Quick Big Mac Diet – De-localize Your Apps

Mac DietAs much as one might like to be a polyglot, freely conversing in a number of the world’s gorgeous languages, most of us are steadfastly mono- or bi-lingual.

Many applications on your Mac, however, come bundled with an array of ‘localizations’ so that one release of a company’s app can suit the needs of practically all of their global users. But that represents a waste of valuable disk space for 99.9% of people who use their apps in just one language, and will never need to run iTunes, or Skype, in anything but their native tongue.

Thus, most apps on your Mac have nestled inside them a number of language localization files that you can notice by the designation “.lproj”. Even if you opted not to install other languages when you first installed Tiger or Leopard, many 3rd party apps will have a number of “.lproj” files, which do nothing but use up space and make your apps needlessly hefty.

If you’re curious to see these files, just right-click on an application, and select “Show Package Contents”. Then click on “Contents”, and next on “Resources”, and in here you will find all the language localizations mixed in with other bits which make up the app’s building blocks.

All you actually need are the main localizations that you currently use. So, for English-speakers, you could safely trash all the “.lproj” files within your apps except for the “English.lproj” one, and your app would be unharmed, and your Mac would lose quite a bit of weight, so to speak. The saving is likely to be somewhere from 2 to 4 gigabytes.

Slim down

To automate and ease this process across all your original and 3rd party apps, the open-source Monolingual will do the job. That light-weight app can not only remove unnecessary languages files within apps, but also remove – if you so wish – other language’s input methods, and even older architectures, such as the ‘Power PC’ framework. That seems somewhat excessive, so I’ll stick with the idea of removing the languages inside apps. This is done within Monolingual by checking the boxes next to a language’s name to remove that “.lproj” file wherever it is found.

Personally, I just unchecked the “English” option – and all national variations of English – to ensure that my apps remained in my native tongue. The first time I ran Monolingual, it took over 30 minutes to clean up within every app, which slowed my Macbook rather, so it would be wise to run this at a quiet time.

Monolingual 1.3.0Image: Simply check the unwanted languages with Monolingual, then ‘Remove’ them

The space saving for me, on a year-old install of Tiger – now 10.4.11 – was a significant 4 gigabytes, which is space well worth saving with my meagre 80GB hard-drive. I googled to check that it works on Leopard, with commenters on various tech forums confirming that it does, and declaring savings of 3 gigs or more on quite recent installs of Apple’s latest OS.

Monolingual can then be run at intervals of the user’s discretion – it will take a mere few minutes to do it’s magic on later runs – to sort of ‘tidy up’ and keep your Mac’s drive freer for more essential things.

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