Every time I open an app and it restores the windows that it has open, they generally restore to whichever space is currently active, rather than to the space the windows were originally on before I quit the app. For example, if I have several terminal windows open on different spaces, quit Terminal.app and relaunch it, then the terminal windows all reopen, but do so on the current space. TextEdit, Xcode, iTunes, Messages, all of the apps I use have this problem. The only one that reopens its windows to the correct space is Finder.

This is annoying, because it means that every time I reboot my computer I have reorganize all of my spaces again. And I have lots of windows open, and they're all organized across six different spaces. It's getting tedious.

Is there a trick, hack, or something I can use to fix this?


2 Answers 2


It's unclear from your question whether you have done the obvious so I will mention it just in case. When looking at a specific space, right click (option click) on the icon (in the dock) of the app you want to "pin" to the specific space . There will be two options shown that say something like "this space" or "any space" (I'm sorry, I'm not on my Mac so I can't be more precise, but I think you will be able to understand this method)

  • 1
    I am aware of that option, but with nearly every application I use, I often will have windows open across several different spaces, so it's not feasible for me to pin an app to just one space. Terminal.app is a good example of this. I tend to have at least one terminal window in half of all of my spaces.
    – Bri Bri
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 21:43
  • You cannot pin to more than one space per app, unless you pin to all - just not possible.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 8:02

As far as I know there is no way to "pin" app windows so they'll be restored to different Spaces in Mission Control after quitting/reopening apps within the same login session. However… if Reopen windows when logging back in is selected when logging out, app windows are restored to the same previous Spaces when logging in again. I take advantage of that primarily for Safari restarts when I have lots of its windows spread out across different Spaces. Can be less tedious just to log out and in again with those windows put back where they originally were than to do it manually after quitting/reopening Safari.

  • I have a very different experience using "Reopen windows when logging back in". Do you ever leave windows open for apps other than Finder or Safari? In my experience all sorts of other windows, including terminal windows, windows from third party apps, TextEdit documents, and so on, would reopen at totally wrong an arbitrary spaces. It's really annoying, and bad enough that I never both to use the feature because it never restores my desktop to how it was before.
    – Bri Bri
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 3:14
  • Yes, windows left open in different spaces from several apps during logout when Reopen windows when logging back in is enabled restore just fine when logging in again. You could create a new user account to try determining if the trouble you're having is caused by something in your regular account configuration or also affects other accounts. In general, knowing whether an issue is user-specific or system-wide can help isolate its cause.
    – sjk
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 14:08
  • @sjk: this fails on 10.10. Are you on 10.11? Maybe that's the key difference.
    – iconoclast
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 5:22

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