How-To

How to Add New Languages on Mac

Your Mac defaults to the language in the country or region in which it was purchased. However, you can choose a different language at any time. Apple also makes it possible to select different languages for individual apps. Here’s how it’s done.

Choosing a Language

Before you can change the default system language on your computer, you must add it to your system.

Add a Language

To add a language:

  1. Choose the Apple icon at the top left of your device.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Pick Language & Region.
  4. Click the Add button (+) under Preferred Languages.
  5. Select a new language from the list to add.
  6. Choose Add.
  7. Decide whether to use this language as your default.

Mac add language

Add new language Mac

Not every language on the list can act as your system language. Those above the separator line are fully supported by macOS Big Sur and are shown in menus, messages, websites, and more. Languages below the separate line don’t have full support but might support apps you use, shown in their menus and messages, and on some websites.

Changing Your Default Language

To select a different default language on your Mac, follow these directions:

  1. Choose the Apple icon at the top left of your device.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Pick Language & Region.
  4. Drag and drop the new default language to the top of the language list on the right.
  5. Exit System Preferences.
  6. Reboot your computer as directed.

Mac change primary language

Your default language has now changed.

Changing the Default Language By App

You can also change the primary language that certain apps use. These don’t have to be the same as your system language. To make changes:

  1. Choose the Apple icon at the top left of your device.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Pick Language & Region.
  4. Choose the App tab.
  5. Click the Add button (+) under Customize language settings for the apps below.

Mac change app languages

Next:

  1. In the pop-up box, choose the application to change. The system notes apps that don’t support language changes.
  2. Using the pull-down, choose the new default language for the app.
  3. Click Add.

Change Mac default language by app

The default language for the app that you selected has now been changed.

Make Quick Language Changes By App

As apps get added to the change list, you can make quick adjustments from System Preferences.  To do so:

  1. Choose the Apple icon at the top left of your device.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Pick Language & Region.
  4. Choose the App tab.
  5. Highlight the language selection for the app you want to change.
  6. Change the language using the pull-down.

Mac change language quickly

One Final Note

There are many languages available in the latest version of macOS. However, you may run into problems with some of the lesser-known languages when making changes for apps. Depending on the language, app crashes can sometimes occur. You’ll run into fewer problems when you change the primary system language. To better guarantee success, use the most receive version of macOS. When in doubt, contact Apple.

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