How to remove language localizations in OS X with Monolingual

OS X includes support for multiple languages out of the box. If you don't use them or need to reclaim storage space, Monolingual allows you to remove the unnecessary files in one click.

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The world is shrinking. As we know it today with interconnected networks and communications -- compared to 30 years ago with plain old telephone service (POTS) and dial-up internet -- the global economy has given rise to citizens of the world.

Similarly, I like to think of Macs as truly being world computers with the extensive language localizations built right in to OS X. Native support for communicating in just about any language is possible out of the box.

But not all users are created alike. For the many users that work in only one language, their native tongue is all that is required. And, then there are users on older hardware struggling to keep their Mac chugging along, or simply those that wish to optimize their OS and keep it running efficiently without the extra fluff. The additional language files and sound bytes take up space that could be put to better use.

Monolingual can help. The app was designed to forgo all the language files found in OS X and first- and third-party applications by deleting them and subsequently freeing up a little storage space.

Cautionary note: Monolingual will remove the existing language files from your system permanently. If you wish to add them back at a later date, it will require a reinstall of OS X.

With that out of the way, let's proceed.

1. Extract Monolingual from the DMG and execute it (Figure A).

Figure A

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2. Under the Languages tab, uncheck the languages you wish to keep. Note: Only checked boxes will be deleted. Click the Remove button to proceed (Figure B).

Figure B

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3. The app will ask you to verify that you wish to remove the selected languages. Click the Continue button to confirm (Figure C).

Figure C

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4. Since Monolingual works on several system folders by default, you'll need to authenticate with admin credentials to begin the process (Figure D).

Figure D

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5. Once the process begins, it may take a while to process all the languages and strip the files from OS X and all installed applications. The time it takes will vary from system to system and depends on how many apps are installed on your Mac (Figure E).

Figure E

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6. A confirmation message will appear when the process has completed successfully, indicating how much space was saved (Figure F).

Figure F

Image: Jesus Vigo/TechRepublic

On new installations, the space savings are not that significant. However, on systems utilizing large hard drives that are packed to the brim with software, it's not uncommon to see a 2-3% gain in storage space, which amounts to approximately 3 GB or more -- that's not bad overall.

Note: Monolingual supports OS X as far back as 10.4 (Tiger) and provides PowerPC support for pre-Intel architecture.

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