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Modding Mac OS X by Erica Sadun

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Shrinking Applications

Hard drives are like money. The more space you have, the more you’ll fill it up. And when disk space becomes an issue, one way you can find some more room is to shrink your applications. Removing or compressing unused language resources (stuffed inside lproj folders) may substantially reduce an application’s size. Take iMovie 4.0.1, for example. In its just-installed form, iMovie weighs in at a hefty 53.9 MB. After I removed language support for all non-English languages, the application shrank to a mere 26.7 MB. This simple approach cut the application size in half without affecting iMovie’s performance. Of course, it means that I can’t switch my Mac’s keyboard layout to French or German and use iMovie without fail, but the chances of me wanting to do that are mighty slim.

The idea behind this approach is simple: why keep languages around that you know you’ll never use? If you’re not a Polish, Norwegian, or Korean speaker, the lproj localization folders that support those languages are taking up space that you might better use for other purposes (like storing more photos or music). In the following steps, you’ll see how to compress those files or remove them entirely from your system.

  1. If possible, back up your disk before shrinking your applications. A good backup never hurts.

  2. Open a Finder window and go to the Applications folder (Shift-⌘-A).

  3. Select the application you want to try shrinking and duplicate it (File Duplicate, or ⌘-D). As with any potentially ...

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