When I create a new desktop it has all the same crud on it that my original desktop has on it.

How do I create a new desktop that's empty, and use that as a new work area... like a new desktop?

The source of my confusion is that they're named "DESKTOPS", and given unique numbers, yet they completely fail to follow the ideas of their own metaphor:

Look at the names of these **DESKTOPS**

Desktop 1 is exactly the same as Desktop 2, only it's got the possibility of having different app windows in it. That's not a new desktop. It's the same desktop.

  • If you litter the desktop with files, folders etc, they will always follow you, because the Finder is always in the background. – Tetsujin Sep 2 '15 at 15:31
  • Litter is a grotesque understatement. I'm more like an object sprayer. This inability to have true virtual and alternative desktops seems like a missed opportunity for those of us not into constantly organising files. – Confused Sep 2 '15 at 15:33
  • Files only need organising once ;) i do know what you mean, but actually for many years they were called Spaces, to save getting them confused with 'desktops'. They're for putting distinct apps in, not creating further confusion from a file-sprayed multi-desktop scenario. – Tetsujin Sep 2 '15 at 15:39
  • I can't help thinking they should have been called Views instead of Spaces. i.e. looking at the same desktop from a different perspective. View_1 through Photoshop and Notes, View 2 through Excel and Word, both looking through to the desktop beneath. But Spaces is definitely better than Desktops. ANYTHING is better than iteratively numbering them as multiple Desktops for this feature. – Confused Sep 2 '15 at 16:01

@Confused I too had the same issue. I wanted different desktops for different projects. So, I made an Python/Applescript app which allows you to have multiple desktops in the "true sense" that you refer to:


It should serve your purpose, but please see the "Tips" sections for caveats with my approach. It works simply by moving files and folders from the Desktop to a storage folder, and recording their icon positions. This means that this desktop can be restored to exactly the same state later. There is still only one Desktop/ folder on the Mac, and Mission Control works just as it did before.

I now have about 20 different desktops and switch between them all of the time - great for productivity.

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Files, folders, aliases, etc. on the OS X desktop remain "stuck" to all desktops assigned to that monitor. On a second monitor, the desktop will not be replicated from the first but again it will be repeated for all of its assigned desktops or spaces. Desktops are primarily useful for organizing apps and windows—not file system objects.

While I'm sure you have an intuitive understanding of how your proposal would work for 95% of your use case, I think there are a number of edge cases that would lead to very unpredictable behavior for many, many users (possibly even yourself).

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    That last paragraph is bizarre. Consider the desktop for what it is. A metaphorical space to place things and work on them. It's a workspace, just like the real world. A "DESK"top. – Confused Sep 2 '15 at 15:44
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    In the real world, when I make a new desktop, it's specifically so I have a new desktop to work on. Not so that I'm working on a duplicate of the current Desktop. They way Apple's done this it should not be named a second, third or umpteenth desktop. They're providing virtual app screen spaces, not multiple desktops. It's a complete and horrid misnomer to name them as desktopS. – Confused Sep 2 '15 at 15:46
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    The desktop isn't meant to be your collecting place for everything you can't be bothered to organize. For example, nothing defaults to being saved or download there. Just because it doesn't work the way you want it to work, doesn't make it unfathomable. – samh Sep 2 '15 at 15:50
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    What would happen if you delete a desktop? Should its files be deleted? Should they be merged with an adjacent space? What if the files don't fit because the source and destination were both full? How is this workflow less confusing for the majority of users? Your proposal is far less fluid for what most people want—workspaces for windows (which is why the feature was originally called Spaces, I suppose). You object to the name change—I suggest you contact Apple with your feedback. – samh Sep 2 '15 at 15:51
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    As for "deleting desktops", obviously if they're virtual realisations of the metaphor then you couldn't delete a desktop that's being used. relax. – Confused Sep 2 '15 at 15:53

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