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I have a 2022 MBP 14" (M1 Pro, Monterey 12.5.1), I often work with an external monitor in addition to the laptop display.

I use Spaces when doing so, it's a great feature and I'll organise various apps in each space according to what task I'm currently working on in that Space.

However when my mac sleeps and reawakens, it often rearranges those apps themselves, moving them from the space they previously existed, and into the (now reawakened) Space on the laptop itself.

Every time I look into this issue all I find are the docs for turning off "Automatically rearrange Spaces based on most recent use". Which is not what the issue is (I have that turned off anyway).

The spaces themselves remain in place, the apps within them however are redistributed to another space on every startup.

The primary apps that seem affected are:

  • Google Chrome
  • Visual Studio Code

These stand out to me as they are typically sized larger than what my laptop screen can fit, in my mind on startup (before the Mac recognises the external monitor) they are resized and in doing so moved, but this is me trying to come up with some explanation for the madness.

To note; I have "Displays have separate Spaces" enabled to allow each monitor to have it's own Space by design.

Trying to use this functionality when on every restart I have to spend 5 minutes manually recognising and dragging apps back to where they belong is absolutely killer.

EDIT: In addition to trying the wake timing as noted in a reply below, I've also attempted the fix in this (7 year old) thread I dug out on the same subject. Maintain allocation of windows to spaces on restart and external monitor unplugging

Adding an additional empty Space on the laptop itself seemingly does nothing to help.

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Try manually waking the external display before the Mac. It's usually a timing issue [race condition], the Mac doesn't see the external quick enough to know it's still there.

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  • I'll give it a go but this is so clunky and just not a long term fix (I'm appreciative of the suggestion regardless). To note I've tried similar, i.e. waiting on wake until the display was fully displaying the other desktop before logging in. But not actually waking the monitor before the laptop.
    – jmcgrory
    Sep 14, 2022 at 13:13
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    This is one of those that crops up a lot, though there's rarely something so definitive as a 'master' QA that could be considered a duplicate. I imagine it has to do with the EDID of the particular screen involved, but it's something I'm no expert on.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 14, 2022 at 13:15
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    Thanks @Tetsujin, I have submitted a bug report to Apple regardless but I'm amazed if this is such a known bug that there hasn't been some workaround, even if it's the recognition of the monitor that is an issue, you'd think some saved state would resolve this.
    – jmcgrory
    Sep 14, 2022 at 14:00

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