I have three displays connected to my mac mini. (I have used Arrangement to make sure they are connected correctly left to right, so mouse movement works correctly.) The leftmost is the primary with the dock. However, the middle display is call "Display 3" and the rigtmost is "Display 2". Even if I swap the cables, it still stays the same, so OSX must remember the displayid. This is a problem because Desktop numbering (in Spaces) are out of sequence rigt to left across the displays. It is also confusing that when you assign an app to a display, you have to remember that 3 is the middle display. I know I could just physically swap display 2 and 3, but can this be solved through macOS Display settings? :-)

Any suggestion on how one can reassign the numbering of the displays?

  • The ability to move the monitors around in System Preferences... > Displays > Arrangement does not work for you? – IconDaemon May 17 '19 at 11:02
  • Correct, it doesn't solve this issue. I have used Arrangement to make sure they are connected correctly left to right, so mouse movement works correctly. But left display is still called Display 1, middle Display 3 and right call Display 2. On the left display I have Desktop 1 and 2, middle display have Desktop 6 and 7, and right display have Desktop 3, 4 and 5. Anoying. – jonas May 17 '19 at 11:23
  • Related if not dupes - apple.stackexchange.com/questions/217468/… - apple.stackexchange.com/questions/141401/… and apple.stackexchange.com/questions/239112/… - I think you are confusing 'displays' 'spaces' & 'desktops' – Tetsujin May 17 '19 at 11:25
  • No this is not about mouse movement or the dock. All of that works correctly. This is about the numbering of the Display and Desktop (in Spaces) doesn't follow the physical placement of the displays. – jonas May 17 '19 at 11:28
  • 1
    Same problem here. The Macbook changes the numbering sometimes after sleep mode and I have no idea how to renumber them. "Automatically rearrange spaces based on most recent use" is unchecked for me already. In addition to that, the tool named "displayplacer" (via homebrew tap) doesn't work either because it only arranges, but doesn't renumber the displays. The annoying thing is that displays become new "names"/numbers and apps open on different monitors suddenly. One has to rearrange every space etc. every time. – Karsten S. Oct 1 '19 at 17:53

This is a very annoying problem and I have not found any official documentation on how to control the numbering of the Desktop on each monitor. However, through a lot of trial and error, I've discovered these rules that will help you order the Desktop numbers.

First, a few key points on how the numbering behaves

  • Your 'Home Screen' (the display with the Dock) will always have the lowest number (e.g. Desktop 1, Desktop 2 if it has 2 desktops)
  • When you drag the Dock (in Displays >> Arrangement) from one display to another, it will swap the numbering between the two monitors that you dragged it to and from. For example if you have 3 monitors that is setup as follow
  • Monitor A (Desktop 1, Desktop 2) ==DOCK LOCATION==
  • Monitor B (Desktop 3, Desktop 4)
  • Monitor C (Desktop 5, Desktop 6)

If you drag the DOCK from Monitor A to B, you'll end up with the following:

  • Monitor A (Desktop 3, Desktop 4)
  • Monitor B (Desktop 1, Desktop 2) ==DOCK LOCATION==
  • Monitor C (Desktop 5, Desktop 6)

Therefore, by planning the sequence of DOCK position swaps, you can reach the final ordering that you desire.

The ordering may get messed up again if you disconnect the monitors or return from sleep or restart. I have no idea how to 'save' the settings. But at least this will help you reconfigure quickly.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .