With Lion it seems the mission control is separate for each screen, however I have not found a way to show a different desktop/space on each screen.

Basically I want it so that when a do a swipe on my track pad to change space, it only changes scrolls the spaces on the monitor which the cursor is in.

I have tried to set a fullscreen app on my second monitor but it always comes back to my laptop screen. Yet Apple seems to think this is possible judging by the second image in the scroller on this page (http://www.apple.com/displays/) (This image also shows a menu bar on the laptop and 2nd display, how is that done?)

So how can I individually set spaces per monitor?

(also in the old spaces you could drag windows between monitors as well as spaces, is this not possible in Mission Control?)

4 Answers 4


This is an excerpt of Appple's Application Kit Release Note for Lion regarding fills screen apps & multiple desktops.

Multiple Monitors and Full Screen (New since early 2011 seed)

We have made some simplifying assumptions for Lion Full Screen behavior on multiple monitors. Multiple monitors are treated as a single unit by Spaces, and therefore are also treated as a single unit in Full Screen. This means that all monitors will be dedicated to windows belonging to the full screen application, and there can be only one primary full screen window visible at a time. A secondary monitor is useful for inspector windows.

Secondly, because the menu bar is located on the main monitor, the primary full screen window will be located on the main monitor as well. This allows the menu bar, floating toolbar, and full screen window to maintain their interrelationship on the same monitor.

full document can be found here: http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#releasenotes/Cocoa/AppKit.html

According to this document it isn't possible.


Put simply:

It isn't possible in Lion at the moment. Apple probably decided to follow the KISS principle (keep it simple, silly) and decided that the swipe should work on all monitors -- in effect having one large space rather than two smaller spaces. I see the logic, but personally would have preferred the choice.

What really gets me (switching trains here, sorry) is that full screen apps essentially mute the second monitor (I get a nice canvas background). I get Apple's logic, but I hate it. If I wanted two full screen apps next to each other, I should be able to do it, but Apple won't let me. Oh well...

That said, full screen apps can utilize the second monitor -- such as using inspector panes and such (Photoshop should be nice like this...). So that's possibly what you're seeing in the marketing materials.

As to having the second menu bar -- it's probably a goof, but you can approximate the effect by using MenuEverywhere. It's not perfect, and I eventually gave up on it (it didn't always work reliably), but it's worth a try.

  • I find it surprising apple let you customize the mouse gestures but not monitor setup.
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 18:08

Since taking pictures of computers screens causes glare and over all lack of clarity, pictures are taken of shutdown macs or macs displaying a bright green or blue colour and a screenshot is later edited in. Such high quality shots aren't possible as those shown on the page you linked.

I'm unaware of a way of having different spaces on different monitors. I can see the advantage in this but i can also see the confusion it may cause.

  • According to apples logic only "pros" have multiple monitors. Therefore the people won't get confused and prefer options.
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 18:07

I don't think this is currently possible. Apple have been known to post marketing pictures which aren't entirely accurate as they are usually mockups and I think this is one of those cases. It may be made possible by future updates, or it may be possible on development versions of OS X which Apple are running on test equipment but I'm quite sure this can't be done with the currently released version of Lion unless it's a feature of Final Cut Pro to be able to have multiple windows on multiple monitors. Note that all the windows shown are for Final Cut Pro. However, I suspect that the two menu bars is an oversight on somebody's part in the web development team

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