I'll be working in a space, and then something starts bouncing in the dock (like Mail), so I switch to that space, and I see a dialog for a split second, but then it disappears. I try moving the main window, to see if the dialog went behind it or something, but it isn't there. While I can move the main window, I cannot interact with it because the dialog is modal. If I switch to a different space then I see the dialog again for just a split second.

Eventually if I switch spaces enough times the dialog will stop disappearing. I haven't found any pattern that works reliably. Another solution is to disable spaces, close the dialog, and then enable spaces and move everything back to the correct windows again.

It is rather annoying. It happens with multiple applications too. I've tried selecting the application by clicking on it in the dock, or switching to the space, and I get the same behavior.

The question is: Is there an easy way to get to the dialog box, or to keep spaces from doing this? Thanks!

  • 1
    This happens to me as well, it's very obnoxious. However, are you asking a question? :P Nov 20, 2010 at 10:42
  • Yeah, guess I wasn't clear, so I summarized it. Nov 23, 2010 at 3:56

2 Answers 2


A bit better of a workaround is to hide the app with the dialog, then showing it again. That typically puts the dialog on top of the z axis, I noticed. Still annoying. The OS-X window manager is the worst PoS I've ever worked with. And just because Steve "believes" in the 1983 Mac window policy...

  • 2
    Actually a good tip, but not voting up due to the unnecessary and unhelpful commentary :-(.
    – g .
    Dec 17, 2010 at 18:05

I've reported this bug at the Genius Bar at my local apple store, where I was told it was a known issue, to which they had no good solutions. I wish they would fix it. :(

The best I've come up with so far, and it's risky, is to use apple script to tell the application in question to quit. That causes another modal dialog to pop up, and when I dismiss that one, the one that first came up shows up next. The risk is that the app will just quit. (It might also just ignore it... results seem to vary by application.)

To tell an application to quit via Apple script do this from a terminal window on the same space as the application:

  osascript -e "tell Application \"NameHere\" to quit"

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