Reader question: Deactivate the Spaces function under macOS

Switch off Spaces on the Mac - this is how it works!

Today my reader Dominic wrote to me because he has a special problem with the "Spaces" function, which is particularly annoying under macOS Catalina. Here is his mail:

Hello, is it possible to deactivate the "Spaces" function (desks)?

As soon as I have a memory card open with pictures in full screen, for example, and open a picture, it basically opens it on a new desk, and I have to swipe over to my SD card again (to the last space) to read the files on the To see memory card.

That annoys me a bit, is there a solution? Thanks in advance for taking your time.

Kind regards, Dominic

Update: Old version of "Fullscreen" asked

Unfortunately, what I only found out in conversation with Dominic is the "way" in which macOS reacts to the green fullscreen button. In the past, macOS simply maximized the current window, but currently the window is opened in its own "Space", in which there is no longer a Finder menu to be seen.

You can switch between the spaces with ALT and arrow left and arrow right.

If you want to have the "old" way to get a window back in full screen mode, just hold down the ALT key while clicking the green button. Now the window is enlarged without ending up in its own space.

The following text is not necessarily the solution to the full-screen-in-new-space problem. Anyway, I'll leave it here for informative reasons.

System settings> Mission Control

I confess that I practically neither work with Mission Control nor with Spaces, but you should have heard of the feature anyway. Many Mac users report that the ability to run each program on its own "desk" and then to jump back and forth with a swipe should be very practical. However, the feature has not yet found a place in my daily work.

If you want to turn off the Spaces feature under macOS Catalina, you should deactivate all checkboxes in the Mission Control system settings.

If you want to turn off the Spaces feature under macOS Catalina, you should deactivate all checkboxes in the Mission Control system settings.

Anyway, there's an easy way to turn off the Spaces feature on macOS. As the title suggests, this leads through the system settings and there via the "Mission Control" button. There are four points that can be ticked and as far as I can see, you should uncheck all of them so that the Mac no longer uses different Spaces.

This is what it looks like when you see an overview of all program windows on the screen with Mission Control.

This is what it looks like when you see an overview of all program windows on the screen with Mission Control.

Call Mission Control

The Spaces function is classified under Mission Control in the macOS settings. If you haven't heard of Mission Control, you can activate this function in the Finder by pressing the F3 key. All active programs with their program windows are then shown on the screen in a small overview. This is helpful when you have a lot of overlapping windows and you have lost the overview.

Do you have any questions?

If you also have a question about macOS, iOS or Apple devices, please leave it to me as a comment or email here. I will be happy to answer them for you!

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3 comments

  1. Peter says:

    Mmmmh ... even after working with the Mac for decades, I've never really needed it and only now noticed by chance that the green window button now not only maximizes the active window, but also shoots it directly into a new "space".

    The problem I had with that was that I couldn't get this window back on my normal desk for the time being ... (so I was able to close this new space again): In Mission Control there is no X above the associated thumbnail (not even a small one in its upper corner) - I can "hover" over it as long as I want ...

    In addition, with the full-screen display of the window in Space, the menu bar and the window frame bar with the red, orange and green buttons have disappeared. After all, one expects the menu bar to reappear when you move the mouse pointer to the upper edge of the screen (and it works).

    However, I was somewhat surprised to see that the upper window frame bar appears and the three buttons are available again. But if you click the freshly appeared green button again, the window actually returns to the "normal" desk and the previous space is closed.

    Strangely enough, I didn't find this info anywhere during a quick web search, so I'll just add it here again. Perhaps it will help one or the other who was initially just as irritated as I was ...

    Maybe I was just acting particularly stupid (at first I couldn't help but terminate the affected program so that all of its windows were closed ...) - who knows ...

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hi Peter! Thank you for your hint. Perhaps another comment on how to switch through spaces: hold down the CTRL key and arrow left or right.
      And if you hold the ALT key while clicking on the green button, the window is maximized normally (as before) and not sent to a new space.

  2. Peter says:

    No cause - I have to thank you. In my opinion, it would be very nice if you could set it the other way around with the ALT key and the green button - for me it would certainly make more sense if the normal, simple click “without everything” already made the usual maximization.

    Incidentally, I have always placed Mission Control in the upper right "active" corner of the display, I actually never get there unintentionally with the mouse (in contrast to the lower corners, where it happens every now and then) and it's so easy With a "swipe of the mouse" see all open windows (and also the spaces) and select them if necessary.

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