How to Quickly Assign Apps to Specific Desktops in Mission Control

Mission Control, included with OS X Lion, has changed the way many of its users interact with their Mac. Like Launchpad, these changes are intended to make moving between applications easier. In a previous post, I mentioned some of the basics surrounding Mission Control and how it can be used to enhance your productivity. In this article, we’ll explore some of the finer details of application management and how to use Mission Control to quickly move your applications between desktops (also known as spaces) easier.

First, you’ll want to set Mission Control up in a way that makes it easy for you to launch. By default, it can be accessed on your Magic Mouse by tapping two fingers on the mouse (without clicking) quickly. You can also assign Mission Control to a corner using the Hot Corners option inside the main Mission Control preference pane located in System Preferences.

Once you have easy access to Mission Control, you can create new desktops (again, also referred to as spaces) using the plus symbol on the upper-right corner of the screen. Each desktop you create can take on application windows and be easily switched to by either clicking on it in Mission Control or swiping two fingers right or left on your Magic Mouse or trackpad.

If one of your desktops becomes too cluttered, you can activate Mission Control and drag any application to another desktop while in control view. This is one quick way to clear through clutter and keep apps associated with different tasks organized.

If you want to keep an application window open, no matter which desktop you’re in, you can right-click on the icon in the dock and assign it to all desktops under the options area of the menu. If you want to keep an application assigned to one particular desktop permanently (this can be changed later), all you need to do is open it in that desktop and assign it to this desktop through that same menu.

Doing this, you can keep certain distracting applications out of the way while keeping them open and ready for when you are ready to address them. Accessing these various spaces is as easy as a swipe of the finger.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • David B. Bitton

    Desktops and Full-Screen apps switch with a three finder swipe on my iMac w. a Magic Trackpad

  • David B. Bitton

    Woh! I put my VMware fusion Win7 VM on it’s own desktop, and then set the VM window to fullscreen. Now I can swipe between it and my OSX desktop. Booyah!

  • Robert Burns

    That is an Excellent idea…hope it works out well!

  • Mabyn Shingleton

    I sure would like to be using a tablet but I can’t justify a purchase with an unknown future. Reminds me of 20 years ago deciding between beta and vhs.

  • Brian Dane

    Not a Droid = Not Interested. sorry HP also HP being a company known for faulty screens there is no way in hell I am ever going to get a tablet from them lol

  • Ian Bunting

    Apple have more freedom to make their hardware look sexier due to the making it hard to upgrade.

    PC’s may not look as nice, but its because you have the freedom to create the system you want, and replace many if not all the parts.

    An option simply not available to any extent, or at least a rather limited degree on Macs.

  • Anonymous

    I have Comcast Internet, and it is both terrible and overpriced. $10 USD is all it is worth for anyone, rich or poor!

  • Jason Reece

    A co-worker of mine is a single mom with three children and receives no child support. She showed me the brochure from Comcast with the details of this offer and asked for my opinion. She often asks for my advice because of my financial background and I’m always glad to help anyone who needs it.

    Initially, I was skeptical because cable and satellite providers aren’t exactly known for their ethical marketing practices. But after reading the fine print, I must admit that it seems like a very good opportunity for low-income families. Many of the families who take advantage of this offer would be stuck with an ancient, obsolete computer, at best.

    I also like the fact that it is FREE, but it is affordable. As Habitat for Humanity puts it- “A Hand Up, Not a Handout”…and that’s the kind of program that helps make a difference!

  • Anonymous

    3D modeling on a mac? Here’s a modest list of mac-compatible 3D modeling packages: Maya, Mudbox, ZBrush, Modo, Lightwave, Blender, or virtually any other industry standard modeling packages.

    Gaming? If your game isn’t mac-compatible, there’s always Paralells (which is solid w/ 3D acceleration).

    Freedom? I trust you’re aware that you can run multiple OSs side-by-side on OS X. At one point I had OS X, Win7, Ubuntu, and Chrome OS all running on my Macbook Pro. Can a custom beige box or Dell XPS do that?

  • Gísli Karl Gíslason

    Macs are expensive compared to PCs, a decent gaming rig is cheaper than an imac.

    Running a game in Paralells will never be as good as just running it in Windows, and running Windows in boot camp is not as good as just running it on a PC.

    With macs you can’t upgrade the hardware or customize it.