The default new desktop space is named 'Desktop 1'. If you create a new one, it is named 'Desktop 2'. Is there a way to change those default names to something more meaningful?

Additionally, it looks like you can't rearrange spaces either and the 'automatically rearrange spaces based on most recent use' checkbox seems to do nothing.

  • 2
    Somehow I changed the order of the desktops: Desktop 1, Desktop 4, Desktop 2, Desktop 3. So now the de defaults don't make any sense. I don't know how I did it, but if it is possible to reorder them, it definitely makes sense to be able to rename them.
    – user8234
    Jul 23, 2011 at 10:13
  • 1
    The desktops automatically rearrange themselves based on recent use. You can disable this in the Mission Control System Preference.
    – BendiLow
    Jul 23, 2011 at 11:36
  • 2
    Really. Forcing them to be named 1,2,3,4... but then allowing them to sorted into different orders makes no sense.
    – Zombies
    Nov 19, 2014 at 18:06
  • @Zombies plus using the word "Desktop" is completely backwards, because nothing about the desktop changes, except maybe the background. I would expect a different desktop to be, well, a completely different desktop.
    – Dillon
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:50
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of How can I rename Desktops / Spaces in macOS?
    – pkamb
    Aug 23, 2021 at 19:39

3 Answers 3


No, there is no way to do that in the current build. Well, sort of. An example is if you have iTunes open in fullscreen in a separate desktop, and go to mission control, the desktop will be called iTunes.

  • 6
    From the looks of what? What it is the resource you are deriving that assumption from?
    – whaley
    Jul 21, 2011 at 15:03
  • 2
    I wish I could assume that too, but the old Spaces when viewed under Spaces Preferences (e.g. when assigning applications) were also just Space 1, Space 2, Space N and Apple never changed that either despite the fact people clamored for it (myself included).
    – whaley
    Jul 21, 2011 at 16:03
  • 2
    Full-screen apps have own space. Those are full-screen apps on the picture. Jul 22, 2011 at 11:34
  • 1
    this bug is just beyond my imagination...
    – JohnnyZhao
    Feb 22, 2014 at 3:38
  • 5
    This is a terrible solution, but it "works" for me, more or less. I use a sticky note with a 124 point font that I hide under the dock on each desktop. It's legible in mission control's desktop thumbnails and usually (since it's under the dock), is not covered by another window. The dock is not shown in the thumbnails in mission control, so they are usually unobscured. The main problem is they all get sucked up into the first desktop when you restart (but I rarely restart, so it's tolerable for me).
    – hepcat72
    Jul 25, 2017 at 17:49

[Update: creator here 👋 - I have pulled this app from the App Store because it's a free app that I currently don't have a great way to test on Monterey, as I don't own hardware that can run it (I have a 2014 MBP). That said, users have emailed me still wanting it, and I have selectively put it in the store every week or two for a short amount of time so they can grab it. If you are interested in knowing when those windows are, shoot me an email via the support tab on the homepage https://currentkey.com through an email or twitter DM. But also, Apple should just go ahead and support named Desktops natively, they're inevitably going to do so eventually - as all other OS platforms do, and it should be sooner rather than later. Thanks!]

There's an app (in the Mac App Store) that lets you name Spaces via the menubar.

It's different than naming them in Mission Control (they don't show up there), but the names are persistent and the app lets you set a custom icon in the menubar per Space, for a quick visual reference of what Space you're in. Why not in Mission Control? Because macOS public APIs are limited, and this app is delivered via the App Store.

It may be what you're looking for. Full disclaimer: I'm the developer of the app, called CurrentKey Stats. It's completely free in the App Store.

The app also lets you jump directly to another (named) Space via its dropdown menu or via global hotkeys. B/c Apple lets you have up to 16 Spaces per screen, this is handy in navigating between them.

enter image description here

  • 1
    This is a nice workaround for using the public APIs. What happens when you remove a space and then add a new one? Does the old one get removed or restored to the new space? And does it keep names when moving spaces around different monitors?
    – Oion Akif
    Oct 7, 2020 at 8:32
  • 1
    Ty. The app calls each Space a "Room". When a Space is deleted, that Room becomes unassigned. This abstraction means that you can swap/reassign Rooms between Spaces. When a new Space is created, the app will generate a new Room for it, but you can reassign an old Room to it. Yes, it does keep persistent names for Spaces across multiple monitors.
    – sdailey
    Oct 7, 2020 at 16:42

It is possible to rename spaces using an app called Spaces Renamer. It is available on GitHub for free. I am unsure if it can change the "default" name of desktops as you requested, but it can customize the name of desktops you already have. Please check the below screenshots for an example.

The compressed view after pressing F3

The expanded view after hovering

The interface for renaming the spaces

Image sources: the GitHub page

Please note that to use it you have to disable System Integrity Protection to use this tool. You'll need to download MacForge to use it. All of the installation instructions are on the GitHub page.

It does not work for the time being on macOS macOS Big Sur due to increased system protections there. Only time will tell if it will be supported there. However, it works perfectly fine on macOS Catalina.

A different way to "name" or "identify" different desktops is by changing their wallpapers, as desktops can have individual wallpapers. However, this unfortunately will not be helpful if you have applications and windows that are covering the whole screen area.

  • 2
    This requires MacForge which requires disabling System Integrity Protection (SIP), so not an option for many folks. Mar 31, 2021 at 13:56
  • Unfortunately it is the only way to achieve what OP actually asked on macOS, and I don't see that changing anytime in the foreseeable future.
    – Oion Akif
    Apr 5, 2021 at 23:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .