How to remove unused language files from your Mac and free up disk space

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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.

select to delete language files mac with Monolingual

How to delete language files 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.

delete language files mac

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.