I have a rMBP and a Thunderbolt display, and I love using both displays simultaneously. I also use Mission Control to have several separate work spaces.

What I would love is for a way to have my secondary monitor NOT participate in Mission Control though. I'd like to leave things like chat windows open there that I would like to be present in every workspace.

Is there any way to make this possible?

It is really annoying to not be able to keep one screen from switching.



4 Answers 4


Unfortunately I'm not aware of anything that can do what you're looking for. Mission Control is fairly limited in the ways in which you can customize it, either through the user interface or for developers. Similarly, OS X is pretty constrained in how you can configure multiple monitors (sadly, it's actually regressed a bit in this regard since 10.6).

You can set an app to appear in all spaces by right clicking its Dock icon, and selecting Assign To: All Desktops under the Options sub-menu. However this applies to all windows for that app, regardless of what monitor they're on. But if you keep all your iChat/Messages windows on your second display, it may be useful.

  • This seems to be the best way to manage this... I hope a third party developer or Apple figures out some better ways to take advantage of multi-monitor setups someday - I'd gladly pay for software that improves this!
    – radven
    Dec 2, 2012 at 6:39
  • I tend to use App Expose more, and I noticed if there's a full screen app on the second monitor, it remains untouched even if you enter App Expose on the main monitor. Unfortunately this doesn't work in Mission Control. Tip: You can swipe left/right between apps using three/four fingers in App Expose.
    – ADTC
    Aug 28, 2023 at 2:07

There is an option for this as of OS X Yosemite.

Apple menu > System Preferences > Mission Control

If you enable "Displays have separate Spaces," then you will be able to have just a sintgle "space" for your extra monitor.



There's actually a way to do with a third party app. There's an app called Afloat.

Install it, restart your computer and when you return, the Window menu will contain the Afloat options. Afloat is mainly for keeping an app on top at all times, but it has an option in the Adjust Effects menu that allows you to Keep this window on the screen on all Spaces. Check this box and when you switch desktops on one screen, while the desktop will change on the other screen, you still won't lose your window cuz that app will be on the other desktop also.

  • This looks like a nice tool - but it doesn't work how I would like. I don't want all Safari windows in every space, for example. But I'd like to drag windows to one space, and have that space stay static. I am hoping Mavericks will improve things...
    – radven
    Sep 3, 2013 at 21:10

You can specify which desktop - or select All Desktops from Options for the Application(s) from the Dock. I have two monitors - my second monitor has Chrome always displayed (it's set for All Desktops) and then I am able to use the other monitor with spaces for email, Excel, Word, etc.

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