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Cut the PPC part out of Mac apps

Universal binary applications on Mac OS X are great, because it means they run natively on both older PowerPC Macs and newer Intel Macs natively.

The bad thing about them is that they take up a lot of disc space, because they contain both the PowerPC code and the Intel code.

There’s actually a shareware app called Xslimmer that will strip the PPC binary out of your applications and slim them down, but I just discovered that you don’t need it. The functionality to do this is built right in to Mac OS X.

First of all, make a backup copy of any application you want to mess around with here. Just in case. 🙂

Now head to the Terminal and do the following (in this example, I use Camino, so substitute in the name of the app you’re using):

$ lipo -thin i386 /Applications/Camino.app/Contents/MacOS/Camino -output temp
$ rm /Applications/Camino.app/Contents/MacOS/Camino
$ mv temp /Applications/Camino.app/Contents/MacOS/Camino

If you now do a Get Info on the app, you should see the kind will be Application (Intel). It should run fine and save you a bit of disc space!

In theory this also works the other way round, by using -thin ppc, but I haven’t tried it.

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