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I have no ARM CPUs on any of my laptops or desktops. If ever I get a computer new enough, it will already have all the binaries it needs or will get them from updates. So there is no justification for them to consume 90 GB¹ on my internal drive.

I can reclaim that space by disabling SIP, using ditto to thin them while copying to somewhere else, copying them back where they belong, and re-enabling SIP. Pretty clumsy to have to do after every software update. Is there a better way?

¹assuming an ARM binary is about the same size as an Intel.

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  • I don't see any way to revert the edit, but neither the question nor the answer is limited to any particular architecture. It's possible for an intel/PPC binary to exist and run on a machine with SIP. – WGroleau Jan 1 at 0:02
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That's just how other tools do it, like CleanMyMac does with Universal apps (not sure if it's been updated for Universal 2 yet). There doesn't appear to be a better solution than manually removing the other architecture from each app, which can be done with some tools (see Is there any free solution to remove unneeded architectures from Universal binaries?) and these can be made to loop over a given folder of applications.

There are more steps required than just disabling SIP to do this with Big Sur's own applications now that Big Sur boots from a sealed APFS snapshot. Can I mount the root (system) filesystem as writable in Big Sur? goes into the steps required to make a modification to the bootable snapshot, but the modification you make to remove the other architecture is the same.

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  • Well, it looks like the answer is NO (there isn't a better way). But I'll change the accept if someone does come up with one. – WGroleau Jan 1 at 0:03

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