Yes, I know there are apps like Monolingual, Mackeeper, iCleanLanguage etc. that can do that for me but I would feel more comfortable doing it myself if it is not too much of a hassle. How can I do that?

Also if there are other files I can manually delete to free up space - please let me know.

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    It is a large hassle because the OS and every app in it has 34 .lproj files buried inside which you have to locate and remove. No matter how you do this there is risk of seriously messing up your system and I would not recommend it. – Tom Gewecke Dec 9 '17 at 12:53
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    Having been there done that when I first switched to Mac, it will break something and you will have issues and it's not worth the minor amount of space it saves. Do not do it! – user3439894 Dec 9 '17 at 14:29

The language files for each application are stored in


Removing them for non-standard applications is easy (especially from Terminal), for standard applications you need to disable SIP first.

The space gained by removing them may be small though, they use about 1.3 GB in my Applications folder with about 350 applications installed. Also you need to redo this with every upgrade. You probably gain more by removing a few unused non-standard applications.


Like @Tom & @patrix said, doing this manually is both easy and tedious, especially when doing it with Finder.

Using Monolingual is quite safe in my opinion and much easier than doing it 'yourself'.

However, if you want to attempt this with a commandline:

sudo find / \( -name *.lproj -and \! \( -name English.lproj -or -name en.lproj -or -name en_AU.lproj -or -name en_CA.lproj -or -name en_GB.lproj \) \) -exec rm -rf {} \;

That should work, if you do not re-type it, but copy and paste it. But it is only an example: it might thoroughly break your system since some parts of applications may be non standard, have these parts code-signed also etc. It might be a good idea to modify the example to star the search not at the root level but only in /Applications.

Using a specialised application usually avoids breakage on that level, since most better applications for that action employ blacklists that avoid touching known problem parts. Monolingual never gave me any problems and gained significant space.

Keep in mind that this requires more so than other actions that you have a backup ready; and in operating systems >10.10 Yosemite that SIP is disabled. Since it crawls all over your filesystems it will be a wise move to unmount all other volumes before hitting return on that one.

Let me warn you once again: a specialised application for this task will be much easier on your mind: If something does go wrong you know who to blame: the developer and yourself.

While removing the language files is one step to take on a space constrained filesystem, there are other steps to take, maybe preferentially. Increasing HFScompression is one, deleting seldom used applications the other possibiliy to look at.

  • I ran the command you wrote and it freed me 32 MB. It found a lot of .lprog files but could not be able to remove them. I was getting: rm: 'path to file': Operation not permitted – Peter Dec 10 '17 at 9:32
  • @Peter 2 possible options: Was it ran as sudo? Since it starts at the root / it will crawl around many SIP protected files. Was that disabled beforehand? – LangLangC Dec 10 '17 at 10:16
  • Yes, SIP protection was enabled. I disabled it and ran command one more time and it corrupted my system. After logging in I saw black screen and couldn't do anything with it so I restored the system. But I'm open to try other solutions if there are any. – Peter Dec 10 '17 at 14:14
  • @Peter The command is quite blunt and rigorous. Applications like Monolingual and CleanMyMac employ blacklists to avoid such situations. Last time i used the command I only stripped my 3rd party apps and only one app died because of that: Monolingual! Use an app. To save more space on apps on disk use transparent HFScompress. – LangLangC Dec 10 '17 at 14:46

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