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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.

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    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 '11 at 10:13
  • The desktops automatically rearrange themselves based on recent use. You can disable this in the Mission Control System Preference. – BendiLow Jul 23 '11 at 11:36
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    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 '14 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 '16 at 19:50
  • The Desktop metaphor means that all your windows and apps are technically open on the Desktop. So you have the Desktop, the place where your Desktop icons are, and your Desktop, the place where all your open apps and windows reside. Makes sense, right? – Calion Apr 23 '18 at 13:58
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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.

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    From the looks of what? What it is the resource you are deriving that assumption from? – whaley Jul 21 '11 at 15:03
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    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 '11 at 16:03
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    Full-screen apps have own space. Those are full-screen apps on the picture. – Peter Štibraný Jul 22 '11 at 11:34
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    this bug is just beyond my imagination... – JohnnyZhao Feb 22 '14 at 3:38
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    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 '17 at 17:49
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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.

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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

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    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? – Skeleton Bow Oct 7 at 8:32
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    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 at 16:42

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