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Question: "Gather windows" for all apps?

How do I move all apps from a Secondary Desktop that I can't see to my Primary Desktop that I can see? This is something that I end up faced with at least once a week and its incredibly frustrating.

This is a problem on any version of OSX without Spaces. Mavericks, Yosemite, and anything else lacking Spaces is a problem.

I am hooked to a Projector for a meeting and I can't see my Secondary Desktop.

I need to change settings, for example the background image needs to be changed, but I can't see the Secondary Desktop background controls and so I can't change anything.

In Windows there is an option to "Move" an open window using the arrow keys. You can recover -any- window that you can't see.

Is there anything like this in Yosemite?

I used to use Spaces for this but the new Mission Control is horrid and doesn't come close to what Spaces used to offer.

I need to "simply" move a window from my Secondary Desktop to my Primary Desktop without being able to see the Secondary Desktop...

This is a huge issue for me. I am left frustrate and wanting to throw my Mac into the river almost once a week because of this issue...

please someone help me!!

Posted on


Feb 7, 2015 6:52 AM in response to Brian Lynn In response to Brian Lynn

Hi Brian,

Thank you for contributing to the Apple Support Communities.

It sounds like you're having a frustrating experience with Spaces in Yosemite. There are a few options that may help with this behavior.

First, make sure your displays are set up as separate Spaces in the Mission Control pane of System Preferences:

Displays have separate Spaces

If you use the Spaces feature and have multiple displays, you can set up separate spaces for each display.


OS X Yosemite: Mission Control preferences

Then, if you want to move an application window from one space to another, try one of these options:

Assign apps to spaces

If you assign an app to a particular space, it opens in that space by default.

  1. Press and hold an app’s icon in the Dock. You may have to first open the app from Launchpad to see its icon in the Dock.

  2. From the shortcut menu that appears, do one of the following:

    • Have the app open in the current space: Choose Options > This Desktop.

      The app appears only in that space. However, if you open the app in full screen, it appears in its own space.

    • Have the app open in the current space on a specific display: Choose Options > Desktop on Display [number].

    • Have the app open in every space: Choose Options > All Desktops.

      The app appears in every space.

    • Have the app open in whichever space you’re using at the time: Choose Options > None.

In Mission Control preferences, you can also specify that, when you switch to an app, your desktop should switch to a space with open windows for that app. To open Mission Control preferences, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Mission Control.


OS X Yosemite: Work in multiple spaces

Best Regards,


Feb 7, 2015 6:52 AM

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Feb 7, 2015 7:26 AM in response to jeremy_v In response to jeremy_v

Thank you for the repy!!

I cannot use the Displays have separate Spaces because it puts a menu bar on every desktop. I can't have this showing.

I used to set the old "Spaces" desktop management to the F19 button on my keyboard and reduce it to its minimum of 1 row 2 columns.

Any time I needed I could press F19, see ALL my desktops spaces all at once, and then drag and drop ANYTHING I wanted to anywhere!!!

I really really need this kind of functionality back.

Mission Control so far is a complete waste of time for me.

Feb 7, 2015 7:26 AM

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Feb 7, 2015 8:12 AM in response to Brian Lynn In response to Brian Lynn

Hi Brian,

You may be able to write an AppleScript macro that takes takes screenshots of your other desktops and display them in one of the main desktops. Adding drag and drop into these screenshots would probably take a lot of time.

I'm already experiencing problems with the screen shots.

I haven't tried taking the screen shots of the second desktop yet. Don't know what desktop the screenshot files will end up on yet.



Feb 7, 2015 8:12 AM

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Feb 7, 2015 8:21 AM in response to kelhak1 In response to kelhak1

Thank you but this reply makes absolutely no sense to me... please explain more how a Screen Shot is going to help me move windows???

Are you talking about a live screen capture?? A "screen shot" to me is a still image of your desktop saved as a PNG or JPEG...

What is an "AppleScript"? I don't want to write any code... I simply want Spaces functionality back!!

