I don't know what resources are used by adding desktops, but I am certain it is a bigger deal than adding new browser tabs. I've used 8 desktops (across 2 monitors) for awhile. Adding a few more might really improve workflow.

Type of apps I'd like to always have open: Chrome / Finder / Terminal / Xcode / NetBeans / Excel / Word / Skype / MySql / iTunes

Something like having 2 word docs, 3 spreadsheets, and 3 browser instances (each using all the monitor space in their own desktops) would be very useful. Just a quick 3 finger swipe, and I'm ready to start thinking in a new context. I love it.

Maybe, OSX is robust enough, and 16-GB is so much, that I can keep opening desktops until the cows come home?

2 Answers 2


That is heavily dependent on the apps on each desktop and how you have them all configured (desktop picture, icons, etc.)

I would open up Activity monitor and start adding desktops and see where it takes you.

  • Yup. Chrome with a lot of tabs open will kill 16GB in no time flat. A lot faster than just a couple of new Spaces.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 27, 2016 at 17:38
  • So, it is not like I'll ever run dry of a resource such as "file handles", or whatever; the only limiting resource is memory.
    – david.t
    Jan 27, 2016 at 21:40
  • Certainly with only 16GB RAM, that will be your main issue, yes.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:20
  • I think this is an incorrect answer...sorry. RAM Is orthogonal to VRAM and the number of spaces that can be supported. Apr 22, 2019 at 2:49

The precious resource consumed by additional spaces is VRAM on your GPU. The higher the pixel count for the desktops, the quicker you’ll run out, but realistically you’ll get stopped by how many space thumbnails fit across the top of your monitors first.

Short answer: You won’t be causing a problem by opening more spaces, but you will eventually find a hard limit based on frame buffer memory (aka VRAM)

  • Do background desktops take up vram?
    – dwightk
    Apr 22, 2019 at 3:13
  • Yes. All windows have a backing store in VRAM, including the portion that’s covered by an overlapping window. Apr 22, 2019 at 3:15

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