I'm using a macbook with two usb-c screens connected and that works wonderful. Keeping my apps arranged however is terrible. I'm a programmer and my layout is very simple:

  • One screen for my browser
  • One screen for my mail, slack, etc
  • One screen with multiple workspaces, but with the same two apps
    • Workspace 1: Code editor with Project A open, git program for Project A
    • Workspace 2: Code editor with Project B open, git program for Project B
    • Workspace 3: Code editor with Project C open, git program for Project C
    • Etc.

I arrange them all like that and can easily swap between projects. Until I close my macbook, and/or take out the external screens. Lately, more often than not:
All my apps are back on the MacBook screen, making me rearrange everything again. And Again. And again. About 3 or 4 times per day, depending on how often I have a meeting (and close and open it somewhere else and go back to my desk later)

I cant find how I can lock them, is there anyone with a solution? Extra info:

  • It remembers the multiple workspaces, they're all just empty
  • 'Mission control' -> 'order by activity' is turned off
  • I have MacOs Montery, everything up to date
  • Locking an app to a specific workspace doesnt work as I run multiple instances of the same app

I dont mind an app, or command of some sort to reset everything back to their arranges places, the part that bothers me is that I have to drag ~12 app instances back to their workspace over and over again.

  • This can't be done natively. If the external display is removed by any method, the Mac has to assume it will never be reattached. Otherwise those windows would be offscreen 'forever'. A workaround might be to swap that Space onto the internal screen before disconnecting [assuming resolutions match].
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 8:57
  • @Tetsujin I can understand that it moves it to my Macbook, but I want it to move back when they're connected again. And manually moving everything beforehand just moves the work, not reduces it
    – Martijn
    Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 9:11
  • BTW, I dont mind something non-native :) I dont mind pressing a hotkey, or trigger a command or some other trivial trigger
    – Martijn
    Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 9:13
  • Swapping the display a Space appears on is not the same as 'moving it manually'. I don't know of any app/structure that can prevent this failsafe. Not posting as an answer in case anyone else might.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


I'm not 100% sure this will cover your scenario, but as I understand it the main concern is to be able to "save" the open windows when you're at work, unplug the external monitor and take the laptop home - and then when you're back at work be able to "restore" all those windows. Without doing it manually.

In this case you might find your solution in the third party app Later:


  • Hm, that might do what I want, it only lacks a demo version. I prefer that over "pay first, refund if not what you want". I dont mind paying, but I want to test first. Good suggestion though, if no alternatives come I can look at this again
    – Martijn
    Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 12:05
  • @Martijn I use my computer for work, so spending what amounts to the equivalent of 5 minutes of my own time on a fellow software developer, in order to potentially save hours and hours of time over the following months - is a no-brainer. The slight risk of me not getting that promised refund in I'm not satisfied - it's really not even worth considering.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 12:09
  • As it is payment info, I try to be careful with my info. I did buy it though, however it doesnt do what I expect it to do. I've sent them an e-mail in the hopes of a solution.
    – Martijn
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 12:42
  • If you’re concerned over that, I just suggest you get ApplePay. Then you do not have to worry anymore.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 16:02
  • This solution does not work. I've tried it, they tested it on one screen only and have no intention to support this multi screen.
    – Martijn
    Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 14:50

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