I'm fairly new to Mac and having a dual monitor setup, but I have my secondary display working and arranged above my laptop. I want to be able to move between screens on the laptop and have the secondary display on the TV freeze on that document so that I can read what else I need to search for. I have tried turning 'Mirroring' on and off but it doesn't seen to stop the secondary display.

I am on Mac OS X 10.7.5 (MacBook Pro 13" Late 2011)

  • Are you watching a video on your second monitor and want it to pause when you focus on a window in the primary monitor? Commented May 29, 2013 at 2:19
  • No, I am using open office to view and edit a text document on the second monitor (TV) and I want to use the laptop to; search internet (screen 1), update another document (sceen 2), view a pdf in Preview (screen 3) etc. Commented May 29, 2013 at 2:32
  • I Just opened another application, iPhoto in screen 1 and it moved to screen 2 with the grey background and moved the other screens along(2,3,4), leaving screen 1 with the open office tool bar. Commented May 29, 2013 at 2:42
  • It sounds like we are talking about Spaces (now called Desktops in 10.8). If this is correct, you want to be able to have the secondary display stay in one space while the primary display moves to different Spaces? Unfortunately, if I follow that correctly, that probably isn't possible - even as of 10.8. I would recommend considering learning to use Command + Tab to rotate through the different applications if learning that new method would be feasible for you. Commented May 29, 2013 at 13:29
  • This has been working for a while now (as of Nov 2017).
    – SilverWolf
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


If you're referring to full screen applications, there's no fix for that at the moment. You'll always have a grey screen on one of your displays when you switch applications. OS X 10.9 is rumored to have a fix, but obviously that's no guarantee. Your best bet is to wait until June 10 when the WWDC announcement comes through.

  • It is happening when the applications are not full-screen too. The TV monitor shows only the background picture, but moves with every laptop screen movement. I can't read the document on the TV monitor if I change screens on the laptop. It never used to do this, the secondary screen used to stay fixed on the document displayed on the TV monitor while you could work as usual on the laptop. Commented May 29, 2013 at 6:15
  • It sounds like what's happening is your Open Office window is in its own space, even if it's not full screen. The OS can only show one space at a time. So open Mission Control and drag all your windows onto one single space. That should do it. By the way. To open Mission Control, there are trackpad gestures and hot corners, it just depends how you set it.
    – Elliott
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 16:07
  • As of Nov 2017, this has been fixed for a long time now.
    – SilverWolf
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 17:56

hold down enter/return and "L" and repeatedly press the option key and it should unfreeze.


I had the same issue. This worked for me...

Go to your Mission Control settings and make sure that the box 'Displays have separate Spaces' is selected. (You will have to log out and back in.)

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