Alias File Size - Why So Big?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Tknull, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Tknull macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2011
    San Diego
    Can anyone explain why an alias would be 20x larger than the original file? I accidentally made an alias of a file... and noticed that the original file (pdf file) was 103kb, while the alias of this file was 1.9MB.

    Isn't an alias just a pointer to the original file? So I can't understand why the alias would be so dang large! :confused:
  2. Madd the Sane macrumors 6502a

    Madd the Sane

    Nov 8, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Aliases used to be small, but with recent versions of OS X it also copies a custom icon onto the alias.
  3. santa macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2003

    I still don't understand why an alias of a 155k file would be 2.6megs as I have just observed on my mac OS 10.8.2. Why would the alias have bigger or more icons than the original file? It's a simple 4pg black and white pdf.
  4. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    What if you make a symlink, is that large too?
  5. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Iirc, aliases often include info for the 'preview' function of the Finder, as well as the actual alias. This tends to make them bigger than the original file. You can strip that stuff out to get a reasonable size. However, it's a bit of work and there's no doubt the OS designers had a perfectly cromulent reason for doing things that way in the first place.
  6. ssmed, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013

    ssmed macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2009
    Can make them a bit smaller!

    reply to an old post - but if you don't Google!

    You can reduce the size by opening the finder information window and cutting the current icon. This will result in a file about 2/3rds of the size.

    The size seems to depend on path length as well as preview information from what I can see.

    The fact that they are so big and many times the block size on the disk is crazy and the antithesis of what they should be. A small file that linked to a file on a fileserver, or buried deep in a filing structure, but that was needed regularly was great, but 5.9MB for a folder without a custom icon is just daft.
  7. Isamilis macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2012
    How do you reduce the filesize?

    I tried to make alias from Radium. Original apps is 20mb, alias is 4mb. Try to make soft link from command line it only take 24 bytes (4 kb in disk). What the different!


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