El Capitan Multi-Monitor active screen issue


First I would like to say that TotalSpaces 2 is essential to my productivity as a developer, and I’ve been really pleased with the product for quite some time.

I want to bring to someone’s attention a potential bug that I have come across in the newer version for El Capitan regarding multiple monitors and the active screen. It appears to be the case that TS2 is picking the incorrect active screen to use for the spaces switch when using multiple monitors (In my case two). Here are the following steps I have taken to reproduce the bug:

Two full-screen apps on two monitors residing both in the second desktop (to the right in my case), “sync grids” enabled, one app open on the first desktop on the primary screen (indicated by the white menu bar in the Displays system preferences window).

Steps to reproduce:
1)Make the secondary screen active (menu bar not greyed out).
2)From the secondary screen, trigger move to second desktop (swipe or hotkeys).
3)From the seoncdary screen, trigger a move back to first desktop.

The primary screen is now active, and the open app on this screen is active.

The secondary screen should be active.

When the first desktop switch is triggered the space notification graphic appears on the secondary screen as expected and the active screen is still on the secondary screen. When triggering a switch back to the first desktop the animation appears on primary screen and then activates this screen.

I attempted these steps on another machine that I own that runs Yosemite and TS2, and this issue does not appear on there. Hopefully these are actual issues with TS2 and can be resolved for this version.

Interesting. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Can you please confirm the exact version of El Capitan you’re running so I can setup my own test system?

No problem! My current version of OSX is 10.11.3 (15D21). Thanks for looking into this.

BTW, I’ll be traveling this weekend and won’t be able to look at this until Mar 15th at the earliest. Stay tuned.

OK, I’ve been testing this scenario, and while it seems like I saw your issue once, I wasn’t able to consistently reproduce it. When in doubt, it seems that OS X refers to the mouse cursor location to decide which menu bar to activate. So I’m curious, could you test and make sure to keep your mouse cursor on the secondary monitor to see if you still experience this issue?


Thanks for taking the time to test this out! It’s unfortunate that you are unable to consistently experience the issue, since it always occurs for me.

By following the same steps that I outlined in my first post I am still seeing the issue. A few notes on this:

  1. The mouse never leaves the secondary screen. Again when I trigger the first move to the second desktop, and check the menu bar on the secondary screen, it is the active screen, which is correct. While the mouse is still on the secondary screen I try to move back to the first desktop, and immediately TS is showing the screen-switch animation on the primary screen. If there is an app on the primary screen and first desktop it is now active; If there isn’t an open app then it does actually make the secondary screen active.

  2. I didn’t make this explicit before, but I do have the option to switch screens based on the active screen set (useActiveScreenForSwitching). If knowing that provides anything useful.

I did manage to screen capture the issue so one could witness what I am seeing, but I haven’t uploaded them yet anywhere. I’ll try to get to do that sometime this week.

Additionally I will try to recruit someone in my office to download TS2 and try the same setup I have just to see if it really is my machine.

Just to confirm, are you using the swipe or hotkeys in TotalSpaces, or the swipe/hotkeys built into OS X? I’m just trying to nail down the reproducible steps, and I appreciate all your details so far.

Even thought TS can override the system swipe gestures, I’ve seen the OS X gestures “win” and take over, so you might disable any system gestures that collide with TS gestures.

Same thing for the OS X hotkeys, which might be set in System Preferences > Mission Control or System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Shortcuts tab > Mission Control …


Sorry for the delayed reply! During my day to day I am always using hotkeys, but I made sure the issue was occurring with swipe gestures as well. As per your suggestion I have turned off the swipe gestures and made sure there was no collision for hotkeys. Even after doing this I am experiencing the same issues. I will again try this on another computer with Yosemite later today, just to be certain there isn’t an external app (that I haven’t thought of shutting off while testing) that could be affecting this.

Also I have uploaded videos to show what I am experiencing:
Screen 1: https://vid.me/7WId
Screen 2: https://vid.me/am2e

Screen 1 is the primary screen and Screen 2 is the secondary screen. On my desk Screen 1 is to the right of Screen 2, so when you see the mouse go outside the viewport its going to the other screen. Due to the nature of recording I did record them at separate instances, but the result was the same both times. Hopefully this helps!

Thanks for the videos. It’s good to learn from the videos that one of your monitors is in portrait orientation. I’m not sure if this is important, but it’s nice to re-create the environment as close as possible when trying to reproduce bugs.

Were you able to confirm this behavior on your Yosemite system?

No problem! I actually misspoke in my last reply: I was going to try and reproduce the issue on a co-workers El Capitan environment, not Yosemite. However my setup at home is similar to the one at work in regard to orientation (the connectors are different however). And I am not experiencing the issue when I work on my Macbook Pro with Yosemite at home.

I have not yet verified the behavior on another machine yet, since I keep forgetting, but I made a reminder for myself this Monday to make sure it gets done. Additionally I will take my work computer home one day this week to verify it on my home setup to see if the issue is appearing there. I’m unsure if these will yield any results, but its worth trying.

I’ll keep you updated!