I noticed the alias(es) that I create in Mountain Lion are very big in filesize (for example an alias to a folder is 5.8MB!)

Compared to Leopard, they were just about 500KB.

Why is this? and is there a way in the system where I can make them smaller without resorting to creating alias via the terminal?

  • Likely it's changes to the amount of Quick Look information stored within the alias file. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 10 '13 at 20:33
  • @WayfaringStranger I don't think so, because the old alias (the ones made in Leopard) which I still have, behave the same way and their size is 10x smaller. I thought it would be the icon size? – jackJoe Feb 11 '13 at 9:57
  • In answer to the second question: the service seiryu.home.comcast.net/~seiryu/symboliclinker.html can be used to create symlinks in Finder without opening terminal. – ptim Jun 18 '13 at 0:16
  • @memeLab unfortunately a symlink is not an alias (move the original and it doesn't resolve the link, and also you can't do a symlink of a file!), so that doesn't solve this problem. – jackJoe Jun 18 '13 at 9:04
  • Duplicate! Also, here's the next logical question: How to shorten its size? – cregox Mar 11 '14 at 12:46

Since Lion, in addition to storing Retina icons, it seems that an alias stores its many different sizes of icons in both the data and the resource fork (the xattr com.apple.ResourceFork). Possibly in a move away from Resource forks, while still supporting previous OSes (for now).

The alias I just created contained the follow formats: is32, s8mk, ic11, il32, l8mk, ic12, ic07, ic13, ic08, ic14, ic09, ic10

They are described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Icon_Image_format


In High Sierra, the following works: just select the alias and run Finder command "Show Original" (command-R). This trims the alias size down to a minimum. This brought an alias that was previously 24 Mb down to 8 Kb.

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