The Pane Languages

Remove language support

OS X uses one of the most advanced technologies to display the user interface in different languages. The operating system is multi-lingual, and there is only one worldwide version. The OS software is always identical, no matter in which country it is published.

However, there are some users that won’t need a multi-lingual system. You can remove unwanted language packages with TinkerTool System to reclaim this storage space. The same applies to third-party applications that were installed later. To remove unwanted language support packages from OS X or other applications, open the pane titled Languages.

Remove language support packages
Remove language support packages

To remove the support files for unwanted language packages, select all languages you want to delete in the list Languages to remove. Languages which are detected as having been installed during the initial system installation are printed in bold type. Note that your system may contain additional language packages in third-party applications. For example, you may have software installed that provides language support for Canadian English, although OS X itself does not come with Canadian English support files. If you want to make sure that these third-party language support files will be removed as well, you’ll have to set the respective check marks although they aren’t printed in bold.

If you press the button Select OS-installed languages, all languages in bold type (except your current main language) will be selected automatically. You can also remove all check marks with the button Deselect all, or select all language packages with the button Select all.

Every application contains a built-in language, the main language the application has been developed for initially. It is not possible to remove this development language without damaging the respective application. For this reason, TinkerTool System automatically avoids to remove the main language packages from each application, even if you have selected them in the list of languages to remove. Most applications made by Apple use “common English” as their built-in language. Other components may use development languages different from English.

TinkerTool System will only remove language support packages from one single disk volume or from one single folder and all included subfolders. Drag the top folder or disk where the search for language packages should begin with from the Finder into the field Remove from folder or volume. You can also click the button […] to navigate to the object, or click on the white area to enter the UNIX path of the object. Note that OS X always identifies the system disk by the name “/”.

Fonts — even if some of them may contain non-Latin characters — have nothing to do with language support packages and won’t be touched by the removal operation.

There is one simple and one advanced way to remove language packages: Applications can contain additional software components, like plug-ins, program frameworks, or online documentation, often nested several levels deep. If the option Don’t remove languages from components integrated into applications is set, TinkerTool System will not completely traverse all those embedded parts, but will only remove language support files from the uppermost level in each application. This is a simpler and “shallow” way of removing language packages, also used by old versions of the Finder when disabling languages via its Get Info panel. For a complete removal of language support files, the check mark must not be set.

Please note that a few applications may not expect that language support packages at deeper integration levels can be removed, although such a behavior is against the software design guidelines of OS X. In this rare case, update and self-repair features of such applications will no longer work correctly and the affected programs must be reinstalled. If you must use an application with such a problem, it is recommended to enable the option Don’t remove languages from components integrated into applications. We also recommend to set this check mark if you remove language packages from OS X Server, Xcode, or the Apple Remote Desktop Agent (stored at the location /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/

Many applications made by the software companies Adobe Systems Incorporated and Microsoft Corporation don’t follow Apple’s guidelines for OS X software. As a consequence, these applications may no longer work correctly or even don’t launch at all after removing their language support packages. For this reason, applications from Adobe® and Microsoft® are always excluded from this operation.

If you like to define your own list of applications or other software components which should be excluded when deleting language packages, set a check mark at Don’t touch selected software bundles. After pressing the button Edit list…, you can add or remove items from this blacklist. Note that TinkerTool System will identify software bundles independent of their names and the folders where they are stored. This means you can rename, duplicate or move applications and the blacklist will still be valid.

To begin the search for language packages press the button Delete selected packages…. The tool will start with an analysis of the language support files first, nothing will be deleted immediately. Processing all language packages will take a while. You can abort this procedure with the STOP button.

After the pre-processing is complete, the application will open a report sheet containing two different areas. You will have a final chance to decide whether you are going to actually delete the selected language packages. The upper part of the panel contains a copy of the full report TinkerTool System has collected during the pre-processing phase. You can save this report to file by pressing the button Save report….

Report sheet
Report sheet

The lower part of the window lists all language packages which are about to be deleted. The number of objects and their sizes will be shown additionally. Packages are represented by their UNIX paths. Note that you cannot deselect specific language packages or package objects from deletion. To leave all files untouched, press the button Cancel. To delete all packages listed in the table, press the button Remove.

Attention Warning to software developers: TinkerTool System tries to only remove language support files that are part of OS X bundles. Under normal circumstances this will include compiled software packages but not isolated lproj folders in source code directories. This means this feature will remove language support files from built products but not from project sources. However, there are circumstances in which your software development environment may create project directory structures for your source files which strongly resemble standard bundles. In this case, TinkerTool System may no longer be capable of differentiating between built products and source code, so localized project components of your source may be deleted.