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I have certain applications set to open in certain spaces, but would like them to open in the background and not switch the space just so I can watch them open.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

This will prevent any autoswitching of Spaces, which meets your criteria, but does other things, too, that you may not want:

defaults write workspaces-auto-swoosh -bool false
osascript -e 'tell application "Dock" to quit'
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Thanks; I'll give it a try. Do you know what other things? Do I just set the boolean back to true to undo it? – Philip Oct 17 '09 at 21:39
@wfaulk, yes, what are the "other things" this command does? – Josh Oct 28 '09 at 16:52
@Josh: largely that Cmd-Tab switching to an open application will not switch to a Space with an open window. Basically anything that would automatically switch you to a different space will be disabled. – wfaulk Oct 28 '09 at 20:09
Too bad there doesn't seem to be anything that can just solve the problem without the unwanted side effects. Bummer. – Philip Jan 12 '10 at 3:39

There is also the '-g' option to 'open' that will run programs in the 'background' in that they won't steal focus away from the current app. Try

open -g /Applications/

for instance. See here for details:

If you want to edit the Info.plist of some application to make this permanent, you can add the key


See here for details.

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This is nonetheless very interesting.... Maybe there is after all a more permanent way to make the open -g style change w/o other side-effects? – Philip Jul 31 '11 at 11:47

(above user refused to cite the official documentation so I'm adding it for the benefit of actual people who want to get the authoritative source of truth)

From man open

      -g  Do not bring the application to the foreground.


open -g -a /Applications/ /path/to/myFile.txt
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This duplicates another answer and adds no new content. Please don't post an answer unless you actually have something new to contribute. – DavidPostill Jul 22 at 21:35
No it is not the same as the above answer, mine gives the manpage reference which is helpful. I attempted to modify the above answer but my edits were rejected. I don't want to go reading through manpages to find out what -g officially means. – Sridhar-Sarnobat Jul 22 at 21:36
The other answer includes a link to the appropriate manpage. – DavidPostill Jul 22 at 21:37
Please read this:… – Sridhar-Sarnobat Jul 22 at 21:38
"A link alone as an answer is a bad answer in my book. Links break and the answer becomes worthless later even if the linked material answered the question initially. At least if you include a summary, the answer can somewhat stand on its own." – Sridhar-Sarnobat Jul 22 at 21:39

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