission Control prefpane. Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 20:49
  • Thank you Jay Thompson. What an evil, evil default. First they have you use Cmd<- and Cmd-> to move between workspaces. Then, once you have things layed out left to right as you want them, they (seemingly randomly) shuffle those workspaces with this evil functionality. This should be its own question and yours the top accepted answer.
    – kmarsh
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 20:33

Coming in 8 years late…

You cannot fix the positions of fullscreen Spaces. They don't have Space numbers & each sets up 'one to the right' of any existing Spaces. They are created as you go into fullscreen & destroyed when the window is closed or the app is quit.

'Proper' Spaces aren't destroyed, so can be kept in a set order [assuming disabling of the 'automatically rearrange' pref, as mentioned in other answers.]

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