I use Spaces to organize the task I'm pursing. In that vein, I often will have a browser window on each Space, with open tabs relevant to that task that Space is used for.

For example, Space 1 is for Work. So in addition to work applications, I have a browser window open with tabs relevant to work. Space 2 is for Photography. And Space 3 is for just general browsing and social networking, etc.

I am easily able to put a different browser window into each space. The problem is that when I restart the computer, all windows appear in the first Space!

My browser is Chrome, and perhaps this is an issue I need to take up with the Chrome team. Or is this a bug in OS X Lion?

  • Are you open to Applescript or Automator solutions, or to solutions involving 3rd party apps?
    – Ash
    Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 22:11
  • @Ash, Please post them if you know of any, for those of us who are! I've been looking for something that does this for a while.
    – Will
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:24
  • 1
    I came across this while trying to resolve the exact same problem. Everything @Sung stated in his answer is how I also experience this. Finder restores every window in the correct space no matter what. Safari only does it after a restart. When crashing or quitting it does not remember on which space every windows was located and opens them all on the current space. Interestingly Firefox does not have this problem. Preview is just a mess and basically remembers nothing at all. I know this post is old and this issue persist up until Catalina but I am hoping that anyone finds a solution. Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 16:54

6 Answers 6


I encountered this posting while searching for a way to do exactly what OP wanted to do.

Interestingly, Finder seems to do it right -- when you have multiple Finder windows in various Spaces, and restart your Mac (or if you just "killall Finder" at Terminal, which restarts Finder), they go into the Spaces where they were.

Also, Safari often does that too. Safari seems to preserve the Space each window was opened at, if you restart your Mac with all the browsers open. But Safari fails to remember Spaces if you simply quit and restart the app itself.

So I guess it's not true that it is impossible to achieve this, but there seem to be some issues within the Mac system that do not allow this all the time for all apps. But I'm hopeful that someone could find out a tweak.


Organizing program windows by space by pre-defined setting is unfortunately not possible. By that I mean there is no way to "lock" particular windows into their space that endures through a reboot. As you mentioned, you can assign particular programs to spaces, but not particular program windows. And, as you also noted, they apparently don't re-start the windows in their previous spaces.


Full-screen mode in Safari is the only way I see to solve your problem. Full-screen mode will assign each window it's own space which will be restored on resume.

However, the order of the full-screen windows (of the same application) will still change on resume - no matter if you have enabled Automatically rearrange spaces in System Preferences → Mission Control.

Unfortunately, the full-screen resume only works in Safari - not in Chrome or Firefox (as of March 2012).


You are right assuming that this is a problem that should be solved by the Chrome team and there already is the old bug #74812 in their issue tracker for it.

Sadly this is a long running annoyance for many (including me) which also shows that it also appears in other questions here, e.g. Restore app windows to their original Spaces


There's a regression causing this issue with Firefox. Vote for this bug if you'd like to see it fixed (once you log in, open the "Details" dropdown on the bug page to vote for it): https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1642310


Try using Firefox. It remembers the window settings correctly.

  • Here I am in 2020 a converted Firefox user... should have taken your advice in 2016.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 19:49

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