This is a new (Mojave) version of a question posted two years ago here.

Being a French speaking bilingual Canadian, I have always had my macOS computers configured in English (because I prefer using computer systems in English) with a French Canadian Locale (number formatting, time/date, month/day names etc...). With earlier versions of OS X (until El Cap), this was a user-configurable setting in the Language and Region preference pane.

With Sierra and High Sierra, the GUI for this setting has been removed from the pref pane, but it was still possible to set the locale with the defaults command:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale -string fr_CA

Then came Mojave... I am now running a clean installation - not an upgrade - of Mojave (10.14 18A391) and setting the AppleLocale with the defaults command works but the pref doesn't seem to get applied anywhere.

Here are the Canadian English default Language & Region pref pane, the clock area of the menu bar, and the AppleLocale preference read by the defaults command.  Language & Region pref pane Clock area of the menu bar Defaults read -g AppleLocale

To change the locale with the defaults command, I quit the preferences app and enter the command:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale -string fr_CA

When I reopen the Language & Region pref pane or read the pref with the defaults command, it appears as though the preference has been applied, like it did with previous versions of macOS. The pref pane displays the correct locale and the correctly localized dates and times. The defaults read command returns fr_CA. However, the menu bar clock and all apps that use locales (calendar, finder, etc…) are still in en_CA. Logging out/in and rebooting don't seem to change anything.  Language & Region pref pane with fr_CA Defaults read -g AppleLocale - fr_CA Clock area of the menu bar

Would anybody know if Apple has changed the way Locales are being used in Mojave, or if this is simply a bug?


  • I see a similar issue when I try to switch my laptop's region to Italy -- AppleLocale now reports en_IT, and no locale of that name actually exists on my machine (as reported by locale -a). – Kevin Ushey Oct 5 '18 at 18:46
  • Something definitely changed in Mojave: I've always had a German OS and git was always happy to work in English. Now I have to manually change the LANG env var to keep this setup. (defaults read NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale reports de_DE, I changed LANG to en_US.UTF-8) – awendt Dec 17 '18 at 7:53

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