Reclaiming Space in Mac OS X by Trimming Unused Languages from Apps

A cool thing about being new to the Mac — I’ve had my Mac­Book for only a few months — is that I still have the joy of find­ing out new things about how the oper­at­ing sys­tem works, what the default pro­grams can do (I did­n’t know Spot­light had a built in cal­cu­la­tor, for exam­ple), and so on.

Today I learned a great way to free up some disk space by cut­ting out unused lan­guages from installed pro­grams. If you’re will­ing to pay, you can do this auto­mat­i­cal­ly with Xslim­mer, which I hope to some­day have a license to… but for the time being, here’s a quick and easy way to free up lots of space; I’ve seen pro­grams drop from around fif­teen megabytes to three! 

Applications List with DVD Player Highlighted

That image is a snap­shot of my Appli­ca­tions fold­er, with the DVD Play­er pro­gram high­light­ed. Press­ing ⌘+i will bring up an win­dow full of info for whichev­er pro­gram was high­light­ed Most pro­grams will have a “Lan­guages” pane in that win­dow, and that’s where we’ll be focusing.

DVD Info Window Now, unless you’re an über-poly­glot, you’re not like­ly to need the myr­i­ad of lan­guages present in this file — that’s right, every lan­guage list­ed in that Lan­guages pane is stored as part of that appli­ca­tion file.

I speak pret­ty much only Eng­lish; do I real­ly need a DVD Play­er that can speak to me in Finnish or Ital­ian? I think not. How much of that 42.8 megabyte pro­gram seen in the first image above is “lan­guage bloat” that I sim­ply don’t need?

So what I do is high­light all of the lan­guages in the list which I want to dump, mak­ing sure that I keep English!

Once the to-be-dumped lan­guages are high­light­ed, it’s a sim­ple mat­ter of press­ing the “-” but­ton under­neath the list and accept­ing the “Are you sure?” mes­sage which pops up upon clicking “-.”

Suc­cess! And look at that space savings:

Application List with DVD Player Highlighted, Post-trimming

The DVD Play­er pro­gram dropped from 42.8 megabytes down to just 9.4 megabytes! Hard to believe, but 33.4 megabytes were being wast­ed by lan­guages which I would nev­er use.

Not every pro­gram can be trimmed in this way, but I’m going down my appli­ca­tions list, and the sav­ings are adding up quickly.

If you’re pressed for space on your Mac, this is a great way to reclaim some of it. It’s fea­si­ble that your pro­grams will actu­al­ly work a lit­tle faster, too, as there are few­er files for them to process with­in the .app files.

Note that this only works with Mac OS X Leop­ard, not pre­vi­ous ver­sions. Thanks, kristarel­la for point­ing this out.






8 responses to “Reclaiming Space in Mac OS X by Trimming Unused Languages from Apps”

  1. kristarella Avatar

    I’m def­i­nite­ly pressed for space on my Mac­Book. It’s not des­per­ate at the moment because most of my stuff is still over on anoth­er com­put­er, but I will def­i­nite­ly do this. Might need a bit of extra space to deal with pho­tos while I’m away.

  2. Rick Beckman Avatar

    kristarel­la: Pho­tos are def­i­nite­ly a resource hog. Do you use iPho­to for your pho­to management?

    I have a cou­ple years’ worth of ran­dom pho­tog­ra­phy on my com­put­er — maybe about 1% of it is of any val­ue; I just need to set aside a ton of time to sift through it all to clear out all of the out-of-focus, sil­ly, ran­dom, non­sense pho­tographs I have…

  3. kristarella Avatar

    Pho­tos are the biggest! Except for video, but I don’t do much video. Actu­al­ly for the last few years I’ve been stor­ing my pho­tos in fold­ers on my Lin­ux desk­top com­put­er and edit­ing them one by one. I realised recent­ly that was very inef­fi­cient! I did a rea­son­able cull at the start of the year.

    I did use iPho­to dur­ing my trip to San Fran­cis­co and it was extreme­ly handy for sort­ing pho­tos and mak­ing an album to slideshow for the family.

    Now I’m using Aper­ture, but until I get a big­ger com­put­er (cur­rent Mac­Book is 2 years old, 60GB HD) I think I will be sort­ing my pho­tos in Aper­ture, edit­ing, tag­ging, pho­to­blog­ging, Flickr, Face­book­ing etc, then export the projects out again and store on the desk­top. Aper­ture makes the above things much quick­er than before. I’m sure one could set up iPho­to in a sim­i­lar way to be effi­cient too.

  4. kristarella Avatar

    You should down­load the tri­al of Aper­ture, it’s pret­ty great. If your wife ever goes Mac I think she’d like it. Light­room is pret­ty awe­some too, but they’re quite dif­fer­ent pro­grams, so a lot of per­son­al pref­er­ence is involved when choos­ing between them.

    I know! My old com­put­er was 40GB and I’m sure I’ve had much small­er ones. How­ev­er, this one was pret­ty much com­plete­ly full when I decid­ed to rein­stall it and right now I have 8GB free and all I have on here is oper­at­ing sys­tem, some pro­grams, web­site files, uni doc­u­ments and pho­tos. I only have 3 or 4 pod­casts and no music on here! Crazy.

    With 6 days of camp it won’t be hard to take at least 4BG of photos!

  5. Rick Beckman Avatar

    kristarel­la: I checked out Aper­ture’s site; def­i­nite­ly looks like I’d enjoy it. Ali­cia would prob­a­bly stick with Light­room as that’s what she knows and loves, and she has great results with it.

    Either way, both are quite expen­sive and so I’ll be wait­ing a while for either. No big­gie. Will be grab­bing the Aper­ture tri­al run some­time next week when I have more time to think — this week­end is going to be crazy hec­tic between see­ing a movie with my step-bro, work­ing tomor­row, hav­ing a Christ­mas par­ty tomor­row, client work, and so on.

  6. kristarella Avatar

    Yeah, I know what you mean about expen­sive. After I saw how much Aper­ture sped up my work­flow I just had to have it. I took >200 pho­tos at a friend’s wed­ding and it was just sooo quick to go through them. If Ali­cia likes Light­room, awe­some, she should stick with it. LR2 almost elim­i­nates the need for pho­to­shop at all (Aper­ture does great over­all pho­to treat­ment, with light retouch­ing, but no masks or anything).

  7. kristarella Avatar

    This only works in Leop­ard. Tiger does­n’t have a ‘-’ but­ton to actu­al­ly remove the unwant­ed languages. :(

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Rick Beckman