I'm new to Mac and have the following wish:

I would like to have one instance of an application (app1) on space1 and another application (app2) on space2. When I pres press CMD-Tab I see every open programs in every space. For example I'm in space1 and press CMD-Tab then I can switch between app1 and app2. But I would like to see only app1 when I'm in space1 and no app2 when I'm in space1.

Is there some setting where I can change this behavior?

Thanks for your help.


5 Answers 5


I'm afraid you cannot do that, since the Dock (where this menu belongs) cannot be distinctly used on each space.

But, what it might be handy is to disable the option:

"When switching to an application, switch to a space with open windows for the application" from System Preferences > Expose & Spaces > Spaces.

That way, even if you select an application which is not present in the current space, you wont be moved to that space.

After all its just a matter to get used of it. After a while, even you'll be ok with it or you'll just deactivate spaces at all (the latter happened to me).

  • Good to know and sad that my wish option is not possible. Jun 5, 2011 at 6:14

You can assign an application to a particular space (sometimes called desktop). Go to some space -- perhaps an empty one. In the dock, right click on the icon for your app 1. You will see a pop-up which includes options. Select options, then "assign to this space".

Move to a different space with Mission Control. Repeat the process for app 2 (right click on the icon in dock, select options, assign to this space).

Move between the two apps by choosing the assigned space for whichever one you want to use. You will see one but not the other in the corresponding space space. You can configure how you move between spaces in system preferences.


Well, there's nothing built into the OS that will help you, but it is possible. Dock Spaces and Hyperspaces are two great products that extend Spaces and offer some of the function you desire.

  • sadly "Hyperspaces does not run on more recent versions of Mac OS X, and is no longer supported"
    – jjrr
    Apr 7, 2022 at 18:13

It might not be relevant to you anymore, but possibly to others searching for the same functionality.

In any case, Command Tab Plus does exactly what you were requesting, i.e. it isolates spaces. Unfortunately it is not free, but there is a free trial version.


HyperSwitch is still in Beta, but I've been using it, and it is stable most of the time (sometimes I need to restart the Mac for it to work again, but it is not common).

Really ill-designed, poor behaviour.

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