I've switched to Mavericks and i wonder if the behaviour i'm seeing is a bug or a "feature".

It used to be that whenever you created spaces you could assign apps to a specific space, say Mail.app to space #2. In 10.8 that functionality was lost, but apps seem to 'remember' the space they were closed in. So if i opened Mail.app, dragged it to space #2, switched back to space #1 and open Mail.app again it would still open in space #2.

Unfortunately this seems to be broken in Mavericks. If i try the same thing the app simply opens in the space where i'm currently in, so i need to drag the app to the correct space again. Very frustrating.

Does anyone know a solution to this problem or should i try to file it as a bug with Apple?

  • Re the bounty I added, to describe my problem: I have the main space, and to the right, a space for a fullscreen Parallels instance, and to the right of that, a space for Mail. However, Mail always opens 1 to the right of the main space (not 2), and Parallels always opens to the right of Mail, instead of in between the main space and Mail space. This is in spite of rearranging the spaces. Mavericks does not have the "Assign to..." dock menu item, and apps do not appear to remember their last assigned space. "Automatically rearrange spaces" is turned off.
    – David
    Mar 18, 2015 at 12:30
  • @DavidM - fullscreen apps always go to the right of any existing Spaces. Only 'fix' is to not use system fullscreen, just maximise instead.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 20, 2015 at 8:03
  • @Tetsujin There used to be a way to change that - has that been removed in mavericks? I'm sure I remember that in early versions of Spaces, it would remember when apps were assigned to specific spaces - eg, App Foo would always be immediately to the right of the desktop, because that was where it was assigned. App Bar would be to its right, etc. And you could rearrange it would remember the layout. Am I crazy, or is that either broken or gone now, or is there another way to do it?
    – David
    Sep 20, 2015 at 10:25
  • It works as it used to - for everything except full-screen apps, so long as you remove the auto-rearrange option & 'separate spaces' if you use multi-monitors. Full-screen really just breaks the paradigm, unfortunately.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 20, 2015 at 10:46

3 Answers 3


Since Lion you assign app to a Desktop/space from the dock.

Doing this, app will open in the designated space regardless of the space you actually are.

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  • 1
    This doesn't seem to work on Mavericks. Was it removed again or is there a new way? Dec 2, 2014 at 11:54
  • How is this the accepted answer? These menu items do not exist in Mavericks, and the question title is clearly about Mavericks.
    – David
    Mar 17, 2015 at 12:15
  • 1
    These menu items appears only when you have more than one space. Mar 17, 2015 at 12:25

I had the same problem and I think I solved it.

Within System Preferences goto Mission Control uncheck "Automatically rearrange Spaces based on their recent use"

Mission Control

  • Unfortunately in Mavericks this doesn't solve the problem either. It stops rearranging spaces, but it doesn't make apps re-open in the space they last used.
    – David
    Mar 17, 2015 at 12:16

Mavericks had an issue at one time where the Dock would mess up spaces.

I used to use an Applescript, saved as an app, to relaunch it…

quit application "Dock"

That's all it needs.
Takes a few seconds to relaunch itself, then should behave again afterwards, til next time.

Other things to try, if that's not the fix...

Make sure you don't have 'Displays have separate Spaces' or 'Automatically rearrange…' checked in System Prefs > Mission Control


  • Go through all the apps that are not behaving…

  • Set their space to none & quit.

  • Reboot.

  • Switch to the 'correct' Space.

  • Launch your app.
  • Set to 'This Space' again.

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