I have two monitors plugged into my Mackbook pro. I have the

  • "Display have separate spaces" setting enabled in Mission Control.
  • Keyboard shortcuts "Switch to Desktop1" and "Switch to Desktop2" setting enabled in Keyboard shortcut settings.

But pressing ^2 does nothing pretty much. I would expect ^2 to focus on my second display windows. Surprisingly, if I add another desktop from Mission Control, that new 'third' desktop becomes Desktop2 and the second display desktop, which was originally Desktop2, becomes Desktop3. After this, ^2 works fine to switch between Desktop1 and Desktop2, both of which are on the same display.

Is there a keyboard shortcut to focus on the active window of second display?

If the above is expected behavior, is there a better way or app of managing multiple displays. Ideally, I would think both displays work as separate desktops, you can focus on a display and then toggle between the windows/apps of that display only.

(I am on macOS Sierra 10.12.4)

1 Answer 1


'Displays have separate Spaces' would appear to be the method you do require, but in order for it to work, you must have more Spaces than screens.

Then your key commands will switch the screen the cursor is currently in to your requested Space.

Don't rely on the numbers being accurate until you have set up your full set of Spaces & then, in order to then keep the numbering as you intended, make sure 'Automatically rearrange Spaces based on most recent use' is off.

You can drag Spaces into the desired order by invoking Mission Control; take the cursor to the top of a screen & the desktop numbers will expand to show a thumbnail of contents. You can then drag them to your required order & they will re-number automatically.

One more thing, which often catches people out - Spaces only work as intended if any given app only occupies any one Space. If you try to spread an app to 2 or more Spaces simultaneously, it breaks behaviour.

The alternative working method [the one I actually prefer] is to disable 'Displays have separate Spaces', then each 'desktop' becomes a pair of screens, which move together. So you have 2 screens simultaneously showing Desktop 1, then both switch to Desktop 2, etc in tandem - in effect making each Space double-sized. Apps then stay on the screen & the Space they are assigned, so long as you don't disconnect one screen.

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