Hard disk space can be extremely valuable, especially for notebook owners. I find myself constantly auditing the contents of my disk, usually with tools like GrandPerspective and WhatSize to find the gremlins that are munching on my available space. Of course my Applications folder always pops […]

xslimmer.jpg Hard disk space can be extremely valuable, especially for notebook owners. I find myself constantly auditing the contents of my disk, usually with tools like GrandPerspective and WhatSize to find the gremlins that are munching on my available space. Of course my Applications folder always pops up as the biggest offender, but there’s nothing I can do about the whopping 4 GB required for stuff like Final Cut Studio 2, right? I mean, every line of code under the hood of Motion is being used isn’t it?

Apparently not. A little app called Xslimmer claims to free up wasted disk space by removing unnecessary code from Universal Binaries that doesn’t fit with your machine’s architecture. It will also remove unneeded languages from various apps (Adium, for example, has over 20 languages according to Xslimmer’s site) to help slim them down and recover your disk space.

How it Works

Xslimmer’s interface is extremely straightforward. You simply drag applications onto Xslimmer and in analyzes each one to see if it can be slimmed. If the app can be slimmed, Xslimmer will display the current size of the app and it’s estimated “slimmed” size. Some applications cannot be slimmed because there is no extra code or languages, or its on Xslimmer’s blacklist (which, as the name implies, are applications that are not allowed to be slimmed for various reasons). For example, most of CS3 sits on the blacklist:


You can add apps one by one or use the “Genie” to scan your entire disk for potentially fat binaries. When you’re ready, click the “Slim!” button and you’ll be prompted with a warning to back up your applications. You can choose to have Xslimmer save backups somewhere locally, so that you can make sure all applications run as expected after slimming and restore them if needed. Restoring is a simple process – just click the “History” button, and click the restore icon in the history dialog.


The Skinny

I was able to save 2.5 GB from 95 applications in less than ten minutes (though I won’t see my real disk savings until I nuke my backups). That beats the heck out of the 100mb or so that it would take me hours to free up by sifting through all my documents that might be scattered across my machine. Even better, your apps will run the same or even faster than they did before slimming (though there are potentially applications that will not run after the slimming process – good thing the backups seem to be sound).

Overall, Xslimmer is extremely intuitive and kind of fun to use, especially when you see some of the notable savings:

Automator: 28.7mb to 2.95mb
Calculator: 13.4mb to 1.59mb
Disk Utility: 32.7mb to 3.88mb
DVD Player: 42.7mb to 6.48mb
iTunes: 129mb to 31.4mb
Preview: 70.1mb to 9.71mb

At $11.95, Xslimmer is a steal. My only real gripe is that you can’t slim Adobe CS3 apps, but I think that’s something to take up with Adobe and not Xslimmer. You can try a demo and save up to 50mb, if you wanna take it for a test drive before you drop the cash. I would strongly suggest that you make sure that all your apps run as expected after slimming though. I haven’t experienced any issues yet, but better safe than sorry.

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  1. The reader should be aware that in Leopard applications will be digitally signed so if they are altered they may not run properly. I only changed my icon for safari and I constantly got an error message telling me to reinstall safari so I’m not sure what removing the architecture would do.

  2. This is potentially dangerous, I ran it while on TIger and it removed language packs that were needed in Office 2004 and it never worked thereafter. I had to do a complete reinstall.

    Be careful if this program removes architectures in any way in Leopard, this will ruin your system for sure and could brick your system. This is due to signed applications and the sandboxing and security features in leopard.

    I am staying away from all these slimming pgms.

    Apple knows what they are doing, most hard drives are fast enough and for the 200MB of space rather delete or move some of those old ripped movies that you are not watching any more. Or stip iTunes of half the library that you are not listening to anyways.

    well that is my 2c, basically stay away from this app and others like it or it will cost you not only the license but a new system and at worst new hardware.

  3. I’ve been using Xslimmer on Tiger and Leopard and never encountered any problems. Great program and well wort the $$$.

  4. FYI :

    Xslimmer (ironically) is over 80% junk, going from 5 MB on disk to a meagre 1 MB after being cleaned. In this case, the disk image is three times as big as the cleaned, uncompressed app.

  5. Like Ingo (#3), I have used XSlimmer on a number of systems running both Tiger and Leopard with zero problems. I have hundreds of applications installed (I do a lot of reviews) and have never, not once, had an application fail due to slimming. In aggregate on my two current Macs (both running Leopard BTW) I have saved over 4GB of disk space.

    To steiner (#2) – it’s not a question of whether or not “Apple knows what it’s doing”. The reason these apps can be slimmed in inherent to the Universal Binary format introduced to support both Power PC and Intel Macs. There’s lot of extra code being installed on both types of systems that’s never used. Great for developers who want to support a wide base of users with both old and new hardware. In no way useful to end users once the application is installed. And I beg to differ. Saving 2GB of space on a 120GB hard drive is not inconsequential.

    I’ve slimmed MS Office on four different systems with no issues. Not sure what languages you nuked that caused your problem and I’d be curious if you did that some time ago with an older version (Xslimmer is updated frequently and better sensitivity to language components was a fix a while back) and more importantly, whether you followed Matt’s very good advice to use the Backup feature so you could easily restore, rather than having to reinstall.

  6. Yes I used an earlier version of Xslimmer and another app called monolingual, I had back ups although the additional time and initial frustration was horrid.

    I use both Power PC and Intel Macs and this caused issues as well when copying apps.

    I downloaded this version of Xslimmer and it seems to have gained some good features and improvements under the hood.

    I think my advise should be modified to make a complete back up and remove only those items you surely do not need.

  7. Steiner – let us know if you have better results with the current version (I suspect you will).

  8. blog.photoigor.com – Igor’s Blog » Blog Archive » Вы выходите? Нет? Освободите место Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    [...] наводке The Apple Blog я загрузил Xslimmer и оплатил лицензию (всего-то $11.95, зато [...]

  9. Sorry to hear that folks have had issues with programs like this. As I said, I’ve had no issues since slimming my apps, and the backup system seems to be extremely sound.

    I’ll keep tabs on everything and post any updates if necessary.

  10. Nice app. It has never given me a problem either, and the risk is really limited. At maximum you would have to restore or reinstall an application.

    It has saved me 4Gb in my Macbook. I am really happy with it.

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