Monolingual 1

There are approximately 150 different localized languages coded into OS X. Most people only use one language on their computer, maybe two. That leaves hundreds of megabytes of space being used up by languages you will never access in your operating system.

Monolingual is a utility that allows you to remove many of the more than 150 foreign languages from your Mac, freeing up disk space for more important files. We’ve got a tutorial that explains how to download and use Monolingual to delete unnecessary language files, plus a couple of very important tips to follow before completing the process.

Monolingual requires Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher running on a 64-bit capable Intel-based computer. There are versions of Monolingual available for OS X Mavericks and earlier, as well as OS X Snow Leopard and OS X Tiger on the developer’s website.

It is important to note that, once you remove languages using Monolingual, the only way to restore them is to reinstall OS X on your computer. With that in mind, lets proceed.

How to install Monolingual

Step 1: Download the .dmg file from the website.

Step 2: Double-click on the file in your download folder to open it.

Step 3: Drag the Monolingual icon (it looks like a trash can) to the applications folder to copy the file.

Step 4: Open your Applications folder and find Monolingual. Double click on the application file. You will be asked to confirm that you wish to open the file you have just downloaded. Select Yes.

Once opened, the app will have by default selected all languages except the English ones to be removed. Before proceeding, follow a couple of these handy steps to ensure that the language remove process works.

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Pro Tip: You may want to keep your Power PC architectures intact. If you use certain apps, like Rosetta, you will want to deselect the PowerPC options from the architecture panel.

Pro Tip: Make sure that all English languages are deselected (including UK, Australia, Canada, etc.). No matter which language you use natively on your Mac, keep the English-based languages or you may risk having an incomplete OS X installation.

Pro Tip: If you use Adobe programs, manually de-select their directories from the removal process.

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How to remove languages you don’t use

Step 1: With Monolingual selected, click the menu in the upper left corner of the screen and open the Preferences window.

Step 2: In the Preferences window, click the Add button.

Step 3: Navigate to Applications>Adobe>Adobe “X” (where X is the name of whatever Adobe program, like Photoshop or Creative Cloud, you want to manually deselect).

Step 4: Once added to the preferences panel, deselect the check boxes for languages and architecture.

Step 5: Repeat this process for all Adobe programs.

After you’ve updated the preferences, click the Remove button to delete the language files from your computer. You will be asked if you are sure you wish to remove the files with a warning that you will not be able to restore them without reinstalling OS X. Select Continue.

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You must be the administrator of the computer you are using Monoligual on, which simply means you will need the password for altering files on the computer.

Enter your administrator password when prompted to install the helper tool. The helper tool will remove the languages from your computer.

Once the process is complete, you will have added as much as 200 MB of storage to your disk space.

  • Andrew

    Would this screw up how OS X displays text from different languages? Like if someone typed an email to me in Arabic, would it show up properly?

    • socrates

      My guess is no. That’s what those language files are used for.

    • If you expect to receive emails from people in different languages, you should not remove those languages from your operating system. This program allows you to choose which languages to keep and which to remove.

  • evilmonkey07

    I think a better way to save space would be to use Xslimmer. It will remove the unused files and code for old architectures. I cleared up gigs of space, especially with large files like MS Office, Pages, Numbers, Adobe CS, etc. Most apps free up between 30% and 75% each. Removing languages can cause some things to display funky, but Xslimmer gives you that option as well. Languages don’t take up too much space though, so I think removing them wouldn’t provide any benefit.

  • I tried this before, and it messed up my computer. Would not recommend doing it. Find other ways to free up space on your Mac.

    • Midyro

      Like CleanMyMac

    • Samantha Merkle

      I did this too and sorely regret doing so. I cannot use any of the apps I deleted unused languages from (FaceTime, Pages, Calendar, etc). Still trying to figure out how to fix my mistake. Sad face.

      • Did you try restoring from Time Machine (if you have a backup) or going to the App Store and re-downloading OS X/macOS? Should fix the problem.

  • Skoven

    Removing system files, potentially causing problems that can only be reverted by reinstalling the OS, to save 200MB…!?
    Great idea iDB!

    • S.Curry

      hahahahhahahahahaa i thought the same thing

    • That’s an indirect disclaimer. Lory went through the process and hasn’t had any problems so we decided to go ahead and publish this post.

  • adrian

    i just saved around 1.5 gb doing this