Get rid of unwanted apps
It’s amazing how many apps you can acquire over a short period of time let alone over the many years most of us have been using a Mac. Most Mac OS X apps are bundles. The application is usually a special folder that looks like a single, double-clickable file and contains almost all the files needed to run the app. Trashing the app is easy; getting rid of all the support files isn’t. There are preferences (plist) and application support files and these can exist in a number of places on your Mac. These files along with the app itself may be wasting many gigabytes of your hard drive space.
Some major apps include an uninstaller. For example, you’ll find one of these in the Additional Tools folder of Microsoft Office. Sometimes an app’s installer doubles as an uninstaller. But the lack of a dedicated uninstaller in Mac OS X is a serious omission.
Fortunately there are a number of third party options. AppCleaner (free, www.freemacsoft.net), AppDelete ($7.99, www.reggieashworth.com) and AppZapper ($12.95, www.appzapper.com) all do the same job – but the fact that they each find different files to remove shows how complicated a process uninstalling can be!
AppDelete, AppZapper and AppCleaner all find different files when uninstalling!
Too many languages and old code
Mac OS X supports a range of world languages, being localised for over 25 languages all of which are included automatically during installation. Using Mountain Lion’s Language & Text (previously International) system preference, languages can be put into preferred order making it easy to switch between them. Many major applications support multiple languages too, using the order from Language & Text to select one if the app doesn’t support your main language. The problem is that if you only want to use one or two languages, Mac OS X and many of your apps are bloated with all the others.
Getting rid of unwanted code is another disk-saving exercise. Universal Binaries host both PowerPC and Intel architectures yet since Lion, the former is not supported.
Monolingual (donation requested, monolingual.sourceforge.net) lets you remove specific architectures from Mac OS X along with specific languages. While it can claw back huge swathes of hard drive space, unless you’re careful with the preferences it can also render your Mac unbootable so use with extreme care.
Xslimmer ($14.95, www.xslimmer.com) works on an app level, keeping only the languages you select. Again, care is required as some apps view the removal of code as being an attempt at circumventing copy protection. To that end, Xslimmer keeps an updated blacklist of apps to be left alone.
Get rid of old code and unwanted languages with Xslimmer
Bye bye duplicates
How much of your precious hard drive space is being taken up by duplicate files? While hard drives may be getting bigger and cheaper, Apple’s direction is that of smaller, faster SSD drives. The problem is that these have smaller capacities so a higher level of filing discipline is essential.
There are a number of reasons why you end up with so many dupe files. When you add songs to iTunes, if you have ‘Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library’ checked in the preferences, you keep the original. Instant duplication. A couple of thousand high quality songs and that’s anything up to 10GB hard drive space wasted. And that doesn’t include dupes within iTunes. For the latter, iTunify ($15, www.satsumac.com) can help.
The same thing can happen when uploading photos into iPhoto. If you don’t delete the originals from the camera, you could end up uploading them a second or third time resulting in a larger iPhoto library file. Duplicate Annihilator ($7.95, brattoo.com/propaganda) breezes through this.
If you use Apple Mail, remember that all attachments reside in Mail’s own download folder. This can be another source of duplication.
More generic apps use various strategies and criteria to find duplicates and give you control over which ones to get rid of. Have a look at Tidy Up ($39, www.hyperbolicsoftware.com) or Singlemizer ($9.99, singlemizerapp.com).
Tidy Up makes short work of finding duplications on your hard drive