*edited for mistakes

Feb 7, 2015 8:21 AM

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Feb 7, 2015 8:46 AM in response to Brian Lynn In response to Brian Lynn

Hi Brian,

Yes, I'm thinking about a live screen capture. You press the function key that you set to run an AppleScript. The macro like AppleScript shifts to a certain space on your second display. If you have something on the second display in full screen, then it should be at the end of the spaces. You shift to the end and take a screenshot.

I found that the screenshot ends up on display 1.

Depending on how many desktops you have on display 2, you could create something like a table with these screenshots with Preview or something else. Or if you have good eyesight, you could look at the icons for the files.

One idea if you want to add drag and drop for your backgrounds and if they fixed folder actions is that you could drag and drop onto set folders with attached folder actions. You could change the background of an external display.



Feb 7, 2015 8:46 AM

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Feb 7, 2015 8:58 AM in response to kelhak1 In response to kelhak1

I appreciate the input but you're talking way over my head. Macros?

Point and click. That's what I know.

How many desktops on display 2?? Ummmm... 1?

I don't understand the statement about the number of desktops... Don't I have just the two? Primary and Secondary?? Monitor 1, monitor 2? I'm confused.

Folder Actions??? What is all this stuff??

Even more frustrated at this point.

Apparently there is a fix its just going to take me a college computer degree to pull it off?

I do keynote, email and that's about it. I wouldn't even have this computer if I didn't have to do visual support for my presentations.

Feb 7, 2015 8:58 AM

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Feb 7, 2015 9:37 AM in response to Brian Lynn In response to Brian Lynn

Lets see now. Are you trying to move an open window on Desktop 2 onto Desktop 1.

If so go to Desktop 2 move the cursor to the top left of the windows title bar, click and hold then drag the window to

the far left of the screen. The window will now switch into Desktop 1.

You can also easily move between Desktops by using the command + arrow (left or right) buttons.

Check your system preferences/keyboard/shortcuts/Mission Control. Where you can input your own shortcuts for switching between Desktops.

Hope this was what you are after.

Feb 7, 2015 9:37 AM

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Feb 7, 2015 11:53 AM in response to Eau Rouge In response to Eau Rouge

I don't think I'm using the term "desktop" properly.

This does exactly what you say it does, but it does not help me. Mission Control is only showing me the "desktops" for Monitor 1... This doesn't help me for Monitor 2.

I have 2 monitors hooked to my computer. 1 that I can see, 1for my audience that I can't see.

I need to move windows from Monitor 1 to Monitor 2...

Feb 7, 2015 11:53 AM

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May 15, 2015 5:47 AM in response to Eau Rouge In response to Eau Rouge

No,. I absolutely do not need mirroring. Exactly the opposite. If I was using Mirroring then none of this would even be an issue.

I have 2 monitor connections.

Monitor 1 is for me

Monitor 2 is for my audience.

I CANNOT see monitor 2.

I need to be able to retrieve windows that open on Monitor 2 and move them to Monitor 1.

:"Try control - up arrow - that will take you into Mission Control where you can select the desktop you want. Then drag the applications you want to the desktop you want."

I have not found any way to see Monitor 1 Desktop 1 and Monitor 2 Desktop 1 and move windows between them using Mission Control...

Spaces used to be the best at this!!

So far it seems that no one is really grasping the problem and all the answers are not useful for my problem

I do appreciate the attempts at helping me though!!

May 15, 2015 5:47 AM

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Jun 2, 2015 7:55 AM in response to Brian Lynn In response to Brian Lynn

I have the same issue (I think) and happened across an easy fix. I recently switched to Yosemite and lost the ability to use Options-> Show on this desktop to move my apps back to my mac. Not sure why. I normally use two monitors and my mac book pro screen at the office. So when I work remote the apps on the monitors keep popping up off the mac screen when I open them. To get them moved back, RIGHT click on the app icon in the Dock, go to Open Recent, and then RIGHT click on the document/app window you want to display directly on your Mac screen. Hope this helps.

Jun 2, 2015 7:55 AM

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User profile for user: Brian Lynn

Question: "Gather windows" for all apps?