Spaces rarely returns focus to my last used window. Haven't been able to peg universally reproducible steps, but spend any time switching among spaces and windows and you'll come across this.

It often happens with Finder windows. I'm thinking this is because Mac OS X treats Finder as a single app, so bringing Finder forward in one space brings it forward in all spaces. Extremely annoying!

Anyone have a fix for this?

  • 1
    There is no fix for exactly the reason you specify. – msanford Jul 10 '10 at 2:03
  • I assume you are switching using Command-TAB? Are you also saying this doesn't happen all the time? I just tried on my Mac and Command-TAB will take me to the previous application that I was using, but brings forward any window of that application in the current space (if there is such a window), rather than going to the specific window in another space that I had been using. I agree that it would be nice for Command-TAB to take you back to the exact space and window that you were in previously. I don't know if there is a "fix". – Marnix A. van Ammers Jul 19 '10 at 19:08

I don't agree that this isn't a bug. There are other users complaining about the same issue here:



This is a simple version of what typically happens to me:

  1. Firefox is on Desktop/Space 1
  2. Vim and Finder are on Desktop/Space 2
  3. As I switch between Firefox and Vim (with Command-Tab), Vim will be focused correctly, but the Finder window will sometimes be on top of it, so I can't see what I'm doing in Vim

As a workaround, to save me from using the mouse I use Command-`. This will bring the focused window to the top most of the time - it is really the shortcut to switch between windows of the currently focused app.

I've posted a bug report following the link @Sidnicious lists btw.


You can try assigning apps you mostly use to space where you want them to be (assigning is done it Spaces pref pane)


This isn't exactly a bug, it's a conflict between your mental model of Spaces and OS X's application switching model.

At the very least, I would send feedback to Apple. If you're feeling ambitious, you could instead write a clear, detailed description of the problem and submit it as an enhancement request.


It doesn't return focus to the last when you you quit? Or when you close a window (I think you mean application)?


I've just gotten used to using command+tab to toggle between apps when I get to a space.


Here are some things you could try although they are not fixes by any means: If you minimize the windows you do not want to see, then you will return to the one you were working on. You can also use command-` to switch between windows of an application only, which can quickly get you back to the window you want instead of doing command-tab and then looking for it.


If you are willing to look at 3rd part apps, then Optimal Layout, an app I developed, allows you to easily switch to specific windows in Spaces.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.