I use Spaces (aka Desktops) to organize my work--I have a Space for email & Omnifocus, a Space for chat & calendar, and a Space for each of my main projects, plus a couple of full-screen application windows which are of course their own Spaces. When I'm at my desk, I have two monitors plus the screen of my MacBook Pro, and I have certain Spaces on each screen. When I unplug my laptop for a meeting, of course all the Spaces move from the external displays to the laptop. That isn't a problem. What is a problem is that application windows have suddenly moved to other Spaces. It looks like the Mac has decided a couple of Spaces don't exist and shoved their windows into other Spaces.
For example, right now I have chat and calendar in Desktop 6, which is currently displayed on my laptop screen while I type this on one of the other monitors. Then I unplug the external monitors, suddenly only four numbered Desktop Spaces exist (plus both the full-screen application windows), and chat and calendar are part of Desktop 1 along with the windows that had already been part of Desktop 1. So basically the problem seems to be that some Spaces are dropped and their apps get shoved into whatever existing Spaces are available. What might be causing that and how can I avoid it?
When I plug the external displays back in, suddenly I have six numbered Spaces again and windows that were originally together in one Space are together again, but the Spaces are numbered differently and some of them have moved from one screen to another. For example, chat and calendar (which were originally Desktop 6 and then got shoved into Desktop 1) are now Desktop 5, and they're on an external monitor instead of the laptop screen. In fact, every Space that used to be on the laptop screen is now on that external monitor, and vice versa.
- Why do Spaces disappear when I unplug external monitors, and how do I stop it from happening?
- How can I get Spaces to return to the same monitors they were on before, when I plug those monitors back in?
External monitors are connected via CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 dock
System Preferences -> Mission Control has the following settings checked:
When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows for the application
Group windows by application
Displays have separate Spaces