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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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2 Answers 2

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
@Philip: Yes, setting it to true will undo that. –  Chealion Oct 17 '09 at 23:39
@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

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