I use different desktops as project spaces. This generally works great and feels organized. I can work on multiple concurrent projects and context-switch at will when I want to resume work on a different project. However, there's one problem when it comes to the downloads folder...

If I reveal a downloaded item (using Safari's downloads button and the magnifying glass icon next to a download), and then at some point switch desktops/projects, download a new file, and do the same thing to reveal the new item's location in the Finder, the Finder gets focus, but the front-most Finder window is whatever happened to already be opened on that desktop - not the downloads folder. If there's no Finder window already open, the desktop gets focus. That's because the downloads folder is already open on a different desktop. I am forced to search through my desktops to find the already-opened downloads folder and either move it to the desktop I'm working on or close it, go back, and re-open it from Safari. I suppose I can select the downloads folder from the Finder's Window menu, but I'd rather not have to switch desktops to get to the file I want. Ideally, the downloads button/menu in Safari would just behave as expected.

Can anyone think of a way to get Safari's downloads button to always reveal an item's location and force it to open a new finder window if the current desktop doesn't have one already (but another one does)? Can I force Safari to always open a new Finder window to the downloads folder? Can I create my own downloads button in the Safari toolbar that does what I want? Is there some good folder action to automatically close the downloads folder when some clever thing happens? Is there a way to assign JUST the downloads Finder window to all desktops? It seems silly that this isn't already handled intuitively by Apple.

  • You're hitting the "One App, One Space" design flaw/intent. As soon as any app is spread to more than a single Space, the rules for switching to it break. The 'fix' is to lock Finder to a single Space [though even that is glitchy in High Sierra] All complaints to ifSteveWasStillHere.apple.com ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 18:46
  • Yeah, I have multiple complaints about the one app, one space design. I was just hoping someone had worked out a work-around. Like an applescript solution or something.
    – hepcat72
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 19:46
  • For me, clicking on the reveal file button takes me to the space with the Downloads folder and brings the Finder to the foreground
    – Oion Akif
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 2:07

1 Answer 1


I just tried to recreate your issue, and with multiple desktops, some with already-open Finder windows, when I click Show in Finder on Safari, which is on a desktop without any Finder windows, I get the file location shown in a new Finder window on the same desktop as Safari. I tried to mess it up but I couldn't.

One thing you might want to try, is on the Dock, right click Finder, under Options choose "None" under Assign To. Both Safari and Finder had this option selected when I was retracing your steps.

Since this is a half-baked "answer", I wanted to make this into a comment however I currently lack the rep required.

  • Both are assigned to none. I’m surprised it works for you. I’ve been dealing with this since Mission Control was new, through numerous macOS versions. Do you have Safari windows open on multiple desktops and opened the downloads folder with Safari on one desktop, then switch to another desktop and reveal another file from the safari downloads?
    – hepcat72
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 2:48
  • At the time of my testing, I had Safari open on one desktop only, and some Finder windows peppered around in other desktops. One other thing that might be worth checking, if you already haven't is the "When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows for the application" checkbox which is found under System Preferences > Mission Control. Oddly enough, this setting is enabled on my system. I really think this functionality is somewhat broken as both our systems behave differently than they are configured..
    – apoptosis
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 10:28
  • Yes, I have tried with that setting both enabled and disabled. Same behavior. I had debated whether or not to mention it in my OP.
    – hepcat72
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 15:16
  • I'm still trying to figure out the behavior. I had a Safari window open on 2 desktops and tried revealing the same file from the downloads menu in a window on each desktop. Each attempt produced a new finder window to the downloads folder. I then closed both finder windows and tried again. The first attempt opened a new finder window to the downloads folder. The second attempt did not (and just brought another already open finder window to the front). So apparently there's another step required to reproduce this issue - closing the downloads windows, perhaps?
    – hepcat72
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 19:44
  • That could very well be it, at this point I realized a lot tiny yet important behavior in macOS is purely hit and miss. With each reboot my mac decides that it will not act the way it did before. Not major things, yet small stuff like this. I am honestly baffled. I wish I could be of more help.
    – apoptosis
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 21:26

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